Update: We are working to confirm that the visit of Sabonis did really take place. Lots of rumors flying around that the report from Eurohopes was inaccurate.
Gonzaga's three most recent NBA players have many things in common but one thing stands out above the rest - they were all international transplants. Robert Sacre and Kelly Olynyk hail from Canada and Harris grew up in Germany prior to coming to Gonzaga for college. International recruiting has become an art for the Gonzaga staff, namely Tommy Lloyd, who has unearthed hidden gems overseas for a number of years. It appears that the 2014 class will also have some international flavor as Lloyd has been in hot pursuit of elite Lithuanian 2014 forward Domantas Sabonis. Reports indicate that Sabonis will visit Gonzaga this weekend along with several others schools and then make a decision about his future.
Domantas Sabonis is going to visit Arizona State, Gonzaga and Oregon this weekend. Averaged 14 points & 11.4 rebounds at #FibaEuropeU18— Eurohopes (@Eurohopes) August 2, 2013
Domantas is the son of former NBA star and international hall of famer Arvydas Sabonis who played for the Portland Trail Blazers from 1995 until 2003. Whereas Arvydas was more of a hulking and powerful player, Domantas is thin, agile, and athletic. Standing at about 6'10'', moves as smoothly as someone like an Austin Daye but Sabonis' ability to score in the low post far exceeds Daye's. He is likely to play swing forward in the states as he won't overpower anyone right away but he will do a great job spreading defenses and can also rebound from anywhere on the floor. While his overall physicality will be challenge in the states, the sky is the limit for this very talented player.
In addition to visiting Gonzaga, Sabonis will visit Arizona State and Oregon and some reports also have him going down to College Station to visit Texas A&M. He was born in Portland while Arvydas was with the Blazers and holds dual citizenship so he has a connection to the University of Oregon. A recent Rivals report indicates that he also has a connection with Arizona State as current athletic director Steve Patterson was the president of the Blazers in Arvydas' final season with the team. That said, there isn't a program better right now than Gonzaga at bringing in international recruits. Lloyd has had a remarkable hit rate between Canada and Europe and you have to think that will factor in to Domantas' decision.
Since Sabonis has such an amazing pedigree, it will be intriguing to see if anyone else jumps in the mix. Last year, we saw Duke, Kansas, and a host of other programs make late offers to Przemek Karnowski before he committed to Gonzaga so you have to think that Sabonis is fielding the same types of calls. If Lloyd can lure Sabonis to Spokane it will be another major coup for the program and he could be one of the next international Zags to make it to the NBA.
Some highlights of Domantas...