Looking back on the past few months, you would have to call this the summer of transfers. Up until a week ago, I likely would have called it the summer of transfer heartbreaks. The Zags have been actively trying to find an 'instant impact' type big man that can come in and help Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski carry the load but have not had the best of luck. The future of the program got a bit of a boost a week ago today when Kyle Wiltjer announced that he would transfer to Gonzaga but that desire to find someone for this coming season still exists. Interestingly enough, it appears that help may be in the form of a four-year player that has flown under the radar but is now getting major interest. Let's take a look in our news & notes....
Could Aytes Be The Answer?
As I said, so many names have been tossed around this summer. Most have been one-and-done type transfers like Mike Moser but the latest name is Jamal Aytes and even though it is very late in the 2013 recruiting cycle, the young man appears to have all the tools to come in and help right away. Aytes has had an absolutely monstrous summer that has netted him offers from some of the top programs in the country. Evan Daniels of Scout.com checked in with a nice update yesterday on Aytes which included this:
"I'm going to take visits next week," he told Scout.com on Thursday.
Ayes said he intends to set up visits to Gonzaga and West Virginia.
If the Zags can land the 6'7'' hard charging forward, they will not only get a guy that can come and and play meaningful minutes right now, but also a guy that can develop into a star down the line. His game is oddly similar to that of Elias Harris in that he has a great motor, solid athleticism, and he can rebound from anywhere on the court. While I would never ask him to emulate Elias' freshman year, I feel good that Aytes could be a solid contributor and at least eat up minutes next season.
Perkins Has Not Officially Trimmed His List...But The Zags Are In Great Shape
If you follow us on Twitter...and you really should follow us on Twitter...you know that yesterday was an exciting and busy day for Gonzaga news. In particular, it was a busy day for Josh Perkins news. Here is the quick rundown via Tweets:
The last tweet is the bummer as Perkins apparently went down hard and was in a tremendous amount of pain in his first game at the Fab 48 tournament. Nothing official has been released about how much time he will be out but this was already going to be his last event of the summer.
The great news is the series of Jerry Meyer tweets when he claims he has new and reliable information that makes him think the Zags are in the lead for Josh. There is no doubt that Mark Few has been the one constant throughout his recruitment and it appears that it is really paying off. Josh was quoted as saying yesterday that he hasn't necessarily trimmed his list down to five but most tend to think that he will choose one of either Gonzaga, UCLA, UK, UConn, or Minnesota.
Another College Gameday For The Bulldogs
And let's hope this one produces a better finish for the good guys. A year after playing one of the more epic games in recent memory, ESPN has decided to bring the Zags back into the spotlight with their game against Memphis. This past season, Gonzaga was beaten in stunning fashion at Butler after an errant inbounds pass. I really don't feel like I need to say much more about that game.
Gary Parrish reported yesterday that the Zags will once again be a featured member of the Gameday series:
Also worth noting for Zags fans: I’m told ESPN’s College Gameday will originate from FedExForum for the Memphis-Gonzaga game this season.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 25, 2013
Memphis is going to be a likely top-20 team when the first polls are released and it should be a great test for the Zags who will be searching for a new identity without Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk.
That's all for this morning. As I have said several times...be sure to follow us on Twitter as we'll have numerous updates throughout the day.