I think if you live in the Portland or Spokane area you already know by now but there are two outstanding tournaments going on this week in the Pac-NW. The main reason we are so interested is because our two dream candidates to fill Gonzaga's 2011 recruiting class are in starring roles in each tournament. The marquee event of the region is the Les Schwab Invitational which is being held at Liberty High School in Oregon. Sixteen teams are taking part in the tourney which began the day after Christmas but is really starting to heat up. In this tournament is Beaverton's Jesuit High School, the reigning state champs featuring five-star recruit Kyle Wiltjer.
2011 point guard prospect Gary Bell Jr. is currently in Spokane for the Spokane Holiday Showcase. The eight team tournament is taking place at Spokane Falls Community College and it features a number of local Spokane teams and Bell's Seattle area team as well as a visitor from the North in South Kamloops (Canada). Continue reading for more information on these great Pacific Northwest tournaments...
Wiltjer's Jesuit team opened up the tournament with a victory over Grant High School and yesterday they had their first big test of the tourney and brushed it off like it was nothing. Seattle's Rainier Beach was previously unbeaten on the year but was no match for the Crusaders of Jesuit. Wiltjer, the smooth smoothing 6'9'' post player, has had pretty modest stats thus far on the year but really exploded yesterday for 31 points and 13 rebounds to help lead Jesuit to a 73-53 win. Only a junior, Wiltjer has absolutely exploded on the national landscape and has already received five-star recognition from Rivals.com. He's got Mark Few, Bill Self, Ernie Kent, Johnny Dawkins, and many other division one coaches jockeying to get his signature. During AAU ball over the summer, Kyle impressed scouts with his ability to hit the outside shot but with Jesuit, it is clear that he is a low post scoring machine. He got to the free throw line eight times and did most of his work in the paint. His versatility is obviously something that is very desirable in a power forward prospect.
If you are in the Portland area, here is a look at the Les Schwab bracket. It took me a while to figure it all out but Kyle and the Jesuit Crusaders will be taking on Westchester out of California tonight at 7 PM pacific. I really recommend watching any of the games in this tournament. Oak Hill Academy out of Virginia is one of the best basketball schools in the country and they'll be taking on Westview, a team that defeated Terrance Jones and Jefferson last night.
In Spokane, there is a smaller tournament going on but it features probably the hottest player in the state of Washington right now. The Spokane Holiday Showcase began yesterday and it features Gary Bell Jr. and his Kentridge High School Chargers. While the competition isn't as fierce as what is going on in the Portland area, watching Bell is worth the price of admission. Yesterday, he paced his team to a ten-point victory over Lewis and Clark with a 24 point performance. Gary has been lighting it up all year after having a great AAU summer with Seattle Rotary Select. He's an attacking point guard with great size for only being a junior. He's currently a four-star recruit according to Rivals.com but it is very possible that he'll leap into the five-star realm with a solid high school season. He currently holds offers from Washington, Cal, and Gonzaga but he's hearing from a who's who list of schools. In a recent interview with a Washington he said that Cal and UW were leading right now but hopefully this visit to Spokane grabs his attention. He was in attendance at last night's Gonzaga-EWU game and I expect him to be at the Spokane Arena for the Oklahoma game.
Gary's Kentridge team will be playing tonight at Spokane Falls Community College at 7:30 pacific time. They'll face a tough test as they take on Shadle Park who absolutely torched South Kamloops yesterday. Here is a look at the bracket just to give you a little more background.
As always, if you happen to see one of these guys or have any other info to report on the tourney, please create a fanpost and let us know!