Gonzaga senior Andrew Nembhard will declare for the 2022 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Friday.
“Now is my moment,” Nembhard said. “It’s time to let the youngsters take charge of the program. In this draft, I feel like I’m among the best. There aren’t many playmakers in this class who can make an impact on the game in a winning way as I can. I got feedback and did what the NBA told me I needed to do to take the next step. I’m ready.”
ESPN 100 No. 50 prospect Nembhard was named to the All-WCC First Team after averaging 11.8 points, 5.8 assists and 1.6 assists for the Zags, who were the lead 1 NCAA Tournament Series. Nembhard posted career highs in every category this year, including shooting 38% for 3 seconds and 87% from the free throw line.
“At the beginning of my senior year, I did a lot of work in the offseason, improving my body, improving my quickness and speed. At the start of my career, I was considered a guy who couldn’t to play fast. I think I showed another side of me this season. When the opportunity presented itself, I showed that I could make plays and carry my team offensively, including as a goalscorer. I’m super excited to show teams more. How lethal I can be in pick-and-roll situations. Also in isolation situations, I’m growing. My game is improving a lot.”
Nembhard was the driving force behind one of the fastest and most effective offenses in college basketball, tasked with providing a steady hand alongside American frontline players Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren. When needed, he also showed he could be a leading scorer, posting 24 points in a non-conference win over UCLA and leading an NCAA Tournament from behind win over Memphis in the Round of 16, scoring 23 points and making several clutch baskets down. the stretch.
“I’m a winning guy, a real playmaker, so my natural inclination is to get everyone involved. I was always watching the games, Drew usually had lags, and we had to give Chet the ball to get him to play. feel good and step up when we need him I’ve shown that throughout the season when guys get bogged down I can be more assertive offensively, shoot deep, get in the lane and score, and making plays on the rebound between passing and scoring was really good.
At 6-foot-5 and 193 pounds, Nembhard is an excellent size for a point guard and became an increasingly prolific and consistent perimeter shooter as his career progressed, approaching what many NBA teams look in a backup when paired with instinct. and the intelligence he brings defensively. In Gonzaga’s final six games of the season, he played 237 of a potential 240 minutes, being virtually indispensable for what many considered the best team in college basketball.
“I needed to do a lot of ball handling for our team and carry a big load in attack, that’s why sometimes you saw me only guarding the other team’s third-best player. I’ve always been a good defender, and that’s something I’ve always been proud of. I’ve guarded the power forwards in Florida, and also the point guards. That’s what will get me in the field early on. I’m sneakily stronger than a lot of people think. I’m 195 pounds now, almost 200. Where I’ll be really helpful is keeping 1-3 and even a couple 4s in small ball.”
A five-star recruit in high school, Nembhard started his career in Florida but opted to transfer after his sophomore year. He was a big part of the team that lost the national championship to Baylor in 2021, rarely coming off the floor in big Gonzaga games once again.
“When I took this year to transfer, my biggest thing was that I wanted to win games. I did that in high school and at FIBA level. I wanted to be in that winning culture, that’s where I excels.”
Born in Toronto, Nembhard has represented Canada at national team level across all age groups, starting at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, continuing to the FIBA U17 World Cup and FIBA Championship. Americas U18, and even saw rotational minutes at the senior level in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, a team coached by Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors.
After entering the NBA Draft in 2019 and 2020, he cannot remove his name from consideration after declaring for the third time, under league rules, making him ineligible to return to college basketball despite the additional year of eligibility that the NCAA granted to all players in October. 2020.
“In the beginning, I can bring playmaking minutes to a team. A player like Tyus Jones – I can mimic his role, bring high assist to rotation ratio, get guys to open up shots, hit 3s open and understand the game I can see myself in a similar role I can make a team look different off the bench, pick up the pace of transition, get open shots from guys With the way the spacing of the NBA is, that’s only going to help me. Every kid wants to go to the first round – that would be a blessing – but a win for me on draft night would go to a team I can impact. A team in where I can fit in and win games.
The NBA draft will take place May 16-22 in Chicago and the draft will take place June 23 at Barclays Center in New York.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private drafting and analysis service used by the NBA, NCAA and international teams.