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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Zags Basketball Insiders Podcast (episode 1): The transfers, the young guys and a look ahead to Yale

From staff reports

While the Gonzaga Bulldogs had to replace three starters from last season, the Zags Insiders Podcast returned Monday fully intact.

In the first pod of the 2023-24 season, Spokesman-Review reporter Jim Meehan and TV analyst and former Gonzaga center Richard Fox offer their insights on center Graham Ike, guard Ryan Nembhard and wing Steele Venters, talk about some of the younger players in the program and preview Friday’s opener against Yale.

Catch the episode here. It’s also available on Apple podcasts, Spotify and Google podcasts. Below are some highlights on the three transfers:

On Ike

Jim Meehan: “Graham Ike, to me, looked like I was watching Sam Dower’s touch (with) a combination with Domantas Sabonis’ power moves in there – two lefties from Gonzaga’s past.”

Richard Fox: “You can’t move him. (He) reminds me a lot of (J.P.) Batista in that way back when J.P. was here – really ground-bound defensively, but good feet and you could not back him down. J.P. was really good at beating guys to their spot and forcing them to catch it further out than they might want to. I think Graham fits that mold in a similar way.”

On Nembhard

Jim Meehan: “Ryan Nembhard is an absolute jet in the open court. He can fly down the floor. I think he’s going to provide a lot scoring …. he may be in that 12-13 point range, which is what he’d done at Creighton. But I think he has a good way of involving everybody. I think he really is more of a floor-general type, at least from what I’ve seen in limited minutes.”

Richard Fox: “I love the way Ryan plays. This is the last time – I’ll try – (that) I’ll compare him to his brother (Andrew) because I would imagine that gets tired for him. But he pushes it the same way that his brother did. And that’s what I love about the way he plays.”

On Venters

Jim Meehan: “A very accomplished 3-point shooter. Again if this thing is going to work, all these new pieces with Anton (Watson) with Nolan (Hickman) … those all have to fit together, especially with those two other transfers besides Graham.”

Richard Fox: “What’s going to be interesting for Venters is they don’t need him to be what he was at Eastern (Washington). At Eastern, he got up 12 shots a game. I’d be surprised if he got double digit shots (at Gonzaga). He had a lot more freedom at Eastern to create offense.”