Gonzaga expected to ink major 2011 class on Wednesday

Gary Bell Jr. headlines a very strong 2011 recruiting class for Mark Few.

What an exciting week for Gonzaga basketball.  Not only is the official start of the 2010-11 season right around the corner, but the Zags are also expected to sign four members of their 2011 class on Wednesday when the early signing period begins.  Mark Few has been building momentum with this class since nearly a year ago when he snagged the verbal commitment of Kyle Dranginis, an under the radar guard from Idaho.  Few and the staff continued their momentum all the way through last month when they seemingly capped off the class with Kevin Pangos, a pure point guard with big expectations from Canada.

While Gonzaga's class is loaded with talent, the guy that has created the most buzz is Gary Bell Jr.  Bell, aside from being an elite guard prospect with numerous BCS offers, chose Gonzaga over a number of Pac-10 suitors.  This description of Bell from the Best in the West selections really sums up his game nicely:

There are not many players anywhere on the prep scene who play with his same level of intensity on a consistent basis. He is the epitome of a "slasher" who always seems to create an off-the-dribble angle on a defender yet he is just as capable of pulling up from mid- to deep-range for a spot-on jump shot. He also is a very willing defender.

Gary's versatility as a guard is something that I don't think Gonzaga has seen in quite some time.  He does a little bit of everything and does it well.  I couldn't be more excited to see him lace it up for the Zags next season and expect him to be a big time contributor.

for more on the rest of the 2011 class, keep reading after the jump....

Over the past few months, I have been learning more and more about Idaho guard Kyle Dranginis.  When he first committed to Gonzaga, there were a number of fans that were unsure about the 6'5'' combo guard.  Personally, worries of his competition level and athletic ability really jumped out at me.  Reading more about him over the summer, however, it is remarkably clear why Mark Few jumped on Dranginis right away and got his early commitment.  A tall and lanky guard, Kyle has the ability to play a number of positions.  Like many stars in high school, he primarily runs the point for Skyview High School in Nampa, ID but he has the frame to play small forward in college.  While he does lack some ideal athleticism and weight, he more than makes up for it with his ability to create on offense and has outstanding basketball savvy.  Depending on his progress as a high school senior and over the summer, Kyle could be an instant contributor.  A redshirt season, however, may be ideal considering Gonzaga's current guard situation and it would give him a great opportunity to practice against athletic guards every day and work on his strength and quickness.

While the theme of Gonzaga's 2011 class will undoubtedly be outstanding guards; a player that could mean just as much as Oklahoma power forward Ryan Spangler.  A star prep quarterback, Ryan recently decided that he would play basketball at the next level.  That news sat just fine with Mark Few and the staff as they were scanning the country for a power forward to add to the 2011 class.  Ryan averaged 26 points and 18 boards as a junior in high school and is described as someone who consistently outworks the competition.  It is still somewhat of a mystery how Ryan's game will translate to the next level.  If I had to guess, I would expect that Mark Few is just fine with playing him as an undersized power forward that can slide out to the wing.  As a rebounding machine, Ryan will fit in nicely as the Zags will likely lose Elias Harris to the NBA after this season and Robert Sacre will graduate the year after that.  Expect 2012 to be the year where Mark Few reloads the frontcourt, but for now, Ryan is a tremendous addition.

Last but certainly not least is Kevin Pangos.  Pangos, like Gary Bell Jr., is a name Max and I have heard for the past two-three years.  When Pangos committed, there was a sense that Gonzaga had just locked in a backcourt that could build the foundation of a championship team.  The unquestioned leader on every team he has been a part of, Kevin has been described as one of the most pure point guards playing in his age group right now.  As a Canadian point guard, he has drawn comparisons to Steve Nash.  While it is nearly impossible to make that comparison at this juncture, it sure is very exciting!  Kevin isn't all hype.  Over the summer, he starred for the Canadian team at the FIBA U-17 games, averaging 15 points a game and winning the tournament's "Top Point Guard" award.  At 6'1'', Kevin is a bit undersized but seemingly makes up for this with the ability to create shots and hit the three-ball.  Along with Gary Bell, I'd look for Pangos to make an impact as early as next season depending on how Gonzaga's current point guard situation plays out.  With Demetri Goodson and Marquise Carter both graduating after the 2011-12 season, it is likely that Kevin will be the Zags' starting point guard as a sophomore.  

Gonzaga also adds local product Chris Sarbaugh in the 2011 class.  Sarbaugh will receive a tuition waiver as his father was a professor at GU.  He won't affect the scholarship situation but we are told that Chris is a very talented player in his own right. 

Mark Few has racked up some outstanding classes in recent history.  The 2007 & 2009 classes were things of beauty.  This class, however, and the outstanding guards that are assembled, could stack up with Few's best when all is said and done.  We look forward to Gary, Kyle, Ryan, Kevin, and Chris all officially becoming Zags this week!

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