Gonzaga clocks in at No. 1 in Andy Katz’s first Power 36 for the 2020-2021 college basketball season, and they probably wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for the return of their star combo-guard Corey Kispert. 

After considering the idea of entering the 2020 NBA Draft, Kispert decided to return to Spokane for his senior season. He will be returning with teammate Joel Ayayi, a junior who also tested the NBA Draft waters. 

“I think it’s going to be one of the most fun teams you’ve seen to watch in a long time,” Kispert told Andy Katz on the latest episode of March Madness 365. “We have really talented guards up front. Good leadership in me and Joel … him coming back for his junior year.” 

Kispert’s interview begins at about the 14:40 mark. Ohio State’s Seth Towns and Alabama State head coach Mo Williams are also on this episode of the podcast. 

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Outside of Kispert and Ayayi, the Zags bring in five-star recruit Jalen Suggs to beef up their backcourt and bring back big man Drew Timme. Kispert said this will free him up to be an extension of coach Mark Few on the court.

“I think you’re gonna see a much more vocal and outspoken leader,” Kispert said of what to expect out of his senior year. “[I’m] known as a catch-and-shoot guy but I plan to put it on the deck a lot more and making plays on the bounce to complement my shooting.”

The 6’7″ guard/forward ranks as Andy Katz’s sixth most important NBA Draft withdrawal of this season and the 11th-best returning player. Kispert averaged 13.9 points per game, shooting 47% from the field with a 44% clip from beyond the arc his junior year, something he’ll look to improve on this season — of course assuming this season will happen.

As Kispert’s 2020-2021 senior year approaches, the COVID-19 pandemic that cut his 2019-2020 season short still rampages on. Despite concerns on whether or not fall sports will start on time, Mark Few, Kispert and company are confident fans will be able to watch college basketball in the coming months. 

“He’s [coach Few]explained to us very clearly that there will be a season coming this year and we all feel very confident in that,” Kispert told Katz. “Depending on when it is, who knows, but we’re all working as if we’re playing on November 10 and finishing up on April 5.”

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Summer workouts have been different for Kispert and Gonzaga in the era of coronavirus, but he said there has been some semblance of normality for the Bulldogs.

“It’s different,” Kispert said. “But it’s kind of been business as usual apart from everybody wearing a mask and gloves, but thankfully we’ve been inching forward to kind of more game-like situations. Gonzaga has done a great job at keeping us safe making sure we’re staying healthy but we’re doing everything we can.”

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