After a (recently removed) post on theslipperstillfits was extremely critical of Robert Sacre and his effort against Cinci, I feel compelled to defend my favorite big man since JP was roaming the low block. I believe that Sacre's play so far this season has been nothing short of sensational. While everyone agrees Bouldin is "The Guy" this season, I think Sacre is by far the most important player when it comes to our chances of going deep in March. IPFW's coach said it best last week: "skilled bigs are hard to come by." A low post banger like Sacre is extremely rare for a mid major and I think Gonzaga's ability to recruit size is what separates them from all other non-bcs teams. With Sacre, we have more skilled size than almost any perennial bcs power as well (don't you think UCLA might want him right now?). To suggest that Sacre would not start for Washington State (as suggested in the removed post) is quite simply delusional. Sacre is the one guy that can win the defense and offense battle against top 5 talent as he proved in the MSU game and Texas scrimmage.
I expect he will prove the doubters wrong again and again over the course of this season and the remainder of his time in blue. Enjoy him while he's still here GU nation, as I predict he will be a NBA 1st rounder when the dust settles. Below is a great Sacre article I dug up written back in ‘06.
"Not since Steve Nash 15 years ago has a graduating high school player from B.C. carried as much potential to play in the NBA as the ultra-athletic and well-centered Sacre, who carries his seven-foot frame with rare grace and beauty."
Sky's the limit
Dec 21st, 2006
There is an old saying about how a person's true character is defined by the way they live their life when no one else is watching, because the universe is always watching.
Rob Sacre's depth of character and once-in-a-generation skills on the basketball court are enough to make one ponder the expanse of the universe. Maybe the sky is Sacre's only limit.
"He is the guy that when he gets an MVP trophy, of which he has won many, will only accept it if his teammates are all around him," says Tom Keast, whose son Quinn was a teammate of Sacre's before being killed in a pedestrian accident last June on his high school graduation night.
Not since Steve Nash 15 years ago has a graduating high school player from B.C. carried as much potential to play in the NBA as the ultra-athletic and well-centered Sacre, who carries his seven-foot frame with rare grace and beauty.
Last year, before his Grade 11 season had even begun, Sacre committed to the NCAA powerhouse Gonzaga Bulldogs, a school that has churned out NBA players in the past few years. He is set to play there next season.
"I really don't focus on Gonzaga," says Sacre, whose father Greg LaFleur was a tight end in the NFL. "It's always in the back of my mind, but I am just focusing on being a good teammate and a better person. And every week, every day I am just trying to make myself a better player."
Tonight, in the Quinn Keast 'No Regrets' Memorial Classic at Capilano College (7:30 p.m.), Sacre's defending B.C. champion Royals will face the Westview Wildcats of Portland, Ore., who feature 7-footer Andy Poling -- Sacre's future teammate at Gonzaga.
How talented is Sacre?
If you ask Lars Hansen, the 6-foot-11 centre who led Coquitlam's Centennial Centaurs to the 1972 B.C. high school title before he starred at the University of Washington and won an NBA title with the 1978-79 Seattle SuperSonics, the answer is clear.
"I don't think he'll get to his junior year (at Gonzaga) before he turns pro, and he'll be one of the top 10 picks in the NBA draft," says Hansen, who has worked with Sacre on his game. "Not only that, when the pro scouts see he is seven feet tall and he is the kind of gentleman that he is, he's the type of fellow that they want in their league."
There it is again. More talk of Sacre's character.
But how else can you speak of a young man who, between Grades 10 and 11, was visiting relatives in Louisiana at the same time Hurricane Katrina rolled through New Orleans. You'd never have heard it from Sacre, but he spent a few days volunteering in the relief efforts.
"When he dunks he looks like he should be playing for the Knicks," says Handsworth head coach Randy Storey. "But as talented as he is, his best talent is a unique way to make the last guy on the team feel just as important. He doesn't play favourites."
With an easy, self-deprecating manner, Sacre says it's his family and friends that have kept him grounded.
"Whenever I feel bad after a game I call my grandpa (Gervis LaFleur), because he is the most confident man you will ever meet. He gives me confidence and so does my mom, my girlfriend, my grandmother and Mr. Storey."
Sacre knows he's under a bit of a microscope in public.
"I can't get in trouble, that's for sure," laughs Sacre, who has been so busy playing basketball and studying that he hasn't had time to get his driver's licence yet. "Everyone knows me. My mom is not known as Leslie Sacre. She's known as Robert's mom and I feel bad for that because she had the name before I did."
Then his thousand-watt smile breaks out and seems to light up the gym.
"I'm happy and I'm just trying to enjoy myself," he says.
Hansen has noticed something about that smile: "It's the same one that all of the winners I played with had. He is truly a jewel. Vancouver is so lucky to have him grow up here so that we can call him our own."
By Howard Tsumura, The Province