Gonzaga star Drew Timme announced Wednesday he was withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to the Bulldogs for another season, solidifying coach Mark Few and the Zags as national championship contenders.
Timme, a two-time All-American, initially entered the draft in early April but took his final decision on whether to stay in the draft or return to college until close to Wednesday’s 11:59 p.m. ET early-entry withdrawal deadline.
With 45 minutes before the deadline, Timme tweeted out a simple announcement: “I’m back.”
A 6-foot-10 power forward from Richardson, Texas, Timme has been one of the most productive players in the country over the past two seasons. Last season, he averaged 18.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists, shooting 58.6% from the field. As a sophomore in 2020-21, Timme put up 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, shooting 65.5% from the field.
Strawther, Bolton staying at Gonzaga next season
He earned second-team All-American honors in each of the past two seasons, winning West Coast Conference player of the year honors last season.
During Timme’s three seasons in Spokane, Washington, Gonzaga is 90-7, going to the national championship game in 2021 and receiving a 1-seed in both NCAA tournament appearances.
The Zags are the big winners of deadline day. Entering Tuesday, there was a legitimate chance they would bring back zero starters from last season, with Chet Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard both already gone. But over the previous 32 hours, three Gonzaga starters announced their returns. Rasir Bolton was the first on Tuesday night, while Julian Strawther made his announcement on Wednesday afternoon.
With Timme back in the fold, Gonzaga has a strong case for the preseason No. 1 spot. Along with three returning starters, Few is bringing back former five-star recruits Nolan Hickman and Hunter Sallis, who played reserve roles in the backcourt last season. Key backup forward Anton Watson also is returning to Spokane. LSU transfer Efton Reid, another former five-star recruit, was signed earlier this spring as insurance in case Timme opted to leave.
The Bulldogs remain in the mix for Chattanooga transfer Malachi Smith, the Southern Conference player of the year.
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