If you follow us on Twitter (@slipperstillfit...you really should), you already are well aware that today has been an exceptionally busy day in Gonzaga recruiting. While the 'big news' of Przemek Karnowski's college decision has yet to come, there was plenty to keep us entertained today. What we learned is that three of the most well thought of prospects on the west coast in the next couple years either hold Gonzaga offers or have serious interest...or both. Read on for some more about today's trio...
While I was going to lead with the prospect that intrigued me the most, I had a hard time and went back and forth on all three. For that reason, it was literally a random decision so we'll lead off with Namon Wright. Via the wonderful world of Twitter, Namon tweeted that Gonzaga had just offered him. The 6'4'' shooting guard/wing prospect holds offers at this point from the Zags, USC, and New Mexico State. He's a 2014 prospect so his recruitment has barely scratched the surface but he's already picked up solid offers. Wright has been described as an exceptional athlete and someone that is still growing even though he already possesses a division one frame. At this point, he projects as a shooting guard but it is possible that we see him at the next level as a small forward/wing type player due to his above average slashing ability. Like all young high schoolers, Namon is still working on making his jumper more consistent but he is absolutely going to be one to watch as the Zags look to add more athleticism to their roster.
Mark Few secured the first member of this 2013 class a few days ago in Luke Meikle. Another prospect that the staff has been looking hard at recently is Seattle Prep guard D.J. Fenner. Fenner, who transferred back to Seattle after living in Washington D.C. and playing for Gonzaga College High School, is getting from interest from schools such as Georgetown, Washington, and UCLA. He will likely visit Gonzaga however in the near future since he is such a short trip away. Similar to Wright, D.J. Fenner has the prototypical frame that D1 coaches look for when pursuing a small forward/wing type prospect. D.J. is a bit more of a refined scorer than Wright at this point, which you would expect given the class difference and now that he is back on the west coast, many are really expecting his recruitment to skyrocket. One other great thing about Fenner is that he plays for Seattle Rotary's AAU club which is the former team of Gary Bell Jr. On that squad he will take on some of the top talent from across the country.
If you are looking for a name that I would bet you are going to be hearing a lot of on this site in the near future...it is Kendall Small. The 2015 point guard prospect from Huntington Beach was just the subject of a recent Scout.com piece. In that piece was a nice little nugget that is always fun to hear:
There is a school that Kendall Small grew up rooting for.
"He's a Gonzaga fan," his father said. "He wants to go to Gonzaga. He just likes Mark Few's offense and the guards that come out of there are really good."
From all the stuff I have read on Kendall, it sounds like Mark Few and co. may have a leg up for one of the top rising guards in the west. The one big knock is something that you can hardly knock Kendall for at all: he's 5'11''. As a 2015 prospect, this is something most aren't worried about as either he will grown or learn to get the most out of his stature. Each description I have read is that Kendall is a pure, pass-first point guard. As such a young player, this is wildly exciting news as most young guards tend to be gunners and let their athleticism make up for what their basketball IQ lacks. In Small's case, his biggest strength is his feel for the game and ability to drop in dimes. Developing a consistent knock down jumper will be the key for this Southern California prospect.
This is why recruiting is so wildly exciting and this staff is obviously looking at the current scholarship chart and realizing it is time to be aggressive. With Karnowski likely being the only 2012 commit, the staff has a lot of space to play with and adding talented and athletic guards like Fenner, Wright, and Small all make a ton of sense. Also, it is great to see the Zags once again making some waves in California. In 2012, the staff was on the list for a number of top prospects from California and surrounding states but, for a number of reasons, did not land anyone. I have a feeling that the next few cycles will see more prospects from the true west coast comes up to Spokane.