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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga’s Ryan Nembhard named to preseason watch list for NABC player of the year

Gonzaga guard Ryan Nembhard greets Kennel Club members as he walks down the aisle during introductions at Kraziness in the Kennel last month.  (By Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga point guard Ryan Nembhard on Thursday made his second preseason award watch list, this time for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Player of the Year.

Nembhard, who transferred to Gonzaga after two seasons at Creighton, joins 19 others on the list, including former Bluejays teammates Ryan Kalkbrenner and Trey Alexander and former Bulldogs center Oumar Ballo, who is in his third season at Arizona.

Nembhard was named to the Bob Cousy Award (nation’s top point guard) watch list nearly two weeks ago. His older brother Andrew, a former GU standout point guard, was on the 2021 NABC Player of the Year preseason watch list.

Ryan Nembhard averaged 11.8 points, 4.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds while starting all 64 of his career games with Creighton. He made 42% from the field and 81.6% at the free-throw line.

Gonzaga will face at least four players on the NABC Player of the Year watch list: UConn’s Donovan Clingan, Purdue’s Zach Edey, and USC’s Isaiah Collier and Boogie Ellis. The Zags also could face Hunter Dickinson (Kansas) or Tyler Kolek (Marquette) at the Maui Invitational.

Edey won the award last season. The last repeat winner was Duke’s Jay Williams in 2001-02.

Collier and Kolek join Nembhard on the Cousy watch list.

Others on the NABC watch list: Max Abmas (Texas), Armando Bacot (North Carolina), Boo Buie (Northwestern), Kyle Filipowski (Duke), Bryce Hopkins (Providence), Justin Moore (Villanova), Tyrese Proctor (Duke), Terrence Shannon Jr. (Illinois); Wade Taylor IV (Texas A&M) and Tyson Walker (Michigan State).

Nembhard guided Creighton to the Elite Eight last season and tallied a career-high 30 points in a second-round win over Baylor.