It sets up as a must-see matchup Monday when No. 11 Gonzaga and No. 2 Purdue tangle at the Maui Invitational in Honolulu. Another reason to tune in: A pair of preseason All-American bigs battling in the paint.
Gonzaga’s Graham Ike and Purdue’s Zach Edey have been named to the first team by The Sporting News. Edey has been a mainstay on preseason All-American teams after collecting player of the year honors last season. Ike hasn’t received a ton of attention as he returns from a foot injury that sidelined him last season at Wyoming.
GU point guard Ryan Nembhard has been listed on a few media outlets’ preseason teams as a third-team selection.
The 6-foot-9 Ike was a force in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 19.5 points and 9.6 rebounds as a sophomore in 2022. He scored 11 points in his Gonzaga debut Friday against Yale.
“It’d be kind of shocking if Gonzaga didn’t have someone in line to be an All-American,” wrote Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News. “From Dan Dickau to Adam Morrison to Kelly Olynyk to Kyle Wiltjer to Rui Hachimura to then Corey Kispert, Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme over the last few years, it seems there’s always a Zag swimming with the biggest fish in college basketball.
“Ike is new to Gonzaga, but not to playing in the deep end; he helped lead Wyoming to a 25-win season and only the program’s third NCAA Tournament bid of this century.”
The 7-4 Edey stung Gonzaga with 23 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in Purdue’s 84-66 win at the PK85 last November in Portland. GU All-American Drew Timme countered with 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Edey averaged 22.3 points and 12.9 boards last season.
Duke forward Kyle Filipowski, USC guard Boogie Ellis and Marquette guard Tyler Kolek joined Ike and Edey on the first team. Gonzaga faces USC on Dec. 2 in Las Vegas and could run up against Marquette on the final day of the Maui Invitational.
Former Gonzaga center Oumar Ballo, a redshirt senior at Arizona, joined North Carolina center Armando Bacot, Kansas center Hunter Dickinson, Villanova guard Justin Moore and Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor IV on the second team. The Zags could face Kansas on the last day of the Maui Invitational.
Ballo averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds last season for the Wildcats.
Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton), Boo Buie (Northwestern), Max Abmas (Texas), Tyson Walker (Michigan State) and Justin Edwards (Kentucky) made the third team. Kalkbrenner and Nembhard were teammates the last two seasons at Creighton. Gonzaga visits Kentucky on Feb. 10.