WCC Preseason Power Rankings: No. 9, Eric McClellan

Height: 6–4
Weight: 196 pounds
Year: Redshirt Senior
2014–15 stats: 8.1 minutes, 1.9 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 33% FG, 38% 3FG

Disregard last season’s stats for a minute, because Eric McClellan has already shown that he can be counted as one of the best all-around guards in DI. (See: stats with Vanderbilt in 2013–14).

Last season, McClellan made his mark on arguably the best Gonzaga team to date because of his defense. His commitment to keeping Gonzaga’s offense humming. Yes, he posted seven points in nine minutes in a conference game against BYU, but it was those first two qualities that allowed him to crack GU’s rotation, which teemed with talent last term, despite only becoming eligible midway through the season—and then missing a few more games to injury.

So, in the 12 minutes McClellan played against Iowa, in the NCAA tournament Round of 32, he combined that great D with assists and rebounds. Same went for the resounding Sweet 16 win over UCLA. In his final six games of ‘14–15, McClellan chipped in six assists, a modest sum, but augmented by the fact that he produced zero turnovers.

In this way, McClellan is one of the poster boys for why Gonzaga enjoys a current standing as the preeminent program for incoming transfers. McClellan was kicked off the team at Vandy, but he has done everything right at GU. When the Zags clinched their berth to last year’s NCAA tournament, with a win over BYU in the conference tournament championship, no one had a wider grin in the post-game locker room than McClellan.

Now, with GU’s starting backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell, Jr. graduated, McClellan will be called upon to reproduce his famed production. But he’ll also need to marshal Josh Perkins and Silas Melson, young guards who are the future of this program.

Should he succeed in those tasks, McClellan stands to have a sensational senior season in Spokane.