Last year, when Jeremy Pargo decided to declare for the NBA Draft, the entire Gonzaga community was at St. Al's praying that he would return for his senior season. Although the player has changed, the theme remains the same this offseason as Gonzaga fans await the decision of sophomore forward Austin Daye. What I have noticed judging by some of the comments on our blog and from our friends over at the Spokesman Review, there is less urgency regarding the fate of Austin. Since the year ended, I have always been confident that Austin will be returning but now that reports have surfaced on DraftExpress claiming that Austin will more than likely be staying in the draft I have started to embrace the idea, not only for Gonzaga but for Austin. When he arrived in Spokane with the rest of the outstanding 2007 class, most Gonzaga fans pegged the 2008-09 season as the one year in the near future that Gonzaga would have the chance to excel on the big stage. Now that the year has past, you have to wonder whether or not Austin believes he can really improve his draft stock. This is a historically weak draft class and I have no doubt that Austin will shine in his draft workouts. He may struggle from time to time in games but no one can doubt his upside and he should have general managers salivating when he takes to the floor. For Gonzaga, the 2009-10 season will be a time of major change. Yes, players like Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray, and Demetri Goodson will be returning but aside from that the Zags are looking at seven basically brand new players. We've seen bits and pieces of Rob Sacre but have never gotten familiar with his game. Add Andy Poling and Grant Gibbs to the mix along with the largely mysterious incoming freshman class which features five players, two of which (Elias Harris and Bol Kong) we really don't know a whole lot about. Whether Austin decides to leave or stay at Gonzaga is completely up in the air but there is no doubt that the winds of change have arrived in Spokane and you can bet that Austin and Coach Few and the staff realize that. I don't expect a Jim Boeheim scenario where Coach Few basically makes the draft look very appealing to Austin but I would love to be a fly on the wall during those conversations.
I'm not sure if their is an SB Nation curse with our coverage of Gonzaga athletics but since we have begun actively covering Gonzaga baseball, the team has slipped into a three game losing skid culminating yesterday with another heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats. We began blogging on this site right before the Arizona men's basketball game which began the hell month that was December for the Zags. Gonzaga would go on to drop three games following that so hopefully the men's baseball team finds a similar, successful fate. First basemen Ryan Wiegand did his share, hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning and freshman sensation Ernesto Ortiz added three doubles but the Zags could not rally late and were defeated 8-7. They are also coming off their first series loss at the hands of the Portland Pilots. The Bulldogs look to rebound this coming weekend against the Broncos of Santa Clara.
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For some smaller news, we'd like to send well wishes to former Gonzaga prospect Daequon Montreal who recently signed with the Boise State Broncos, ending his long recruitment that I thought would end with the University of South Florida. Montreal seemed to be a very big target on Gonzaga's radar for quite a long time and it seemed to fit quite nicely with him playing right across the border but he will stay within the state of Idaho for the rest of his college career. Montreal was always one of our favorites and is a guy that rebounds as well as he scores. He should impact the Boise Stat roster immediately and play a big role. Daequon shouldn't be the last Idaho junior college player that Gonzaga fans should be expecting to hear from. Guy-Marc Michel from Northern Idaho Junior College is also a big target on Gonzaga's radar. Michel finished up a fine freshman season at NIC.
There hasn't been a whole lot of news at this point on the recruiting cycle for Gonzaga in 2010 but expect that to change shortly. With AAU tournaments kicking into full gear this summer, we will have plenty of updates regarding future Zags. Aaron Bright was on campus a few weeks ago and the young guard from the Western half of the state would be a hell of a get for this team. EDZ's favorite LaBradford Franklin is another intriguing guard who the Zags have a close eye on as well. Both will hit the AAU circuit hard this summer and we should learn a lot about them soon. One player that has reported some significant interest from Gonzaga is California center John McArthur. Here is a recent writeup from Scout.com regarding McArthur ($)
Johnny McArthur, 6-8 JR C Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, is a promising young post prospect and he’s on the recruiting radar for a number of West Coast programs. McArthur is a tough and physical presence inside, as well as being an excellent competitor. He’s been very well-coached at De La Salle and he has a very good feel for the game. His offensive game is still coming, but he’s a solid defender and rebounder at this time.
While I don't particularly find this sort of player attractive for what Gonzaga needs, it is good to see that the staff is looking at the center position to go along with a couple guards that will be needed once Bouldin departs. If McArthur grows he could become a high-major prospect but from all indications I would imagine that the interest from Gonzaga is minimal at this point. The other big program he has been hearing from is Stanford. Other than that it is mostly WCC, Big West, and Ivy League schools that are in his ear.
As long as I'm on my soapbox, it seems right that I pull a Tony Kornheiser and pass along some thoughts about what should be a very intriguing night on American Idol. It's Disco night which means bad news for rocker Allison Iraheta and so-so news for Anoop Desai, Kris Allen, and Matt Giraud. Giraud was given the judges save last week meaning two go home this week. At this point I would be stunned if Lil' Rounds is around for another week but don't be surprised if their is a shocker and Iraheta goes home. I think she'll be okay in the end but it should be the end of the line for Lil' Rounds and Matt Giraud.