All indications point to Gonzaga returning one of the deepest rosters of the Mark Few era.
How the 24th-year coach splits the 16-man group up may be the most interesting aspect of Saturday’s Kraziness in the Kennel exhibition – the public’s first opportunity to view another Gonzaga team that’s expected to compete for a No. 1 ranking and contend for the national championship.
The annual preseason showcase will start at 4 p.m. at McCarthey Athletic Center, with dunk contests and 3-point shooting exhibitions preceding an abbreviated blue-white scrimmage. Those unable to secure a ticket to Kraziness at the Kennel can follow along with the live television broadcast on SWX.
Gonzaga returns three members of a backcourt that’s considered to be one of the deepest and strongest in the country. For the first time, Bulldog fans will have a chance to see Chattanooga point guard transfer Malachi Smith, who was considered the country’s top midmajor player in 2021-22, winning the Lou Henson Player of the Year award. Saturday’s scrimmage may give fans initial clues on how the Bulldogs intend to use Smith in the backcourt, especially if he’s paired with sophomore point guard Nolan Hickman.
LSU transfer center Efton Reid and four-star freshman Braden Huff will be playing in front of a Kennel crowd for the first time as Gonzaga players and sophomore forward Kaden Perry is expected to be back in uniform after missing a large chunk of the 2021-22 season with back spasms. Few suggested guard Dominick Harris would be unavailable on Saturday, telling reporters at West Coast Conference Media Day the sophomore still hasn’t been cleared from a foot injury that forced him to undergo surgery last fall.
Few placed four of his starters – Drew Timme, Chet Holmgren, Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton – on the “white” team last fall while sticking point guard Andrew Nembhard on the “blue” team. The teams ended the 15-minute scrimmage in a 38-38 tie and Strawther led all scorers with 11 points. Hickman won last year’s 3-point contest and fellow guard Hunter Sallis claimed the dunk title.
The annual scrimmage is normally a key date on Gonzaga’s recruiting calendar as well. According to 247Sports.com the Bulldogs will be hosting four-star guard/forward Dusty Stromer, who committed to GU this summer. Before naming Gonzaga as one of his finalists, five-star forward Anthony Black traveled to Spokane for last year’s Kraziness in the Kennel. Black ultimately signed with Arkansas.
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