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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Transfer targets 2.0: How Gonzaga could fill out its roster in 2022-23

UPDATED: Tue., May 10, 2022

Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar Jr. totaled 14 points and 10 rebounds when the Red Raiders played Gonzaga Dec. 18 in Phoenix.  (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar Jr. totaled 14 points and 10 rebounds when the Red Raiders played Gonzaga Dec. 18 in Phoenix. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

After more than a month of suspense, Gonzaga finally made some noise in the transfer portal last Sunday by adding 7-foot LSU center Efton Reid – a former five-star prospect who figures to help the Bulldogs’ frontcourt regardless of whether All-American forward Drew Timme turns pro or returns to school for his senior season.

With Monday serving as the final day players could enter the portal, it appears as though Gonzaga won’t have any outgoing transfers, barring senior walk-on Will Graves, who submitted his name in late March. As of April 26, GU was one of only 18 Division I programs that hadn’t lost a scholarship player to the portal, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.

But there’s a chance the Bulldogs will have a few more scholarships to fill with all five starters exploring NBA options and two of those five – Andrew Nembhard and Chet Holmgren – effectively out of the picture for next season. The three others – Timme, Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton – have less than a month to determine whether they’ll move on to the next phase of their career or pull their names from the NBA draft and return to Gonzaga in 2022-23.

Even with Reid in the fold, the Zags continue to be aggressive in the transfer market. As portal activity begins to wind down, we look at five more players who’ve been in contact with Mark Few’s staff – or have listed GU among their finalists – that could factor into the equation next season.

Kevin McCullar Jr., G, 6-6, 210

A monumental Sunday at Gonzaga didn’t end when the Bulldogs got commitments from Reid and priority 2023 four-star target Dusty Stromer. Hours later, McCullar, a Texas Tech transfer, announced he’d trimmed his list of college destinations to Gonzaga and Kansas and a recent 247Sports article indicated the “earliest buzz about his finalists suggests that Gonzaga is slightly ahead.”

A Naismith Defensive Player of the Year semifinalist who also earned All-Big 12 honorable mention, McCullar is also mulling the NBA and recently completed his first workout with the Boston Celtics. McCullar is a defensive-minded wing who averaged 10.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals for Texas Tech and posted a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double against Gonzaga in Phoenix. Things might get crowded at the wing spot if McCullar chooses Gonzaga and Strawther returns for his junior year, but the Bulldogs won’t mind the depth and it isn’t naïve to think Few could find a way to start both players in a smaller lineup.

Tyrese Hunter, G, 6-0, 178

Hunter is on Gonzaga’s campus as we speak, taking an official visit after trips to Purdue and Tennessee. Kansas, Louisville and Texas are the other finalists for the Iowa State transfer who leaves Ames after a stellar rookie season in which he was named the Big 12’s Freshman of the Year while averaging 11 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists. The point guard was a defensive ace ISU, which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, averaging 2.0 steals per game which makes up for some of his offensive deficiencies, including Hunter’s 3.2 turnovers per game and 27% 3-point shooting clip.

Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated published a list of the top remaining transfers, placing Hunter at No. 1 and McCullar not too far down at No. 3. It’s unlikely the Zags pick up both players – that would probably require Strawther and Bolton to dart for the NBA – but it’s also easy to imagine the defensive havoc GU could create with Hunter, McCullar and Hunter Sallis on the floor at the same time.

Kenneth Lofton Jr., F, 6-7, 275

The Louisiana Tech star hasn’t offered many clues as to where he could end up next season and seems focused on the NBA after working out with the Atlanta Hawks – a session that also included Washington State freshman Mouhamed Gueye and San Francisco guard Jamaree Bouyea. Lofton hasn’t narrowed an initial list of schools that included Gonzaga, but his production and versatility could be valuable tools for any program looking to add a guard/forward with good size, skill around the rim and ball-handling.

The standout freshman who teamed up with Holmgren to win a gold medal at the FIBA U-19 tournament last summer averaged a double-double – 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds – in his debut college season and had a 36-point, 17-rebound outing against North Carolina State before scoring 31 points with 14 rebounds against Santa Clara two games later.

Bobi Klintman, F, 6-8, 190

Klintman decommitted from Maryland after the Terrapins fired Mark Turgeon then mutually parted ways with Colorado due to what coach Tad Boyle called “unforeseen circumstances.” Klintman reopened his recruitment after the Buffaloes released him from his letter of intent. Earlier this week, multiple reports suggested the four-star product from Sunrise Christian Academy had heard from Gonzaga, along with 18 other schools.

A native of Malmo, Sweden, Klintman was considered the nation’s No. 78 prospect by On3 Recruiting. Although we’ve seen nothing to indicate he’s seriously considering a career at Gonzaga – or the Bulldogs or seriously considering him – it’s worth noting Few has a close relationship with Turgeon and Boyle, the first two coaches to receive a commitment from Klintman.

Courtney Ramey, G, 6-3, 185

It’s uncertain whether the Texas transfer will pursue the NBA or return to college for his senior season. If Ramey goes with the latter option, Gonzaga may be one of the schools to consider. Ramey’s father told CBS Sports analyst Jon Rothstein that Gonzaga and 17 other programs had been in contact with his son since entering the portal approximately one month ago.

The guard averaged 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Longhorns, who made the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He has the potential to be an elite sharpshooter after making 38% or better in two of his past three seasons in Austin.

It’s clear Gonzaga has placed its priorities on two other transfer guards from the Big 12 in McCullar and Hunter, but Ramey is worth keeping an eye on as long as he’s still in the portal.

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