Kyle Wiltjer and Gary Bell Jr. in 2011

Kyle Wiltjer (left) and Gary Bell Jr. should be the answer for the class of 2011.

It really, really should be this simple. 

Gonzaga is in a peculiar situation as far as scholarships are concerned because in the next two years, they will more than likely only have three available scholarships unless someone transfers or blows up and goes to the NBA early.  Seeing as how either of those are unlikely since Gonzaga rarely has transfers and rarely sends kids early to the NBA, Mark Few and the coaching staff are going to have to be VERY careful about how they use the available spots.

With that being said, two sports are free for the 2010 class with Bouldin and Foster graduating and one spot is open in 2011 with Steven Gray being the only one to leave.  The 2010 class is rather slim as far as "need" recruits are concerned.  Guys like Joe Harris, Alex Kirk, LaBradford Franklin are options for 2010 but there are only two guys in 2010 that Gonzaga should consider.  One of them is by default and that is Guy Marc-Michel and the other is California (via Cameroon) big man Yannick Atanga who would be a great fit.  

One of those two would be my choice for 2010 and one scholarship should be saved for 2011 so Gonzaga can go after Gary Bell Jr. and Kyle Wiltjer.

With that being said, it is going to be difficult to snag these two but the reward is well worth the risk.

continue reading after the poll....

Kyle Wiltjer and Gary Bell Jr. are both elite recruits that compete against the best competition in the nation.  Both are at this years 2009 Peach Jam which features 24 of the best AAU teams in the nation and basically every big name recruit out there.  Both Bell Jr. and especially Wiltjer have made a great impression on those in attendance and have solidified themselves as being truly elite. 

Here are some of the things that have been mentioned regarding Wiltjer:

Coaches were salivating over his skill set and ability to stroke it. Perhaps the most impressive play of the day was when he came off a staggered screen and buried a 23-footer during an Oakland Soldiers run.

Wiltjer, first of all, is a no-brainer elite recruit. He had 26 points and seven boards, scoring by hitting three-pointers and also using some nice moves in the post.

He has been ranked 33rd by Rivals early in the 2011 recruiting cycle and it is pretty clear that he will only go up from here.  He has been compared to guys like Mike Dunleavy Jr. and former Cal Golden Bear Ryan Andersen.  What this means is that he possesses tremendous size but feels most confident on the perimeter.  He fits the bill tremendously for Gonzaga which really maximizes the abilities of versatile players. 

Gary Bell Jr. is also the kind of player that Gonzaga will need in 2011.  Matt Bouldin graduates after this year and Steven Gray is gone in two years.  While Demetri Goodson, Grant Gibbs, Manny Arop, and GJ Vilarino will still be available, Gary will be there right away when they graduate and is the type of player that can play both the point guard and shooting guard if needed.  We've done quite a bit of work thus far covering Gary Bell Jr.  EDZ went and saw Gary live and in person at the Gonzaga team camp and we recently interviewed Gary's high school coach from Kentridge.

Here is what Eric Bossi had to say regarding Gary at the Nike Peach Jam:

Gary Bell - Really liked what this young, class of 2011, point guard for Seattle Rotary Select had to offer. At about 6-foot-1, he’s a sticky on the ball defender and a guy who can attack off the bounce and score. Draws fouls, plays hard and bangs home some jumpers.

He fits a need at the position and has plenty to be desired.  Gonzaga fans know that perimeter defense has plagued this team in years past.  Can you imagine guys like Mangisto Arop and Gary Bell Jr. patrolling the perimeter and being shut down type guys.  It's a no-brainer.

The best part about these two players is that they are sitting right in Gonzaga's backyard of the Pacific Northwest and have expressed serious interest in the program.  Both have camped at Gonzaga.  Gary at the team camp and Kyle at the elite camp.  Gary has been given the tour of the school as has Kyle and both have received offers from Mark Few. 

What is concerning is that they will both be major-elite players once the July evaluation period is over meaning that the entire Pac-10 will be after them as well as other elite programs.  It has already been reported that Kansas is seriously courting Wiltjer and Arizona is doing some major evaluating of Gary.  Gonzaga has the advantage though because of location, it's not like these kids are playing in Arizona or somewhere in the Midwest; they are about an hour plane flight away. 

All these factors mean that they are Gonzaga's to lose at this point.

Let's make it happen, Coach Few.

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