Drew Timme could have gone to the NBA, after leading Gonzaga to last season's national championship game. He would likely have been drafted, and had a solid career.
Timme wanted more. Timme wanted more. Not only did he get the chance to win a championship, but he also got to work with Mark Few for one more season.
Timme was also unanimously selected by a 63-member media panel for The Associated Press' preseason All-America team. This was released Monday. He was joined by Kofi Cockburn from Illinois, Johnny Juzang from UCLA, Collin Gillespie, Villanova's point guard Collin Gillespie, and Trayce Jackson Davis, an Indiana forward.
"I love it there. It's a wonderful place. Timme stated that it's the place he wants to be. "When I do something I feel like it's my duty to make the best of myself. I realized that there were some areas I had to improve on to achieve that. Coach pushes me daily, we had some discussions and I felt that it was the best decision for me, the most logical, especially after talking with coach and my family.
Timme went from being a freshman backup to becoming one of the best big men in America last season. He was second-team All-America. He was a key member of Gonzaga's NCAA title return, scoring 19 points per game and 7.0 rebounds. This helped create matchup problems for almost every team the Zags faced.
He is 6-foot-10 and can shoot from the perimeter or post up smaller players. He is a skilled passer and can do excellent footwork. This attribute helped him be projected to play in the second round.
Timme's return was key to Gonzaga being voted the No. Despite losing many key players, Gonzaga was ranked No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25.
Timme stated, "I think what will make us unique is how quickly we can learn and put together such an innovative group." "I don’t believe there’s been a group who has been through GU so young and suffered so much."
Cockburn had to make a similar decision after being weighed by the NBA for the second consecutive year. Cockburn, a 7-foot center, averaged 17.7 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per contest as a sophomore to earn a spot on the AP All-America second-team.
He was expected to be selected in the second or third round of the NBA draft. However, he returned to Illinois to continue his legacy.
Cockburn stated, "It would be a difficult decision to decide between playing in the NBA and leaving my freshman year." "Now, this feels like it's definitely more valuable. Just having a legacy, having a place to call your own, and being remembered forever.
After UCLA's unexpected run to the Final Four last year, Juzang's stock went up.
This 6-foot-6 guard was a breakout star in March Madness. He shot 51% and averaged 22.8 points per game. His total of 137 points was the second-highest NCAA tournament score in UCLA history.
He said, "I'm just trying get better across all the board." "Keep improving as a leader, and in all aspects of the game."
Gillispie was honored at Villanova's senior night. He seemed on his way to a successful professional career, even though he sustained a devastating knee injury during the Big East tournament. After missing the NCAA tournament, Gillispie was cleared to train in August.
Jay Wright, Villanova coach, said that he felt almost like a freshman and was eager to return.
Jackson-Davis was Indiana's top player for the past two seasons. He led the Hoosiers scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. The 6-9 junior had considered a move to the NBA but decided to stay in Indiana to improve his game and hopefully lead the Hoosiers into the NCAA tournament for first time since 2016.
Jackson-Davis stated, "My freshman year, I didn't get a say in any," "I kind of just kept my mouth shut. Last year, I did it better. However, I was more vocal in the locker room. I feel like I'm making the full commitment to this year to try and lead our team, particularly the younger ones.