Colangelo Classic: Early Session Primer

I’ll have boots on the ground at the Footprint Center again on Saturday, this time for the first Saturday session of the 2021 Jerry Colangelo Classic. Looking forward most of all to getting some in-person eyes on potential top pick Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga, but there are plenty more draftable players I’ll see as well, so this will serve as the guide for what to expect from my coverage.

Follow me on Twitter @iamdamonallred if you want my live thoughts, otherwise, I’ll have a recap up hopefully Saturday night with my standout thoughts.

(listed tip times are MST; prospect projections are from me, no definitive rankings yet since I don’t have an up-to-date board this early)

#5 Gonzaga (8-2) vs #25 Texas Tech (7-1) – 11:00 – CBS

Gonzaga’s start through ten games hasn’t quite been as perfect as expected, although their two losses aren’t too glaring given that they came at the hands of now #2 Duke and #6 Alabama. Returning big-man Drew Timme is still in the National Player of the Year conversation, and the aforementioned Holmgren is still in the running for top pick in the upcoming draft.

They lack the upper echelon perimeter play that made them so incredible on offense, a year ago, but they’re not bad in that area by any means. This is Gonzaga’s final real test before conference play gets going, so it’s important to beat another highly ranked team going into that WCC stretch.

Gonzaga prospects:

  • Chet Holmgren, 7-foot, 195 pounds – Top 3
  • Andrew Nembhard, 6-foot-5, 193 – Late first / early second
  • Julian Strawther, 6-foot-7, 205 – Late first / early second
  • Drew Timme, 6-foot-10, 235 – Second round
  • Nolan Hickman, 6-foot-2, 185 – 2023 prospect
  • Hunter Sallis, 6-foot-5, 175 – 2023 prospect

In their first season with Mark Adams at the helm, Texas Tech is off to a pretty great start and they’re playing well thanks to their signature style of ball with a lot of penetration on offense and a lot of sound principles, and hard work on defense.

Key returners like Terrence Shannon Jr., Kevin McCullar, and Bryson Williams help to lead the way along with newcomer — and former Oral Roberts star — Kevin Obanor, who’s knocking down 36% of his 5.0 deep attempts per game. Should also note that this is something of a homecoming for senior guard Adonis Arms, who played at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix before two years of juco ball for Mesa Community College.

Texas Tech prospects:

  • Terrence Shannon Jr., 6-foot-6, 215 – Late first / early second
  • Kevin Obanor, 6-foot-8, 235 – Second round
  • Kevin McCullar, 6-foot-6, 210 – Second round

Georgia Tech (5-4) vs #10 Southern California (10-0) – 2:30 – Pac-12 Network

Georgia Tech has struggled a bit, coming off their overachieving season in which coach Josh Pastnor led the Yellowjackets to an ACC title and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010. After starting 5-1, Tech has lost three in a row to Wisconsin, North Carolina, and LSU by a combined 41 points.

It doesn’t get any easier with #10 USC in front of them, but there’s a chance now on a neutral court to get things straightened out coming off a week-long rest. They’re led by Michael Devoe, averaging 22.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists on 55/53/74 shooting splits on monstrous volume. If Devoe can go toe-to-toe with fellow prospect Boogie Ellis and beat USC from the outside, they stand a good chance to upset the Trojans.

Georgia Tech prospects:

  • Michael Devoe, 6-foot-5, 191 – Late first / early second

With a spotless resume so far this season, USC looks to bolster that with what would be their first win over a power conference school from a different conference than the Pac-12. Their best win so far came by 15 over San Diego State, who’s in a down year by their standards, on a neutral court in Anaheim, Calif.

Five of their seven leading scorers are 6-foot-8 or taller, including their leader, Isaiah Mobley, who similarly to his now-Cleveland Cavalier younger brother is a hyper versatile big man, ranking third on the team in assists per game. All six of their six leading scorers are upperclassmen as well, so this is a veteran group that can go deep in the tournament once again after an Elite Eight run a year ago.

USC prospects:

  • Isaiah Mobley, 6-foot-10, 240 – Late first / early second
  • Boogie Ellis, 6-foot-3, 185 – Second round

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