Weight: 240 pounds
2014–15 stats: 38 games (one start), 21.6 minutes, 9.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 67% FG.
Domantas Sabonis isn’t too big on press conferences. He’s too humble to hype himself up, and, as Gonzaga coach Mark Few put it a few times last season, he’s a bit shy.
But that side of him disappears the moment he steps onto the court. The crowds that attend Gonzaga never faze him. As Sabonis walked toward the GU locker room, in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, following a win over Pepperdine in the WCC tournament semis, I asked Sabonis about the size of the crowd that night, which was listed at 8,585. (When GU would face Duke in the Elite Eight, more than 20,000 were on hand.)
Was the freshman fazed? Not really. Sabonis noted that when he’d played with Unicaja Malaga, the professional Spanish team he featured for before Gonzaga (Sabonis didn’t draw a contract to maintain his collegiate eligibility), he frequently played before crowds of 15,000.
He has emerged as one of the premier low-post prospects in the country thanks to his tremendous footwork and ravenous desire to mix it up in the post. (Sometimes, a bit too much so, as attested by his team-high 104 fouls last season.)
Defenses will want to key on him this season, but will they be able to? Slide a double team Domas’s way, and there’s Kyle Wiltjer and Przemek Karnowski to worry about. You know, national all-americans.
That means that Sabonis could make a decided jump statistically. He’ll certainly have opponents worrying when they face GU this season.