Kevin Pangos (AP Photo/Roberto Gonzalez)
The season is narrowing closer and it is time to look at the starting five for this season’s Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Kevin Pangos will be the starting point guard for the Zags. David Stockton has been a reliable back up for the Zags and played 18.7 minutes per game last season. He will continue to get minutes off the bench, but Pangos is the man and one of the leaders of this team. Pangos averaged 11.9 points per game last season and shot a remarkable 41 percent from three. He is one of if not the best player on this Bulldog team and should have another great year.
Gary Bell Jr. as long as he is healthy will continue to be the starter. Bell averaged 9 points per game last season and is one of the Bulldogs best defenders. He was injured in the last game of the season but should be healthy and ready to go come the start of the season. Bell is a very talented player and can impact the game in a variety of ways.
Gerard Coleman is eligible after transferring from Providence and should be the final starting guard. At 6-foot-4 Coleman is the biggest of the Zags guards and should be able to get to the hole better than Pangos and Bell. I expect Coleman to be a strong compliment to Pangos and Bell. The Zags are going to be undersized at the guard position, with Pangos at 6-foot-2, Bell at 6-foot-1 and Coleman at 6-foot-4, but they are talented enough to make up for it.
This spot gets interesting for Gonzaga. The Zags do not have a true power forward on the roster. The closest power forward they have is Angel Nunez and Luke Meikle. Nunez is not eligible until December and Meikle, a freshman, will not be ready to jump into a starting role.
My bet is that Gonzaga will do one of two things; start a small lineup featuring four guards with Drew Barham or Kyle Dranginis or they will start two big men in Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski. I think the lineup will change depending on the matchup but I would definitely lean towards starting two centers. It is an issue no doubt about it for the Bulldogs. If they start four guards they are going to get pushed around and will have very poor interior defense. If they start two true centers they are going to have a hard time matching up with the power forward and may get beat on defense. Dower and Karnowski could both play at the same time with Dower playing the power forwards position but I don’t know how well he could keep up on defense at least with a quicker power forward.
I think early in the year Dower and Karnowski will play with one another but once Nunez is eligible I think he will come in and be the small/ power forward for the team, leaving Sam Dower starting at center.
The starting 5 for this squad when they are at full strength is very intriguing. The Zags are going to be more guard oriented then in years past and very strong in that area. Both Pangos and Bell can shoot the ball very well and Coleman gets to the basket at ease. The power forward position is a total question mark but I would lean towards starting Nunez as long as he doesn’t get pushed around for only being 6-foot-8, 200 pounds. Dower rounds it out at the center position where his senior leadership will help. This Gonzaga team will definitely be experimenting trying to figure out how to fill the power forward position but nonetheless this starting 5 will be very tough to beat.