Gonzaga's recruitment of the West Coast in recent years has been pretty hit and miss. Obviously, they scored big in 2007 when they got Austin Daye out of Irvine, California and Steven Gray out of the Seattle area but since then they have not had a whole lot of success. Andy Poling was the third high profile recruit from the West Coast to join Gonzaga and now, as we look towards 2011, two players stand out and both hail from out West. One is Gary Bell Jr., who has had a remarkably quiet recruitment considering how impressive he was during the summer months in AAU ball. Gary recently gave UDubSports.com (Washington's Rivals.com page) an interview about his recruitment. Obviously, this question jumped right off the page:
UDUBsports -- What colleges are your favorites?
Gary Bell -- My favorites are definitely Cal and UW not in any order.
It's honestly not stunning that these two schools are his early favorites. Both are projected to be the top two teams in the Pac-10, both offered him very early in his recruitment, and both coaches are outstanding recruiters. With Mike Montgomery at Cal, there really appears to be a power shift going on in the Pac-10 because he is recruiting and developing kids in that program with ease. In fact, the other 2011 prospect from out west, Kyle Wiltjer, visited Cal this past weekend and attended the USC-Cal game. It appears that Monty and Mark Few are on similar wavelengths as far as who they want in 2011. As far as Washington is concerned, it's an obvious choice because it is his home school and that entire athletic program is really coming together with football on the rise and basketball as a probable top-15 team.
This by no means eliminates Gonzaga from the mix for Bell Jr's services, it just means that Mark Few and the staff will have to put in a few more hours to get this kid. I'll expect a coach at most of Gary's games wearing Gonzaga attire. There are some other guard prospects to watch in 2011, most notably Nick Johnson and Alex Draginis. Johnson will probably wind up in the Pac-10 but Draginis could be a legit option. 2012 also has some good guards in there with guys like Kevin Pangos and Anrio Adams