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Gonzaga Basketball courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Ralph Teller

Gonzaga Basketball: Flying under the National Media Radar? Not for the 2015-2016 Season

Ralph Teller, Ironman Triathlete
1

November 9, 2015

Typically Gonzaga men's basketball mostly flies under the national media radar until around February and March. No so this season. The Zags have been scoring significant national media coverage. Here are the reasons why:

Mark Few. Mark Few is emerging in the minds of players, colleagues and in the national sports media as an elite coach.

Emerging Top Program. The collective and consistent body of work over the past 17 years from the coaching staff, university and players, has developed Gonzaga into one of the top basketball programs in the country. The Gonzaga men's basketball program the has earned the respect and envy from small and major university programs across the country. Gonzaga's women's basketball program may be on a similar track.

Preseason Award Candidates. Gonzaga senior Przemek Karnowski was named to the Kareem Abdul Jabbar Center of the Year award watch list by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates

Ranking. The Zags are highly ranked in the first preseason polls at No. 9 in the AP Top 25, No. 11 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, No. 11 in the CBB preseason power rankings and No. 7 Daily News' College Basketball Preseason Top 25.

Playor of the Year. Kyle Wiltjer is the CBS Sports Preseason National Player of the Year. He edged Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, Providence's Kris Dunn, LSU's Ben Simmons and Kentucky's Skal Labissiere for the honor because, collectively at CBS Sports, they believe the 6-foot-10 forward is the proper choice when trying to identify somebody who will be great individually and on a nationally relevant team.

Sports Illustrated listed Kyler Wiltjer in its College Basketball Top 100: Player of the year projections.

FoxSports College Basketball Top 50 Players lists at No. 38. Domantas Sabonis, sophomore forward/center, Gonzaga. "The dude is explosive and vicious on the court." At No. 4 is Kyle Wiltjer. "He was one of the most efficient scorers in college basketball, averaging 16.8 points on an otherwordly 46.6 percent shooting from three-point range,".

Preseason All-American Team. Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer leads SI.com's 2015-16 preseason All-America team. Wiltjerís first season as a Zag was a splashing success, as the 6'10" forward averaged 16.2 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 46.6% from three. That added up to a 128.9 offensive efficiency rating according to KenPom.com, tops in the country among players who used at least 20% of their teamís possessions.

High Profile Tournaments. Gonzaga To face Pittsburgh at the Armed Forces Classic 2015 in Japan to kick off regular season play.

The 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis, with the best quality tournament field, has a chance to deliver a number of Top 25 teams including Syracuse, UConn, Michigan, Gonzaga, Texas, Washington, Texas A&M and Charlotte.

High Profile Transfers. With the success of the Kyle Wiltjer transfer from the national championship Kentucky team to the Zags, Gonzaga has become a top transfer destination. Missouri transfer Johnathan Williams III picks Gonzaga over Georgetown and SMU. The 6-foot-9, 225-pounder averaged 11.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in the 2014-15 season for the Missouri Tigers.

Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss, who led Washington in scoring last season, choose Gonzaga over other leading programs.

Top Players are choosing to transfer to schools where they have a good chance to significantly improve their basketball skills and play in the NCAA tournament.

Internationl and Domestic Recruiting. Gonzaga has landed top international and domestic talent for the 2016-2017 season, including Zach Collins from Utah, French forward Killian Tillie, and four-star 2016 guard Zach Norvell from Chicago.

2016 Final Four Speculation. Commentators are including Gonzaga in their preseason speculation on the 2016 Final Four teams.

Top Front Court. Gonzaga's frontcourt, consisting of Kyle Wiltjer, Domantas Sabonis and Przemek Karnowski form the consensus tallest, deepest and best frontcourt in the country.

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