Some major news today in the college hoops world. Filip Petrusev, last year's WCC Player of the Year and a likely First Team All-American heading into this season, just left the Gonzaga program. Now most of the time this means you're declaring for the NBA Draft and a likely pick or 2-way contract guy. Petrusev might be that, but he just signed a deal to play in Europe and join Mega Bemax.
We'll get into what Gonzaga has, what the Petrusev loss means, etc. But first, we gotta talk about Few and staff finding out on Twitter. That's fucking hilarious. I need more people to announce decisions like that, because how many times do we hear the opposite way where a coach will leave and guys will find out from Woj or someone else on Twitter? Imagine being a Gonzaga assistant coach or some shit having to go tell Mark Few you're losing your All-American to a pro career in Europe.
Now, Gonzaga is still going to be loaded. Go ahead and get your jokes about them playing in the WCC, they were still the No. 2 on KenPom last year and a Final Four type team. They were one of the best offenses in the country and a lot of that was due to Petrusev's ability to finish on pick and rolls and in the low post. At the same time, Gonzaga had a weird fit with him/Timme/Tillie all at 6'10" and taller. That's where Gonzaga fans and coaching staff will tell you the loss of Petrusev hurts, but Gonzaga will be fine. And that's true. Don't get me wrong. Gonzaga is going to be loaded assuming Joel Ayayi and/or Corey Kispert return.
Gonzaga has a bunch of dudes in the front court that can make up Petrusev's 17.5 points and 8 rebounds per game. Drew Timme is a legit star in the making. You're assuming he's making the jump from his freshman year where he averaged 10 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while just playing 20.5 minutes. The advanced stats love him, his game is awesome. But you still need that jump obviously. Then they have Oumar Ballo, a redshirt from last season, who was a monster for Mali at the U-17 and U-19 World Cups. They also have Anton Watson coming off injury. But that's the problem here. It's two guys that haven't played college ball yet with a ton of upside and Timme needing to take on a larger role. That's why I'm a bit more hesitant on Gonzaga as a true preseason No. 1 team right now. I think they are somewhere in the top-5, just not top-1.