Spokane, WA- If anyone had concerns or questions on Gonzaga’s ability to play effectively without injured starters Sam Dower (6-9, 255, C, RS-Sr.) and Gary Bell (6-1, 220, G, Jr.), they were certainly answered in a positive way in Monday night’s 69-41 victory vs. San Francisco. Graduate forward Drew Barham (6’6, 185) got the starting nod in place of Dower and made the most of the opportunity by going 5-of-10 from 3pt range in scoring 15 points and pulling down nine rebounds to lead the Zags. If Barham continues to play this way he should get serious looks from professional teams at the Spanish ACB level that are looking for a SG/SF who can also effectively take care of the ball, rebound and defend the SG/SF/PF positions. Barham is an offensive system type shooter who looks to get his looks through set plays and kick out passes. Not much of a driver and he only looks to drive in fast-break situations or to help with ball reversal.
In addition to Barham, the Zags once again got explosive offensive play out of starting combo guard Kevin Pangos (6’2, 182, Jr.) who in 34 minutes racked up 10 points (3-8 FG, 2-6 3FG, 2-2 FT) seven defensive rebounds, four assists, no turnovers and two steals. Pangos has a quick release NBA 3pt range shot that can be released from fast-break or full-court penetration situations. He has great court vision and can create scoring opportunities for himself and teammates off basket drives and doesn’t force bad shots nor does he appear to struggle finishing against size or heavy defensive lane traffic. Pangos has a very similar game to that of international professional player Brad Oleson PG/SG (FBC Regal) and current Cleveland Cavalier SG Matthew Dellavedova, except Pangos has more quickness than both players.
Gonzaga also got 10 points and seven assists from senior PG David Stockton (5-11, 165) and 11 points and eight rebounds from sophomore C Przemek Karnowski (7’1, 305). Stockton shows that he is a true PG that, as his father was, is a solid defender who can get steals and deflections with his wing span, quick hands and smart play. At this point Stockton looks to be a good prospect for Mid-level professional teams that are looking for a true PG that can defend, hit open shots, a good leader and has a high basketball IQ. Questions remain on Stockton’s ability to finish effectively vs. size and lane traffic.
Karnowski has the potential to be a solid NBA back-up center at this point in his college career, but really needs to improve his overall athleticism, touch around the basket and FT shooting. If Karnowski can continue to improve his athleticism, it will help him become a far better defender and offensive rebounder. Right now he really struggles to defend outside of the low-post along with catch-an-face offensive type post moves. He gets unnecessary fouls when going for offensive rebounds, because he struggles to get inside position from his current lack of athleticism. All indications from the Gonzaga staff is that Karnowski has improved a great deal on his athleticism and will continue to work hard in the off-season.
A surprise player for the Zags is transfer sophomore Angel Nunez (6-8, 200) from Louisville. In 14 minutes of playing time Nunez had six points and five rebounds with one blocked shot. Nunez, playing in only his second game for the Zags, showed Blake Griffin type athleticism. Nunez brings a lot of energy, can elevate his shoulders above the rim and can cover a lot of area with his length and quickness on defense. He has good fundamentals, uses a lot of balance and control when posting up, is very explosive off breaks and in the open court. Nunez also showed the ability to get to the rim from the back-court off 1-2 dribbles with his length and quickness. The one big question mark on Nunez is his ability to shoot from the outside.
The San Francisco Dons were lead by sophomore SG/PG Avry Holmes (6’2, 196). Holmes shot 5-of-8 from the field (4-of-5 3pt) and poured in 16 points for the Dons. Holmes is a SG that professional teams should keep monitoring, because he has NBA 3pt shooting range and gets great elevation and release on his shot. In addition to his shooting ability, Holmes has a strong and athletic build coupled with good athleticism that allow him to be an effective finisher at the rim and defender. He has a good assist to turnover ratio (32-24), but needs to improve on his rebounding and is very capable to do so due to his athleticism and strength.
Eric Stang is a Scout and Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball. Thanks to rantsports.com for the Karnowski photo.