Gonzaga blew the door open in its exhibition game against West Georgia on Saturday, chipping well past the century mark in a 122-76 showing.
The Zags put on an offensive barrage and toyed with lineups in front of a packed Kennel.
Here are five takeaways:
1) Williams-Goss doesn’t have to be a do-it-all point guard, but can — if needed.
Nigel Williams-Goss’ much anticipated debut put his entire toolkit on display. Was his first outing completely smooth? Not entirely. He coughed up three early turnovers against a Division-II opponent, which doesn’t particularly indicate that the answer is yes. But the redshirt junior asserted himself across the box score, finishing with a game-high 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes. William-Goss, a 25.6 percent 3-point shooter in his last season at Washington, will have plenty of help on the perimeter. Jordan Mathews and Zach Norvell tallied five and three 3-pointers, respectively, and Silas Melson and Josh Perkins are proven threats from deep.
2) Karnowski is still a ways out from his old form
Karnowski showed flashes of game at its best, scoring a formidable 14 points and grabbing three rebounds in a 12-minute outing. But the fifth-year senior was certainly far from top form, which head coach Mark Few echoed.
“The first thing with Przemek,” Few said, “we all have to take a step back and understand that he had major, major surgery and he really hadn’t done anything for nine months. He’s very much a work in progress right now shape-wise, basketball timing-wise we’ve got to get that going.”
The season is still in its genesis and the team has yet to be able to feel out the frontcourt beyond Karnowski in a game situation, but the reserves showed signs of production Saturday.
Zach Collins played 18 minutes and amassed 16 points and five boards on 6-of-11 shooting, and Killian Tillie’s four points and four boards may have slipped by the passerby, but Few singled out his play in the postgame.
3) The (potential near) future appears bright, as newcomers shine in debut.
Newcomers accounted for 83 percent of the Zags’ points. Breaking it down further, the three transfers —Williams-Goss, Jonathan Williams and Mathews — made up 42 percent of the scoring and the freshmen — Rui Hachimura, Norvell, Zach Collins and Tillie — netted 41 percent of the point total.
The Zags are still a work-in-progress. Not entirely surprising, considering the team is majority newcomers. The team’s 14 turnovers was one of the many aspects Few filed under "needs improving."
“There’s a lot of new faces, bodies out there that we’re just kind of trying to get all gelling together,” Few said. “You can literally pinpoint every possession and that’s to be expected for first time out. Literally every aspect of the game we’re going to have to get better at, they’re not going to be all easy like that.”
4) Redshirt year may be in cards for Hachimura.
Few was averse to giving away any plans as to whom he may redshirt, but rotation and performance may have been a blueprint. Hachimura, the 6-foot-8, 225-pound freshman forward from Sendai, Japan, presents an imposing combination of size and athleticism. But if Saturday’s showing in limited minutes proved anything, it’s that Hachimura may benefit from a year of development.
5) The Kennel needed a full-strength exhibition game — and got one.
It was an exhibition game against a Division II opponent. Did somebody forget to tell students?