Gonzaga coaches are back on the road during the second July evaluation period and are literally across the country. With major prospects in Augusta, Georgia and Long Beach, California, the staff is racking up the frequent flyer miles in hopes of landing the top recruits on their big board. It seems like, finally, we may have a good idea of the direction the staff is heading but that of course does not mean we don't expect some surprises. With that said, here are a few notes and musings about the second evaluation period thus far:
-- The staff has a presence in Georgia for the Peach Jam and that is a damn good thing as Jordan Mathews has been one of the early stars of the show. In Mathews' two games thus far, he has gone for over 20 points each time and is showing a level of aggression that most scouts had previously not seen. Here is a quick blurb from Scout.com:
Jordan Mathews, SG, California Supreme - The son of UCLA assistant Phil Matthews had a big performance to open things on Thursday. He pumped in 26 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field. Off the catch, Matthews is a particularly good shooter, but he looked to score off the bounce more than ever in the loss to MoKan, which showed as he made his way to the free throw line eight times.
Mathews will visit Spokane in the fall but with performances like this, his recruitment is going to get VERY busy.
-- The second evaluation period has clued us in on some good 2013 detail but we've also learned a lot about 2014. For instance, I would be surprised if point guard was a priority in 2013 because the staff seems to be reserving that for the 2014 class. We have already known about Casey Benson and his interest in Gonzaga but a couple new names popped up.
Per Josh Gershon of Scout, Bryan Alberts, a 6'5'' point guard from California holds an offer from Gonzaga along with Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Oregon State. A very intriguing prospect, Alberts reminds us of Matt Bouldin. Great size and court vision and a very smooth style of play.
Gonzaga also watched Jordan McLaughlin, a 4-star point guard from California. It sounds like interest between the two is very mutual but still very new. He is getting some high major looks but doesn't have a lot of offers yet. Gonzaga could have a shot in this one. Either way, they are on some very talented point guards. Here is a recent video interview from Scout.com.
-- The staff also intently watched guard/wing Darin Johnson yesterday. Johnson has become one of the bigger prospects on Gonzaga's radar as they have been at most of his games in July so far. In a recent interview with Rivals, Johnson claimed a top four of Gonzaga, Washington State, USC, and Virginia Tech. In my selfish heart, Gonzaga seems to be in the drivers seat in this one. We have covered Johnson in excess this summer and he has been one of the fastest risers on the left coast.
-- Per Josh Gershon, the staff was also watching Zylan Cheatham. Cheatham is a 2014 PF prospect. At 6'7'', he is extremely long and athletic. He is a more raw version of fellow Gonzaga prospect Malik Pope. Cheatham's lone offer is from Arizona State but with his skill set, it is very likely he starts to get more looks.
Another busy day today. Keep it tuned here for all updates.