Editors Note: Apologies for the lack of Wiltjer to Gonzaga!!! news. Was out of pocket all weekend with no access to a computer. More to come on his impact.
Over the past year-plus, one name has been synonymous with the Gonzaga recruiting class of 2014: Josh Perkins. The outstanding point guard from the Denver area captivated the Bulldogs' staff from a very early time and has been the priority recruit. Over the past three or four months, Perkins has blown up. He now has his choices of schools from coast to coast but earlier today, he decided to cut his list to a final five consisting of Gonzaga, Connecticut, Kentucky, UCLA, and Minnesota.
Adam Zagoria broke the news earlier today that Perkins was now only considering five. In that same article, Randy Perkins, Josh's father, said that the odds of Josh teaming up with someone like Rashad Vaughn was unlikely as we expected. With the final five set, it is clear just how highly thought of Josh is. All five programs have incredible selling points. Kentucky and UCLA are historic programs while Minnesota and Connecticut have very attractive head coaches that can recruit with the best of them. All that said, Gonzaga might have an edge in as much as they have shown arguably the greatest interest. From Zagoria's article:
(Mark) Few has been tracking Perkins hard and has been at all of his games recently.
"Gonzaga has been there from day one," the elder Perkins said. "There's something to be said for being there from day one. When Josh is interviewed the first thing out of his mouth is he wants a coach to be there both on and off the court for him. For that, Gonzaga rates really high."
"Coach Few's been there since day one. He's at every game. Josh is really excited when he sees the head coach there."
Josh is set to visit both Kentucky and Connecticut sometime in August when he heads off the Huntington Prep for his senior year. He is scheduled to decide his college fate on his birthday, August 25th. Everyone except for Kentucky has offered and Randy made it clear that the August 25th decision date will not be pushed back while they wait for UK to offer.
It would be silly to assume that this is Gonzaga's recruitment to lose but with all the effort that Mark Few has personally put in, I will say that I would be somewhat surprised to see Perkins go elsewhere. Few not only has stalked Perkins from day 1, but he has a great history with point guards. Also, as Zagoria points out, most of the other programs pursuing Perkins have had their eyes wandering a bit. UCLA recently offered elite point guard prospect Ja'Quan Newton, UConn and Kevin Ollie have watched several other PGs, and Kentucky is hot on Emmanuel Muiday and Tyus Jones. The Zags have made Perkins their #1 backcourt priority and have stuck by it for well over a year.
We are about a month away from decision day. Keep it tuned here for any updates on Josh Perkins...