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Kyle Wiltjer opts to pass on NBA Draft, return to GU; Angel Nunez transferring to South Florida

Kyle Wiltjer has decided to return for his senior basketball season at Gonzaga University, according to a GU source.

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward had been considering the possibility of declaring for the NBA Draft but informed coaches and teammates he’ll be back. The early entry NBA Draft deadline is Sunday.

Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis formed one of the nation’s best frontcourts last season. Karnowski and Sabonis have indicated they are returning and the Zags also will have 7-foot sophomore Ryan Edwards, who is coming off a redshirt season.

Wiltjer led Gonzaga in scoring at 16.8 points and was second in rebounding at 6.2 per game. He was named second-team NABC All-American and third- team AP All-American. The Portland native figures to be one of the favorites for player of the year honors next season.

The transfer from the University of Kentucky, who sat out the 2014 season, hit 45 points against Pacific, third on Gonzaga’s single-game scoring list. He led the Zags in scoring in 18 games, including four of the last five. Wiltjer made 54 percent of his field-goal attempts, including 46.6 percent of his 3-pointers, and 79 percent from the free-throw line.

Shortly after the 2015 season ended, the Zags were ranked in the top 10 of several way-too-early 2016 polls with the presumption that their frontcourt players would return. Gonzaga must replace starting guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., and wing Byron Wesley, but they have promising youngsters in Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Bryan Alberts as well as rising seniors Kyle Dranginis and Eric McClellan.

The Zags are among the finalists for a couple of prominent transfers. GU is expected to have an in-home visit Wednesday with former Drexel standout Damion Lee, a 6-foot-6 wing who ranked among the national scoring leaders at 21.4 points per game.

Lee, who is also considering Arizona, Marquette, Maryland and Louisville, is on course to graduate in June and would be eligible immediately.

Nunez commits to South Florida

Former GU forward Angel Nunez has committed to South Florida, CBSsports.com reported. He visited USF last weekend.

The 6-8 Nunez played in 28 games last season, averaging 6.3 minutes, 2.7 points and 1.9 rebounds.

He is eligible to play next season as a graduate transfer.

Jim Meehan

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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