Over the past couple years, Gonzaga has had some very exciting late winters and early springs. Obviously a majority of the excitement can be attributed to the success of the team on the floor but, for us recruiting junkies, the international scene has made this time of year super interesting. A few years ago, it was the Przemek Karnowski recruitment that stole our attention and this year it is Domantas Sabonis' courtship that has us all on the edge of our seats.
Unfortunately, for news-craving fans, things have been played very close to the vest, as they typically are with international recruiting. With that said, there was an update on the situation from La Opinion De Malaga today which has been the best source for info on his recruitment. Within that update, came this (very choppy since it is a Google Translate):
Raised in Los Guindos (Sabonis) intends to submit all relevant documentation to make the pre-registration at the University in United States. This step does not mean that Domas has already decided to go next year to the United States. It is a formalism that should fill the young player typesetter and which will allow you to carry out, in the coming months, a preliminary examination for entry to the teaching of that country.
And is that to access the University without having studied in the country American is an indispensable requirement to do this test for a dessert it, formalize its possible enrolment in one of the many universities that are interested in it. The presentation of this documentation does not oblige Sabonis to leave to study and play there next season, since even if you formalize this pre-registration then could resign to stay in Malaga.
Unicaja has told the player that he must decide as soon as possible, since the month of April the club should begin to address future plans for the season 2014/15: outputs, inputs, names... And he wants to know if you can count on the small of Sabonis saga for the future template.
Obviously this is tough to comprehend but, the big picture is that Sabonis is reportedly embarking on the registration process for American university. It hit me this morning that I should go back and re-read some of our work on Przemek Karnowski to remind myself about the process and I think that context helps shed some more light on this situation. This excerpt was from a March 2012 interview we did with Rafal Juc, who was the lead source on everything Karnowski:
TSSF: When do you expect Karnowski to make his ultimate decision and commit to a school?
Rafal Juc: Right now, Karnowski is really far away from making his final decision. A couple weeks ago, I was in Kaunas in Lithuania to watch the Nike International Junior Tournament and had the occasion to chat with some reputable scouts from Europe as well as from the NBA. There were some strong rumors that Karnowski to Gonzaga is a done deal, but I must stress - these were only rumors.
He has a busy schedule coming up - his team, Siarka Jezioro, started the final part of the season. In addition to that, in May, Karnowski will be taking final exams for school. Clearly, Karnowski will be busy, but nobody said life was easy for a student-athlete. With this schedule, Karnowski might not find time to visit schools, and will be forced to make his final decision based only on chats with coaches, players, family and friends. Taking this into account, along with the fact that Karnowski is going to take the TOEFL exam soon, I am convinced that he will make his final decision as late as possible.
My completely subjective opinion is that the March 15th deadline was the date for Sabonis to submit paperwork to register at a University, presumably Gonzaga. He still has some time to be persuaded by his club, Unicaja, to remain in Spain and play professionally until he is eligible for the NBA Draft. As Karnowski had to do, Sabonis will likely have to take exams to qualify at Gonzaga, including the Test Of English As A Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. As the La Opinion De Malaga piece outlines, we should not see this process drone on for too long as Unicaja has requested a final decision in the next few weeks since April is such a big month for future development.
At this point, it would come as a pretty major shock to me if Sabonis did not elect to come to Gonzaga. With the registration process underway, I'm guessing it will only be a matter of time until we can add him to the very promising 2014 recruiting class. That said, I don't think we will be able to do that today. We will continue to keep you updated on everything related to Sabonis in the coming days.