While the Gonzaga staff continues to work to finalize what has the potential to be a tremendous 2013 class, part of the reason for the Spring and Summer evaluation period is to find the talent of the future. One player that captured the attention of Mark Few and his staff was Bryan Alberts, a 6'5 guard that plays with BTI Pump N Run on the AAU circuit.
Gonzaga first noticed Alberts during an AAU tournament in Chicago. However, according to Robert Icart, the director of BTI, it was in Anaheim where he really impressed the staff.
"The first time they (Gonzaga) saw him was in Chicago," Icart explained. "Tommy came out to Chicago to see him and he liked him, even though Bryan didn't play his best. Then in Anaheim the next week, Coach Few came out and saw him play a couple of times, and that is when they said this guy is really good"
Alberts was explosive throughout the AAU evaluation period. His versatility on the offensive end is one of the things that make him such a intriguing prospect.
"He is clearly, and I have seen a lot of the top guards, the most college ready perimeter player on the West Coast in 2014," said the BTI director. "I'm not talking about upside and potential and some of the other descriptions scouts use. I'm looking at his skills being transferrable to the college level. He is a terrific perimeter shooter and has a great mid-range game."
With his size and scoring ability, one natural comparison for Gonzaga fans to make is Matt Bouldin. While there are certainly some similarities, Icart believes that Alberts may be more athletic.
"We like him as a point. He is a big guard and weights right around 205. He is similar to Matt Bouldin but a bit bouncier and more athletic and he can guard the point guard position. He (Bryan) is like a $1,500 bottle of red wine. He is very smooth, composed and his whole game just comes together. He doesn't get rattled and plays the game at his own tempo and very efficient."
Although Alberts is certainly emerging as an elite prospect for 2014, there are still some areas where he can improve his game.
"I'd like to see him be more vocal and take charge," revealed Icart. "I would say to take it to the next level where maybe he has the chance of being a Top 20 guy, a guy that can help a team get to the Final 4, he needs to show that emotion and he needs to influence other guys with that emotion."
Not surprisingly, Alberts has drawn the attention of some of the premier programs on both sides of the country.
"The schools that are offering and recruiting Bryan the hardest are Gonzaga, which was one of the first schools to offer, Oregon St., Stanford, Wisconsin and Northwestern. They have been the most aggressive. There are some others like West Virginia, Wake Forest, Virginia and Washington."
Alberts should capture even more attention after a tremendous 41-point performance against California Supreme on the last day of the evaluation period.
"It was a totally unselfish and under control 41 points," Icart explained. "His teammates were looking for him and he was scoring in the flow. After that game, it doesn't matter what school you are. I'd be shocked if you saw him play and didn't offer him."
At this point, Alberts has taken a handful of unofficial visits on both coasts and also has some more visits planned.
"He went to the Stanford camp at the beginning of June. He visited Virginia, Georgetown and Boston College, who has also offered. He has already seen Northwestern and I think he will visit Wisconsin. He will visit Gonzaga. The plan is to go up north to visit Oregon St. Gonzaga and Washington some time in August. He will also possibly visit West Virginia for their elite camp."
With so much time to go before he actually sets foot on a campus, Icart believes that Alberts isn't in any rush to end his recruitment. However, the one thing the BTI director knows is that he has great options ahead of him.
"I don't think he is in a rush," Icart said of Alberts making a decision. "I think he wants to go through the entire process. There is a lot of uncertainty in college basketball. You have to look at the institution, not the coaching staff. The one thing about all the programs looking at him is that they are high-character and blue-collar systems. These programs get great kids that aren't necessarily five-star guys, and develop them over four years."