WCC Preseason Power Rankings: No. 11, Kyle Dranginis, Gonzaga

Photo courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics

Height: 6–5
Weight: 203 pounds
Year: Redshirt Senior
2014–15 stats: 17.2 minutes, 4.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 47% FG, 15 blocks, 21 steals
Key quote: “If you follow our team, there have been stretches where Kyle has changed how the game has been going.” ~Gonzaga coach Mark Few, after last season’s WCC championship game

There were few players in America who packed more punch into the minutes they played last season than Kyle Dranginis, who emerged as the ultimate problem solver off the bench for a Gonzaga team that finished 35–3, with a trip to the Elite Eight.

At no point was that quality more evident than the WCC championship game against BYU, when Dranginis played 16 second-half minutes, in the place of Gary Bell, Jr., who was suffering from cramps. This meant defending two of the best guards on the West Coast, in BYU’s Tyler Haws and Chase Fischer. Dranginis dutifully stayed at the hip of each, as they tried to run him ragged off screens. He even blocked a shot off each of them. And these were jump shots.

It speaks to why Few could describe Dranginis as, among other things, a “Swiss Army knife, problem solver, gap-puncher, timely shooter, and being really good on the glass.

“I don’t really know what my role is — I just try to make plays happen,” is what Dranginis said after that WCC championship game. He was sitting next to Eric McClellan in a corner of the GU locker room, a commemorative championship cap on his head. Both those guards will see increased roles for Gonzaga this season, which bid adieu to Kevin Pangos and Bell, its starting backcourt for the past four seasons. It might be most fascinating to see what Dranginis will do with an uptick in minutes.