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Mark Few: We’re going to be a work in progress

Gonzaga's head coach Mark Few directs his team during the first half of a college basketball game against Syracuse in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 25, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Mark Few doesn’t own a Rubik’s Cube, but he’s about to get his own personal copy.

The longtime head coach of Gonzaga has a top-15 caliber team based on overall talent, but that talent hasn’t spent a great deal of time together in Spokane.

What does that mean for Few?

A season-long crusade of trying to find out which combinations work and which ones don’t.

“We’ve got talented guys, but they haven’t spent a lot of time here,” Few told FanRag Sports on Thursday afternoon. “There’s been a lot of teaching and instructing. We’re showing guys how we do things and we’re going to do that all year. We’re going to be a work in progress.”

The Bulldogs add three potential starters in transfers Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington), Jordan Mathews (Cal), and John Williams (Missouri) while adding a key newcomer in 7-foot freshman Zach Collins. 

None of those players played last season when Gonzaga reached the Sweet 16 and lost to Syracuse.

Josh Perkins and Silas Melson both averaged over 20.0 minutes a year ago and will be counted upon to play major roles as returning guards. The Bulldogs will also welcome back Przemek Karnowski, who played only six games last year due to a back injury.

“There’s definitely good balance,” Few said. “This isn’t the type of team that has a guy like Kevin Pangos or Gary Bell or Kelly Olynyk — guys who you knew were going to play a lot of minutes. It’s hard to separate guys now because everyone is so close together. We lost two guys who are in the NBA right now (Domantas Sabonis, Kyle Wiltjer) and also lost two guys who played major roles last year in Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis.”

Few also pointed out that Williams-Goss was only able to practice “8-10” times last season due to a nagging ankle injury and Mathews didn’t arrive on campus until September since he was a graduate transfer.

Gonzaga’s talent makes it a formidable team, but the Bulldogs are far from a known commodity.

It will be interesting to see how this group handles a strong non-conference schedule which includes home games against San Diego State and Washington, a neutral site tilt against Arizona in Los Angeles on Dec. 3, and three games in the Advocare Invitational over Thanksgiving Weekend.

“We better be ready early,” Few said. “Because we’re going to find out real quick where we stand.”

Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.

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