SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga men's basketball came up one game short of winning the national championship this season.
When the final buzzer sounded in the 86-70 loss to Baylor on Monday, it signified the last time the Bulldogs roster would look the same. The question is what it will look like when the Zags return for the 2021-2022 season.
PLAYERS DEFINITELY LEAVING
Corey Kispert: The senior will almost certainly leave Gonzaga for this year's NBA Draft. He's a first round pick and some think he could be a lottery pick.
Jalen Suggs: The freshman phenom will be a top three pick in the NBA Draft. There's about a zero percent chance he will return.
Joel Ayayi: The redshirt junior guard Joel announced on Friday, April 9 that he would forgo his senior season and has declared for the NBA Draft. He averaged 12 points per game on 57.5 percent shooting from the field. Ayayi is projected to go late first round or in the second round on NBA Draft boards.
PLAYER WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO GO
Aaron Cook: The graduate transfer could use one more year of eligibility to come back to Gonzaga. It's unlikely, though, as he wouldn't gain much by doing so. He will likely leave and have a chance to play professionally overseas.
PLAYERS WHO MIGHT GO OR RETURN
Drew Timme: The sophomore is a major question mark for Gonzaga. If he returns, he'd be a frontrunner for preseason national player of the year awards. Some NBA Draft boards have him as a second round pick, while others do not. He could benefit from returning and developing his jump shot more to skyrocket his draft stock. Timme is coming off a fantastic performance in the NCAA Tournament, though. He will definitely get a draft evaluation and then can always withdraw his name to return to school.
Andrew Nembhard: It would also be a big boost for Gonzaga if the transfer junior returned. His name hasn't been mentioned on draft boards much at all. Nembhard could have a more prominent roll next season if he returns. It's likely he will get a draft evaluation and return to the Zags for 2021-2022.
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING
Anton Watson: The sophomore will return next year with a bigger role for Gonzaga next season. He started many games, but as the year went on Nembhard took his place in the lineup. Watson was very active on defense and showed he could score inside last season. He will need to do so with more consistency next year to take his next step.
Dominick Harris: The freshman didn't see a lot of playing time last season, but he showed flashes of his potential. The 2020 four star commit showed his ability to explode to the rim taking guys off the dribble and showed at times he can hit his jump shots. He shot 39.1% on his limited three-point attempts, but his overall shooting percentage of 41.8% will need to improve.
Julian Strawther: The other freshman of the 2020 four star recruit also showed flashes of what he can do. He can be a big time scorer for this team. He showed some of his shot making ability in his first year. With more minutes, Strawther will have his chances to begin blossoming to more of the special player he was in high school.
Ben Gregg: He didn't play much at all as he joined the team in the middle of the season after graduating high school early. Gregg will start to see more playing time next year and could provide a spark off the bench. His player comparison based on his skills is that of former Bulldogs player Killian Tillie.
The Zags are bringing in plenty of fantastic freshman to reload for next season.
Five star guard Hunter Sallis is their highest rated recruit to ever to commit. The Zags are also bringing in four star commit forward Kaden Perry, who has drawn player comparisons to Brandon Clarke.
Forward Fanbo Zeng, a four star recruit in the 2022 class, will also try to reclassify and play next season.
All eyes are still on if Gonzaga can get a commitment from Chet Holmgren, the number one overall prospect in the 2021 class. He would be a one and done type player for the Bulldogs. Many expect Gonzaga will be his landing spot. He could start at center immediately.
PLAYERS WHO COULD TRANSFER
There are some questions with Gonzaga as to who might transfer out and who might transfer in.
Players who haven't seen much playing time like Oumar Ballo, Pavel Zakharov and Martynas Arlauskas might look to transfer. The transfer portal has never seen more players in it than this year.
A transfer that could very well come in is North Carolina forward Walker Kessler. Kessler was a five star recruit in the 2020 class and Gonzaga offered him a scholarship. He has entered the transfer portal and it's believed Gonzaga is a front-runner to get a commitment.