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Coleman preps for playing time

Gonzaga guard Gerard Coleman is force in open court. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Gonzaga guard Gerard Coleman is force in open court. (Tyler Tjomsland)

There's a ritual of sorts every fall at Gonzaga. It happens here, on blogs and message boards and just about anywhere Gonzaga basketball is discussed: Name GU's starting five.

At some point, probably in the next 2-3 weeks, coach Mark Few will be asked about it. His reply will likely be short, stressing that the starting five doesn't matter nearly as much to the coaching staff as the five on the floor when games are on the line and that it's more of a concern to folks outside the program. (I can't recall for sure, but I probably asked the question 5-6 years ago and Few's answer then and through the years hasn't changed).

That brings us to one of the contenders for a starting position: Gerard Coleman, who sat out last season after transferring from Providence. He's bidding for time at the '3', left open by starter Mike Hart's graduation, but he's not alone. I put together a short feature on Coleman that ran in today's S-R.

Below, a few thoughts on the starting lineup.

Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., San Dower and Przemek Karnowski would seem to be locks to start. That leaves the '3' to debate and I'm guessing three players (and maybe more) will start at some point this season. Why? Matchups. Depending on the personnel of the opponent, GU could go smaller (David Stockton), with a wing (Kyle Dranginis or Coleman) or with size (6-6 Drew Barham and 6-8 Angel Nunez, when the latter becomes eligible in December). Barham is the primary backup at '4' so he'll probably see a mix of time at both positions.

Final guess: Kyle Dranginis gets first crack to start at '3' with Coleman seeing considerable playing time, perhaps in the 60-40 range. I wouldn't be surprised to see Stockton in the first five at times. Few has been asked about the backcourt taking on a bigger role this season after last year's reliance on Olynyk/Harris and he typically brings up Stockton and reminds questioners that the guard line goes beyond Pangos and Bell. It's similar to when Few is asked about losing Olynyk and Harris. His answer often includes Hart as well and the loss of his contributions.

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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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