Andrew Nembhard watches younger brother Ryan post double-double in Gonzaga's win over Pacific

Feb. 17—Andrew Nembhard played in a lot of games at the Kennel in his two seasons at Gonzaga, but Saturday was his first time as a spectator.

The former GU standout point guard was back in town to get a close-up view of one of his favorite players, younger brother Ryan.

"I never got to watch a game from the Kennel, so it's kind of cool sitting in the stands," said Andrew, the second-year guard with the Indiana Pacers who has a short break during the NBA's All-Star weekend. "He's one of my most favorite players to watch. He's got an exciting game, super creative and he has good instincts out there. I just like watching him."

Ryan put on a pretty good show with 18 points and 10 assists, leading the Zags to a 102-76 victory over Pacific. Nembhard has averaged nine assists in GU's last four games and he's had two straight double-doubles.

"It was just cool to have him in town," Ryan said. "Definitely cool to play well and cool for us to get a dub (win)."

Andrew was hoping to have a couple days visiting Ryan, former teammates Anton Watson, Ben Gregg and Nolan Hickman and Gonzaga coaches, but a delayed flight left him with essentially one day.

"I got some time with him this afternoon," Zags coach Mark Few said. "He's just such a great guy, great Zag, just an awesome family. It's always great when those guys come back."

The Nembhard brothers text or FaceTime several times a week. They try to catch the other's games when it fits into their busy schedules.

"I'll catch (GU games) here and there, and I'll give him a couple pointers, but he knows how to hoop," said Andrew, who played in the Rising Stars event during All-Star weekend last year in his rookie season. "Sometimes he's telling me stuff, too. We kind of go back and forth."

That's not the only place they've gone back and forth. The two were on the same team, coached by dad Claude, when Andrew was in seventh grade and Ryan was in fourth.

"A little bit (of butting heads)," Andrew said, "but we were just both competitive and trying to win and trying to have the ball."

Andrew kept his distance when Ryan entered the transfer portal after playing two seasons at Creighton.

"I kind of wanted him to make that decision for himself," Andrew said. "I thought this place was a good fit for him, but I didn't do too much to try to sway him."

Andrew is averaging 9.0 points, 4.6 assists, 0.9 steals and shooting 34.4% on 3-pointers, very close to his rookie averages of 9.5 points, 4.5 assists, 0.9 steals and 35% from 3.

He moved back into the starting lineup most of the last eight weeks and his numbers are trending upward. He's scored in double figures in 12 of the last 17 games, one of those when he made a 6-second appearance. He had at least three assists in 16 of those games, including a three-game stretch with 25 assists.

The Pacers are 31-25, sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. They're in solid position to make the franchise's first playoff appearance since 2020.

"It's a fun time in the city of Indy," he said. "I think the whole fan base is excited about it and we're all excited about it."

Nembhard is thrilled to see his younger brother thriving at Gonzaga. Ryan is averaging 12.5 points and a West Coast Conference-leading 6.3 assists.

"He loves it here," Andrew said. "It's an easy place to like. He definitely enjoys all his teammates, loves the coaching staff. He knew a bunch of people here before so it's an easier fit for him."