20. Gonzaga (Washington)
Last year: 29-5, Alhambra Catholic Invitational champion
Coach: Steve Turner
Top players: G Tyler Thornton (6-2, Sr.); G Cedrick Lindsay (6-1, Sr.); F Malcolm Lemmons (6-4, Sr.); F Kris Jenkins (6-6, Fr.); G Nate Britt (5-11, Fr.); C Oliver Ellison (6-8, Jr.)
Top games: Dec. 10-12 at Gonzaga D.C. Classic; Dec. 16-23 at Iolani Classic (Honolulu); Jan. 2 vs. No. 24 Rice (N.Y.) at Cancer Research Classic (Wheeling, W.Va.); Jan. 16 vs. No. 16 Winter Park (Fla.) at HoopHall Classic (Springfield, Mass.); Jan. 29 vs. No. 11 DeMatha (Md.); Feb. 22 at No. 11 DeMatha (Md.)
Notable: The Eagles have three Division I-committed starters back from a team that went 10-5 against teams that were nationally or regionally ranked last season. The team’s strength will be its backcourt where Thornton (Duke) returns after averaging 14 points and six assists. Lindsay (Richmond) and Lemmons (Robert Morris) are also Division I recruits. Gonzaga’s ultimate success might hinge on the development of talented freshmen Jenkins and Britt, and if Ellison can become a productive inside force.
Quotable: “We will be able to play as many as 10 different guys a night, and I feel that our defense will continue to be a strength.” – Turner, who has led Gonzaga to 63 wins and back-to-back Alhambra titles the last two seasons.