Corey Kispert, Forward, Gonzaga
Weight: 220 lbs
Corey Kispert isn’t exactly a household name going into the 2020 NCAA College Basketball season, but he’s certainly a guy you should keep an eye on. If you live on the East Coast, it’s difficult to stay up past midnight to watch Gonzaga take on the lesser-known WCC teams, but they consistently fly under the radar. Sure, they tend to disappoint in the tournament more often than not, but under the leadership of Mark Few, the Zags produce consistent basketball players with well-rounded skillsets and solid leadership capabilities. There’s nothing flashy about Kispert, but he gets the job done every time he’s on the court.
Kispert attended King’s High School in Washington and hails from the city of Edmonds. He was a four-star recruit who averaged 24 points and seven rebounds, as well as two steals in his junior year of high school. He also excelled in his academics, recording a 3.96 GPA in high school. In his freshman year for the Zags, Kispert started seven out of 35 games and averaged about seven points off the bench. He saw an uptick in playing time during his sophomore campaign, starting 36 games and averaging eight points per game in about 26 minutes. He led Gonzaga starters with an 87.5% free-throw percentage and was second on the team in three-pointers made.
Kispert made large strides in his junior year, averaging 14 points per game to go along with four boards and two assists. He was named to the WCC First Team as well as the Academic All-WCC Team. Kispet was also a finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. He shot a career-high 44 percent from three-point territory as well. Kispert did not sign with an agent in the offseason, instead making the decision to return to Gonzaga for his senior season. But what kind of abilities does Kispert possess? What sets him apart from everyone else?
Kispert has a quick release on his jumper. His three-point percentage has increased every year as he finds ways to get open and pop the jumper. Even when contested, he remains calm and is able to get the shot off without feeling pressured. He’s versatile with his ability to drive to the hoop as well. He’s pretty large for a small forward at 6’7”, 220 lbs so he has that ability to take defenders to the rim with him while still being a reliable shooter from beyond the arc.
His mid-range jumper has always been reliable as well, as he combined for a 47.4% field goal percentage. Kispert is great at the role that he plays. He’s probably not a guy that you’re gonna get 20 points per game out of or a guy that sees the court for 30 minutes a game in the pros, but as a guy who comes off the bench, you can’t really ask for much more.
While limited by his athleticism, Kispert is able to stick with the players that he guards. His defensive game doesn’t set the world on fire, but again, he’s consistent in his role and no part of his game makes him a liability. His steals and blocks per game could definitely see improvement, and I think that will be a bigger focus of his game this year as he looks ahead to the NBA Draft. Kispert also needs to improve when it comes to rebounding. Four per game for a guy his size is a bit underwhelming. If you look at the stat sheet, his game seems one-sided because of it. He’s definitely a second-round kind of guy, depending on the improvements that he shows this year, but whoever picks up this kid is getting an intelligent leader who succeeds in almost every aspect of the game.
The very first person who crossed my mind when I turned on Kispert’s tape was former Oregon Duck, Dillon Brooks. Both players are sharpshooters who average just under 15 points per game in college while lacking in other statistical categories. Kispert has statistically been a better three-point shooter in college than Brooks, while Brooks is more effective than Kispert in takeaways. Brooks has carved out a nice role for himself on the Memphis Grizzlies, and if Kispert can make some tweaks to his defensive game and rebounding, he could find himself in a similar role in the future.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images