Way back in the day, sports rumors were just that -- rumors. People would say things, and then other people would dismiss said things until the person involved in said things would acknowledge things. In this day and age of constant 24/7 plugged into the network style of world we live in, the rules of rumors have changed.
Now, simple little tweets, limited to 140 characters and all, can have quite the impact. What we have today is one little innocuous tweet about a recruit and Gonzaga, and we (or I) am going to blow it out of the water and put a story, that may not be a story, to it.
Why do this? Because, I think there is a little base to it. Also, it is officially the Gonzaga Bulldogs offseason, and at least for me, no news isn't necessarily good news. So let's start with the tweet.
Malek Harris back playing w/ Illinois Wolves & on the open market with top 5 (in no order) of Va Tech, Marquette, Florida, K State, Gonzaga— Joe Henricksen (@joehoopsreport) April 6, 2014
A little background on said tweet.
Harris is a 6'7 winger ranked within the top-100 of most recruiting sites. He also comes with a bit of baggage. He verbally committed to Marquette way back in June of 2013, but never signed a letter of intent because he was suspended from basketball for his entire senior year. It wasn't his first suspension in high school either, he missed 11 games in a previous season for undisclosed violations.
Unknown off the court issues aside, if Gonzaga is still in the mix for Harris, he must bring something to the table. His top-100 ranking also suggests that. But, there is a slight problem with Harris potentially coming to Gonzaga - and that is in the form of scholarships. A Division I men's basketball team is allotted 13 scholarships, and go figure, Gonzaga has all of those spoken for. Now, assuming that the recruitment of Domantas Sabonis was indeed successful (as all indications seem to point to), the Gonzaga scholarship chart for next year breaks down like this.
Josh Perkins, Bryan Alberts, Silas Melson, Domantas Sabonis
Ryan Edwards, Lucas Meikle
That total ends up to 13 scholarships. Now, of course, that assumes that Sabonis is a Bulldog next year, but this is where the news of Harris maintaining interest in Gonzaga is interesting. Especially, when it comes on the heels of this short couple of sentences Bud Withers wrote for the Seattle Times.
It would help if athletic holdover forward Angel Nunez could adapt to the system. Gerard Coleman didn't, and the guess here is he'll be outbound to find another place to play.
Withers' guess there is completely conjecture. The article is talking about Gonzaga's chances and hopes next year and makes big references to the incoming personnel. Coleman has already transferred once, but he also only has one more year of eligibility. Coleman knew the glory of scoring buckets at Providence and at Gonzaga he was left clamoring to be put in in the comments section of this site.
Coleman was pretty much an afterthought this season at Gonzaga (and we will leave that conversation for another day). He went from averaging 34 minutes per game at Providence his sophomore year to averaging 11.4 minutes per game his junior year as a Bulldog. That blame partly falls on Mark Few, but also equally falls on Coleman. Few had a hard time giving Coleman a lot of minutes, but it looks like a lot of minutes is what is needed for Coleman to show that he is worth being on the floor.
What if Withers is wrong though, and it isn't Coleman that transfers, but Nunez? That in itself seems less likely. Nunez averaged 4.6 minutes per game on the bench of Louisville his freshman year and he saw a slight uptick at Gonzaga with 7.3 minutes per year. It wasn't big numbers, but Nunez was never the top dog any where. He also has the size that Coleman doesn't have. Going into next year, the Bulldogs will have Karnowski (proven solid), Wiljters (hopefully proven solid), Edwards (mancrush solid, but also Ryan Edwards) and Sabonis (not proven solid) in the front court. Nunez, at 6'8, can masquerade as a power forward if he needs to. The backcourt, which Coleman is relegated to, is incredibly crowded.
Does that mean Coleman is on his way out? Not at all. Harris also listed Florida, Kansas State and Marquette in his list of schools, and those are all fine basketball schools. Would I be surprised if Coleman decided to get one last shot at displaying his talents somewhere else? Not at all.
The fact of the matter is that Coleman was inefficient during his one year at Gonzaga so far. Whether or not that is his fault or Few's fault is all up to argument and in the end really doesn't matter. How Coleman could've played and how Gonzaga's season could've played out is irrelevant. What matters is how Coleman played (when he did) and how Gonzaga's season played out.
As of right now, as the roster stands, there is still a spot for Coleman if he wants it. Nunez is athletic as well, but Coleman would help provide a nice spark off the bench. The question is whether or not he wants to be a spark off the bench. If Coleman wants to take his career into the NBA or into Europe, he will need exposure. He will not get that exposure at Gonzaga.