The Gonzaga Bulldogs racked up plenty of preseason honors on Thursday as they were named the overwhelming favorites to win the West Coast Conference (WCC) with considerable representation on the preseason squad in the conference. Stars Drew Timme, Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton have been selected to the WCC pre-season squad.
GU received nine out of 10 possible votes for first place. Saint Mary’s, which was expected to finish second in the conference, took the final vote for first place. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.
The high expectations that come with pre-season have become normal for the Zags after being selected as WCC favorites for the 21st times in the past 22 seasons. Many expect another run at a national title with the way the roster is constructed, and there’s a chance the sentiment will be reflected in national polls ahead of the start of the season. The latest CBS Sports poll has the Zags, who returned six of their top eight scorers from a season ago, at the top of their standings.
After their success last season, Timme, Bolton and Strawther are the headliners of the WCC pre-season squad. Bolton led the WCC with 3-point efficiency, knocking down 46% of his attempts from deep, and is a likely starter again as a senior. He’s quietly been one of the most consistent players since the Zags uniform appeared, and with another year in Mark Few’s system, he’ll be expected to show up night and night again. .
For Strawther, who broke out as a legitimate starter last season, he’s set for another big year with more opportunities. It was apparent this time a year ago that his confidence and skill were going to be key to GU’s success in attack, as he got off to a strong start in non-conference action. He struggled to find a rhythm against Georgia State and Memphis in the tournament, but if he can be consistent and effective for GU, he could find his name on the All-WCC First-Team roster at the end of the season. season.
And what about Timme at this point — a two-time All-American, reigning conference player of the year and a contender to lift the Naismith Trophy to wrap up his college career. He’s driving the Zags without a five-star rookie by his side this time around, but there are plenty of surrounding weapons that can lighten the load and put pressure on opposing defenses.
Zags kick off preseason with Kraziness in the Kennel Saturday at 4 p.m.