Along with an excellent performance against Baylor, Gonzaga fans received a piece of intriguing news on Friday night, as Louisville transfer Angel Nunez committed on his visit to Spokane. While Gonzaga has had some very strong success with transfers over the past 10 years, Nunez presents a very different option down the road for the Zags.
Nunez is the second transfer from a Big East team to join Gonzaga in the 2013 recruiting class. Gerard Coleman, who will be eligible at the start of next season, established himself as a strong scorer and contributor during his two years at Providence. There is little doubt that Coleman will step in to the starting lineup with Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr to form an impressive trio on the perimeter.
While we have a sense of what Coleman will bring to the court, it is not the same situation with Nunez. The former Louisville Cardinal was highly-regarded coming out of high school and had offers from Arizona, Indiana and UConn. Coming out of high school, he drew some comparisons to former Louisville star Francisco Garcia, who was a first round pick in the 2005 NBA draft. However, Nunez never really had a chance to make an impact for the Cardinals. As a freshman, he played sparingly on a very talented team that advanced to the Final Four. Throughout this season, Nunez has battled an ankle injury and then a severe concussion, which has kept him sidelined and ultimately led to his transfer.
With the lack of production at the college level, some Gonzaga fans may be wondering why the staff took a chance on Nunez. Although he hasn't put it all together at this level, it is hard to pass on a 6'7 wing that can shoot it from the perimeter and is extremely athletic. The best comparison I can make at this point is Micah Downs, who transferred to Gonzaga from Kansas and had a very productive career. This comparison was also made by Tommy Lloyd in a story from Jim Meehan that ran today:
Nunez will probably play the ‘3', but he said he's capable of playing any position except center.
Assistant coach Tommy Lloyd said Nunez has similarities to ex-Zag Micah Downs, who transferred to GU from Kansas. "He's a talented player," Lloyd said. "He's long, skilled and athletic."
The big challenge for the coaching staff will be turning the potential into production. Dave Telep, who is the lead recruiting analyst for ESPN, chimed in on Twitter with the following:
The clear takeaway from this is that Gonzaga has landed an extremely talented prospect that can fill it up on the offensive end. He won't take the court for over a year, as he won't be eligible until the end of the Fall semester next year. This gives him plenty of time to get in the weight room and bulk up, as well as work to grow mentally on and off the court. If Nunez can figure everything out and become a Micah Downs type contributor, the SF position immediately goes from a question mark, to a position of extreme depth. It's hard to not get excited when you think about Gerard Coleman slashing from the perimeter and Angel Nunez spreading out the defense from the perimeter.