Mark Few rounded out Gonzaga’s edges in the transfer portal

'The best thing I think we did during this offseason was we added pieces that bring different aspects to the program that we don’t have,' Few said
Photo by Erik Smith, Myk Crawford

In the ever-changing landscape of college basketball, the Gonzaga Bulldogs have demonstrated a model of unrivaled consistency in the NCAA Tournament. No other program in the country has been to the last nine Sweet 16s.

But that doesn’t mean Mark Few does things the same way, over and over again. Rather, the Zags’ run this past quarter-century stems from their ability to adapt to their surroundings, both on and off the court. 

“The best thing about Gonzaga, and it always has been, I think we adapt and we’re open to growth,” Few said during media availability Tuesday. “We’re open to things and we’ve navigated our way through all this other [change in college athletics] the last 25-30 years.”

As such, Few and the coaching staff approached the 2024 offseason with an open mind. Instead of finding players in the portal who would potentially overshadow someone else’s role, the main priority was bringing in players with different skill sets that could complement the current roster makeup. Even with seven of the team’s top eight scorers back, Few managed to bring in some impactful transfers who fit specific needs.

Pepperdine transfer and All-WCC wing Michael Ajayi adds size, versatility and outside shooting at 6-foot-7. The Kent, Washington, native opted to play out his final year of college eligibility after testing the NBA Draft waters. Ajayi averaged 17.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game with the Waves last season.

“He was able to get some great feedback, he was able to get some great experience going to the combine and also getting in a bunch of workouts,” Few said of Ajayi. “Now he’s back here and he’s got a couple practices under his belt and is doing great.”

Arkansas grad transfer Khalif Battle brings some scoring pop with him to Spokane after averaging 29.6 points in his final seven games this past season. The 6-foot-5 guard excels at creating foul pressure, as he attempted the second-most free throws in the SEC last season with 213 (for reference, Graham Ike led the Zags with 134 free-throw attempts). 

“Khalif’s gonna help us a bunch,” Few said. “His ability to get fouled is at the highest level I think in college basketball. If you look at that 10-12 game stretch he had in the SEC, I mean he was averaging 29 points a game. Just to have that kind of guy, that, he’s a different kind of body that maybe we have on the wing. So I think he’ll bring all of that.” 

Rounding out the backcourt is Tarleton State transfer Emmanuel Innocenti, a 6-foot-5 Italian who was WAC All-Defense and WAC All-Freshman. Innocenti’s length and athleticism allow him to guard multiple positions effectively, a valuable skillset in a more position-less era of basketball. 

“The best thing I think we did during this offseason was we added pieces that bring different aspects to the program that we don’t have,” Few said.

Those new pieces have the Bulldogs looking like a preseason top-10 team on paper heading into the thick of summer. Things around the sport will change by the time fall rolls around, though with all 13 scholarships filled after Diagne’s commitment, Gonzaga will likely going to be among the favorites to cut down the nets in 2025 heading into the new season.


Produced by Thomas Gallagher.


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Cole Forsman


Cole Forsman is a reporter for Gonzaga Nation, a member of Sports Illustrated’s FanNation network. Cole holds a degree in Journalism and Sports Management from Gonzaga University.