Predicting the composition and player rotation of the Gonzaga Bulldogs for the 2024-25 season.

Before defeating Kentucky on the road in February, the Gonzaga Bulldogs appeared to be headed out of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. They had not looked like themselves in the first half of the college basketball season. They had also dropped out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in eight years.

However, transfer players Ryan Nembhard and Graham Ike found their footing and guided this team to a No. 5 seed in the big dance and, for the seventh consecutive season, a trip in the Sweet 16 before losing to No. 1 Purdue. Mark Few had this squad peaking at the right time.

This club is in a great position going into the 2024–25 season now that its core group has settled in, with standout forward Anton Watson being the sole known departure when he uses up his eligibility.

With the return of Steele Venters from an ACL injury and the arrival of Pepperdine transfer Michael Ajayi, Few’s team may finish inside the top 10 or possibly top five in the preseason poll when it is released in October, assuming everyone else makes it back.

The Zags’ anticipated starting lineup and rotation are shown below, presuming there are no more acquisitions or departures as they attempt to return to the Sweet 16 for the ninth straight season.

Ryan Nembhard, point guard


2023–24 stats: 35.8 minutes, 4.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 6.9 assists, and 12.6 points

After leading Creighton to an Elite Eight in 2023, Nembhard startled college basketball by logging onto the transfer portal. He eventually committed to Gonzaga, following in the footsteps of his older brother Andrew.

It took Nembhard a bit to get going in Spokane, but in the last two months of the season, he was one of the finest point guards in the nation, and as a senior in 2024–2025, he is expected to have an All-American season.


Guard on the Shoot: Nolan Hickman

2023–24 stats: 14 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.0 steal, 2.7 assists, and 35.3 minutes

Over the past few years, Hickman has been expected to play a variety of roles for Gonzaga. When the team signed Andrew Nembhard’s younger brother Ryan in the offseason, he voluntarily switched to shooting guard after serving as the team’s backup point guard behind Nembhard in 2022–2023 when things didn’t go as planned.

Hickman’s shift to focus more on shooting and scoring rather than serving as a facilitator paid off, as the 6’3 guard made a career-high 5.4 three-pointers per game and sank 41.3% of his threes. This next season, he should have a similar role and continue to flourish.


Front-runner: Michael Ajayi

2023–24 stats: 34.7 minutes, 1.9 assists, 9.9 rebounds, and 17.2 points (at Pepperdine)

A native of Seattle, Ajayi played his first two seasons of junior college ball in Washington before moving on to Pepperdine, where he led the Waves in scoring and rebounds and produced an All-WCC campaign.

Although Ajayi isn’t exactly the same player as Anton Watson, he will effectively take Watson’s spot in the starting lineup by providing more outside shooting and floor spacing. Steele Venters, who missed the entire previous season due to an ACL injury, will also be able to gradually return to the court.


Ben Gregg, a forward powerhouse


2023–2024 Statistics: 23.6 minutes, 9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 steals

Gregg’s promotion to the starting lineup may have been the best decision coach Few made the whole season since it instantly offered the Zags more size, rebounding, and outside shooting while putting less pressure on Stromer to grow into a more comfortable role.

Gregg has been a mainstay for Gonzaga over the previous several years, and with Watson’s departure, he should have his greatest season in 2024–25. If he lives up to his extremely high peak, Gonzaga might become a top five program.

Graham Ike in the center


2023–2024 Stats: 24.1 minutes, 0.7 blocks, 7.4 rebounds, and 16.5 points

Ike arrived at Gonzaga having missed the entire previous campaign due to a leg injury, but he quickly showed that he was fit and occasionally unstoppable for the Zags, stomping all over conference play and leading the team to significant wins over Kansas, Kentucky, and St. Mary’s.

Ike might finish his career in Spokane as one of the team’s all-time greats, and he has a chance to be an All-American for Gonzaga this coming season. He also has two more years of eligibility.


Man Number Six: Braden Huff

2023–2024 Statistics: 13.5 minutes, 0.7 blocks, 3.4 rebounds, and 9.3 points

Huff redshirted in 2022–2023 and spent the whole season honing his skills against Drew Timme in the gym. He excelled in his debut season with the Zags, scoring over 20 points in several of his early games.

Although he had some difficulties in conference play and against elite opponents, especially in defense, his development over the season could position him for a significant role off the bench in 24–25.


Steele Venters, the Seventh Man


Redshirt Junior class

2023–24 Stats: ACL Injury Prevented Play.

After winning Big Sky Player of the Year at Eastern Washington (beating out Dalton Knecht, who went on to become an All-American at Tennessee), Venters transferred to Gonzaga. However, two days prior to the start of the season, he sustained an ACL tear that prevented him from playing.

Venters has always wanted to play for Gonzaga, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be using the transfer portal this offseason. Instead, after his knee heals completely, he’ll play a vital role as a backdoor cutter and floor spacer.


Man Number Eight: Dusty Stromer

2023–2024 Stats: 23.5 minutes, 1.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.8 points

After Venters sustained an injury, Stromer, a top 50 freshman in the 2023 class, surprisingly started the first half of the season.

After Few started Gregg in the starting lineup in the second half of the season, Stromer flourished, and his growth will be crucial to Gonzaga’s chances of winning a championship in 2024.

Luka Krajnovic: 16 games, 2.9 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 8.3 minutes

In 25 games, Jun Seok Yeo had 2.3 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 6.9 minutes.

Pavle Stosic: 14 games, 1 point, 0.8 rebounds, and 3.4 minutes

While Krajnovic was able to play his way into a regular role despite missing a month due to a wrist injury, Yeo and Stosic were all international recruits who were just outside the rotation for Few’s club in 2023–2024.

With the exception of garbage time and injuries, he is the most likely to play a regular role as the third point guard in 2024–2025. Yeo and Stosic are unlikely to play any meaningful minutes.

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