The best players in Gonzaga basketball history


Since the late 1990s, Gonzaga has gone from mid-major overachiever to perennial national power. However, when it comes to star players, the Bulldogs generated some even before the program gained national prominence continues to churn them out consistently. Here’s our look at 20 of the best players in Gonzaga basketball history — listed in chronological order. 

 

1 of 20

Frank Burgess, Guard (1958-61)

Frank Burgess, Guard (1958-61)

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga’s prominence on the college basketball scene dates to the late 1990s. However, arguably the best player in program history starred well before that time. Burgess is the school’s all-time leader in career points (2,196), scoring average (28.1), made field goals (800), single-season scoring average (32.5 in 1960-61), and most points in a single game (52 vs. UC Davis in January 1961). He was a consensus All-American in 1961 and is one of three Gonzaga players to have had his jersey retired.

 

2 of 20

John Stockton, Guard (1981-84)

John Stockton, Guard (1981-84)

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Sure, Stockton might have had many basketball fans scratching their heads following some mind-boggling comments he made associated with the coronavirus pandemic, but the Hall of Fame point guard still might be the first player that comes to mind when the topic of Gonzaga basketball comes up. 

While he totaled 1,340 points for his career and averaged 20.9 as the 1984 West Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Stockton is best known for distributing the basketball. He averaged a career-high 7.2 assists as a senior, and the total 554 he amassed during his collegiate career ranks fifth in school history. Defensively, Stockton remains Gonzaga’s all-time leader with 262 steals. Like Frank Burgess, Stockton’s No. 12 was retired by the program.

 

3 of 20

Jim McPhee, Guard-Forward (1986-90)

Jim McPhee, Guard-Forward (1986-90)

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There are only two Gonzaga players to score at least 2,000 career points. McPhee is one of them, with 2,015. The versatile swingman and four-year starter averaged 20.1 points as a junior and 23.6 during his 1989-90 season campaign. He ranks second in school history with 774 made field goals and fifth with 425 made free throws. McPhee shot 53.8 percent from the field and went 47-of-101 from beyond the 3-point arc. 

 

4 of 20

Matt Santangelo, Guard (1997-2000)

Matt Santangelo, Guard (1997-2000)

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Santangelo was part of Gonzaga’s 1999 Elite Eight squad and the group that returned to the Sweet 16 the next season. He started 129 of the 131 games he played over four seasons with the Bulldogs, finishing with 1,808 points and 668 assists. Santangelo, who averaged 13.8 points, 5.1. assists, and 3.3 rebounds at Gonzaga, was a three-time first-team All-West Coast Conference performer and the league’s co-freshman of the year in 1997.

 

5 of 20

Casey Calvary, Forward (1998-2001)

Casey Calvary, Forward (1998-2001)

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One of the most popular figures in the history of Gonzaga basketball, the 6-foot-8 Calvary got better each season for the Zags. By the time he was a senior, Calvary averaged 19 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists to earn WCC Player of the year honors. For his career, the two-time first-team All-WCC performer totaled more than 1,500 points, shot 57.9 percent, made 569 field goals, and pulled down 757 rebounds. His 207 blocks are still the most by any Bulldog.

 

Dan Dickau, Guard (2000-02)

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Dickau’s college career didn’t begin at Gonzaga, but he certainly left his mark on the program in just two seasons. Following his transfer from Washington and sitting out the 1999-2000 campaign, Dickau made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs. By the time his time with the Zags had finished, Dickau averaged 20.1 points on 45.8 percent shooting from the field and 46.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. His 117 made threes from 2001-02, when he was named WCC Player of the Year, remains a single-season Gonzaga record. 

 

7 of 20

Blake Stepp, Guard (2001-04)

Blake Stepp, Guard (2001-04)

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By the early 2000s, Gonzaga was making its case to be more than just a consistently good mid-major program. The Zags were also starting to produce some of the best players in the nation. Following in the steps of Dan Dickau, Stepp went further in twice being named WCC Player of the Year (2003, ’04) after winning the league’s freshman of the year award in 2001. From a scoring standpoint, Stepp’s best season came as a junior. He averaged 18 points and shot 40.3 percent from 3-point range. He recorded 1,670 career points and 288 made 3-pointers. Stepp also ranks within the school’s top 10 for assists (640) and steals (152).

 

8 of 20

Ronny Turiaf, Forward (2002-05)

Ronny Turiaf, Forward (2002-05)

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The 6-foot-10 Turiaf continued the run of Gonzaga players to win West Coast Player of the Year. His turn came in 2005, when he set career highs with 15.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per contest. Turiaf’s 1,723 points rank seventh among Gonzaga players, and he’s fifth with 859 all-time rebounds. The native of France also happens to be the school’s career leader with 643 made free throws and sits third with 179 blocked shots. 

 

9 of 20

Adam Morrison, Forward (2004-06)

Adam Morrison, Forward (2004-06)

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In terms of collegiate play, Morrison should be in the conversation for Gonzaga’s greatest player of all time. Sure, he might be best remembered sitting on the court and crying in his final college game during the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He enjoyed a less-than stellar NBA career, too. But after three years at Gonzaga, the hometown Spokane boy amassed the third-most points in school history with 1,867. 

His 926 from 2005-06 are a program single-season record, and his 28.1 average that season was the best in the country. The WCC Player of the Year and Oscar Robertson Trophy winner (2006), plus consensus first-team All-American in 2006, Morrison ranks third at Gonzaga in made field goals (669) and seventh in made free throws (401). He joins Frank Burgess and John Stockton as the only players to have their jerseys retired at Gonzaga.

 

Matt Bouldin, Guard (2007-10)

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Bouldin might not have been flashy, but he’s certainly one of the more dependable players to don a Gonzaga uniform. He started all 99 games from his sophomore season on. He averaged career highs of 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists as a senior in 2009-10, when he was named WCC Player of the Year. A three-time first-team All-WCC selection, Bouldin ranks among the school’s top 10 in points (1,683), made field goals (564), assists (444), and steals (170).

 

Elias Harris, Forward (2010-13)

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Much like Matt Bouldin, the 6-foot-8 Harris went about his business while at Gonzaga. Business was good for the talented three-time first-team All-West Coast Conference pick. He ranks fourth in Zags history with 1,857 points (13,8 average), seventh in made field goals at 666 (51.7-percent career shooter), and fourth with 447 made free throws. When it came to cleaning the glass, Harris’ 979 rebounds (7.3 average) are the second-most ever at Gonzaga. 

 

Kelly Olynyk, Center (2010-11; 2012-13)

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With the long hair and skinny headband, the 7-foot Olynyk certainly stood out on the floor. Then again, maybe because he also put together a memorable junior season with the Zags after opting to redshirt his 2011-12 junior campaign following two seasons of bench play as a freshman and sophomore. Taking the year to work on his game paid off. Olynyk averaged 17.8 points on 62.9 percent shooting while also pulling down 7.3 rebounds and recording 36 blocks to earn WCC Player of the Year and consensus first-team All-American honors.  

 

Kevin Pangos, Guard (2012-15)

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Like Kelly Olynyk, Pangos hails from Canada, and he’s beloved by the Gonzaga basketball community. A four-time first-team All-WCC selection and league’s player of the year in 2015, Pangos started all but one of the 142 games he played for the Zags. He’s the school’s all-time leader with 322 made 3-pointers. Also in the annals of Gonzaga hoops, Pangos ranks among the top 10 in points (1,824), made field goals (566), assists (536), steals (177), and free-throw percentage (84.3).

 

Domantas Sabonis, Center (2015-16)

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Two seasons was all Sabonis needed to leave a lasting impression at Gonzaga. Even as a bench player during his freshman season, the 6-foot-11 Sabonis averaged 9.7 points on 66.8 percent shooting (second in school history for a season) and 7.1 rebounds. A season later, he put up 17.6 points and 11.8 boards to earn honorable mention All-American honors from The Associated Press. Sabonis’ 63.2 career field-goal percentage is the best in school history.

 

Nigel Williams-Goss, Guard (2016-17)

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Williams-Goss spent just one season at Gonzaga after transferring from Washington, but it was one that Bulldogs fans won’t forget. While helping the Zags reach both the Final Four and national championship game for the first time in school history, Williams-Goss averaged 16.8 points on 46.4 percent shooting. He also pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists per contest. His 640 points that season rank ninth in Gonzaga history, while his 64 steals are fourth.

 

16 of 20

Josh Perkins, Guard (2015-19)

Josh Perkins, Guard (2015-19)

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One of the most celebrated recruits in Gonzaga history, Perkins might not have had the dominant college career Zags fans expected, but he definitely left his mark on the program. Part of Gonzaga’s first Final Four team from 2017, Perkins is the school’s all-time leader with 712 assists. He ranks second in steals (178), wins (134), and games played (153). A two-time first-team All-West Conference selection, Perkins averaged 10.2 points and made nearly 39 percent of his 3-point attempts while a Bulldog. 

 

Rui Hachimura, Forward (2017-19)

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Thanks to former assistant Tommy Lloyd, Gonzaga has attracted some of the best international talent in the history of sport. Add Hachimura to the list. A first-team All-West Coast Conference pick in two of his three seasons with the Zags, Hachimura averaged 19.7 points on 59.1 percent shooting with 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists to be named WCC Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American in 2018-19. His 729 points that season rank fifth in school history, while his 275 made field are third-most for a single campaign. 

 

Corey Kispert, Forward (2018-21)

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Kispert just kept getting better each season at Gonzaga, where he totaled 1,586 points, 552 rebounds, and 192 assists while playing 137 games and helping the school reach the national championship for the second time in 2021. As senior in 2020-21, the versatile and dependable Kispert set career highs for average points (18.6) and rebounds (5.0) while earning WCC Player of the Year and consensus first-team All-American honors. A 48.3 percent career shooter from the field, Kispert also shot 40.8 from beyond the 3-point arc. 

 

Jalen Suggs, Guard (2020-21)

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A prized recruit from Minnesota, Suggs certainly lived up to the hype during his one and only season at Gonzaga. A consensus second-team All-American and the WCC Newcomer of the Year, Suggs averaged 14.4 points while shooting 50.3 percent. He may have also delivered the most memorable shot in school history: that desperation buzzer-beating heave off the glass to keep Gonzaga’s perfect season alive in the 93-90 victory over UCLA in the Final Four. Suggs also averaged 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and almost 2.0 assists.

 

Drew Timme, Forward (2020-present)

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As of March 2022, the 6-foot-10 Timme was still writing his legacy at Gonzaga. Through the 2021-22 regular season, Timme already totaled more than 1,400 points and 570 rebounds for his stellar Bulldogs career. The 2021 WCC Player of the Year also established himself as one of the game’s best passing big men with more than 190 career assists. 

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.





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