I have spent three years at Gonzaga now, in my first two years, seven players left the program, now as the third year closes out more are set to leave.
Gonzaga announced officially Wednesday that Ryan Spangler, a freshman from Oklahoma, had been granted release papers to transfer to a school closer to home. The 6’8” post player was a great freshman bench contributor to the squad this year and will be a great boost for any program he chooses.
Freshman Ryan Spangler is set to transfer from Gonzaga
According to Spokane’s CBS affiliate KREM2 News, who spoke with Spangler’s father, five schools were given his transfer papers: Oklahoma (the front runner), Tulsa, Oral Roberts, Kansas State, and Arkansas. It is rumored that Kansas is also inquiring about the soon-to-be sophomore as well.
It is understandable for a kid to go far from home and realize he would much rather play closer to his family and spend more time with them, and that it is not an easy choice to go away to school, or even transfer. However, with eight official transfers, and the likelihood of at least two more Zags leaving the program (Mathis Keita and Mathis Mönninghoff) this year, a lot of questions about what goes on behind closed doors are raised.
In an elite program like Gonzaga, players will come and go for various reasons, in particular playing time, but if Keita and Mönninghoff leave, that will be ten players in three seasons gone. It just doesn’t seem right. It is possible that multiple life circumstances led the athletes to leave GU to better their career or be closer to family, but the fact of the matter is something is not the same.
The end of the Bulldog’s streak of regular season titles occurred this season, and a major story on UCLA’s basketball team and their fall from a perennial power position ran in Sports Illustrated this year. Could it be that Gonzaga is the next UCLA? Could the second most dominant school in conference regular season championships in all of college basketball follow suit of the university with the most titles?
It is only speculation, but the reality is things can’t be perfect in the locker room if a full teams worth of guys, in less than one recruiting cycle, choose to vacate a program. This just may be the beginning of the end for Gonzaga men’s basketball—let’s hope not.