SPOKANE, Wash. — On Tuesday Gonzaga basketball received huge news with Killian Tillie returning to the team for his senior season.
That night, Filip Petrusev also announced he would return next season.
That was a little bit less of a surprise, although still great news. The Zags still have one scholarship to fill, but with the roster coming in to shape, I thought it was time to break down who I think will start, who will play in the rotation, and who will mostly ride the bench next season.
First of all, I'm not ready to name a starting point guard. The Zags are actively recruiting Derryk Thornton from USC, who was in town the last two days, but haven't received a commitment yet. It's obvious they want to bring in a graduate transfer to fill the point guard role, so we're going to leave that open right now.
Here are my starting four sans point guard: Admon Gilder at the two, Corey Kispert at the three, Killian TIllie at the four and Filip Petrusev at the five.
The only real spot up for grabs in the starting line up is that of Petrusev,, but I'm giving him edge right now because he's proved that he can be trusted on the court this past season and he knows the playbook better than the incoming freshmen.
Petrusev is projected to be a first round pick in the NBA Draft after this coming season, so obviously people think he's poised for big things.
With that being said about Petrusev, I think a local will be the first player off the bench for the Zags next season.
Yes, that guy is Anton Watson, in case you didn't catch my drift.
The most appealing thing about Watson for this coaching staff is that he can play both on the perimeter and in the paint. That means Anton can spell Corey Kispert out on the wing, or switch out for Killian Tillie.
In a pinch, Watson could play a bit of the five position as well. His flexibility is going to be huge for a roster that is going to need a jack of all trades next season.
The next player off the bench will be Drew Timme. Timme is going to provide so much energy and spunk to that second unit. He loves interacting with the crowd and is such a dynamic, hard-working player.
For his freshman season, I think being one of the first players off the bench will be perfect for him. He'll be allowed to make some mistakes, but his energy will uplift that second unit.
The biggest question in the rotation for me is who will back up whoever the point guard ends up being for GU. Joel Ayayi didn't see significant playing time last season, neither did Greg Foster.
I think this comes down to how ready Brock Ravet is for the next level. His development is going to be huge for this team, because if he's not ready then there is going to be a lot of questions of who can give the guards a break.
I think that it's going to come down to Joel Ayayi and Brock Ravet for that last rotational spot. Mark Few traditionally keeps his rotation at seven to eight players.
BENCH AND REDSHIRT PLAYERS
That eaves four other scholarship players.
I think Foster once again plays sparingly, while Pavel Zakharov is in the same boat, and Martynas Arlauskas and Oumar Ballo both redshirt.
There has already been a lot of talk about Arlauskas redshirting and I think Oumar still has some growing to do. He turns 17 in July. But the Gonzaga staff could turn him into a monster after his redshirt season.
To recap, here is how I see the roster shaking out: