SPOKANE, Wash. --- Zach Collins was different from any other Zag upon his arrival in Spokane. Now he has a chance to leave Gonzaga like no player in program history has before.
The first McDonald’s All-American to sign with GU out of high school may end up being the Zags’ first one-and-done.
Gonzaga announced that the seven-foot freshman will declare for the NBA Draft. According to their release he is "exploring his options without hiring an agent at this time," so he does have the ability to return to school. Prior to Collins, just five players had left Gonzaga early. None did so before their sophomore season, with Domas Sabonis as the most recent example one year ago.
"This was a significant decision for my family and me," Collins said in a release from GU. "It was definitely one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make. I just want to thank everyone at Gonzaga, especially the coaching staff and my teammates. This season was special and something I will never forget. It was the most fun year of my life. I want to thank all of the Zag fans for all of their support and passion. I'll always be proud to be a Zag."
Collins was instrumental off the bench in his lone season with GU, averaging 10 points and 5.9 rebounds in just 17.2 minutes per game. He also led the team with 69 blocked shots. Collins shot a team-best 65.2 percent from the floor, and hit 10 of his 21 attempts from beyond the three-point line.
The Las Vegas native saw his draft stock rise during the NCAA Tournament. Collins had his first career double-double in Gonzaga’s Final Four win over South Carolina, putting up 14 points and 13 rebounds to go with six blocked shots. He was also key in their close second round win over Northwestern, with 14 points and five boards.
Collins’ mix of size, skill and athleticism makes him an attractive asset for NBA teams. He has shown the ability to stretch defenses with his three-point shooting ability, and is a proven rim protector – both valuable commodities in today’s NBA.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare is April 23. Collins is projected by some to be a lottery pick in this summer’s draft, which will take place June 23.