Just as it seemed that it was time to move on to coverage of the 2010 recruiting class, it appears that Mark Few and the coaching staff have not quite wrapped up their work for the 2009 class. This weekend, Gonzaga will be welcoming 2009 PG prospect G.J Vilarino. Vilarino had been committed to Kentucky since his sophomore year, but with the recent change in coaches, he decided to open up his commitment. Numerous articles reveal that Vilarino is considering Gonzaga, VCU, Cincinnati, Oregon, and Georgia, and in what perhaps might be a sign of his interest, Gonzaga will be receieving the first official visit. According to a recent interview with Gerry Vilarino, the father of G.J., this recruitment shouldn't play out very long, and the family knows exactly what it is looking for in a school.
"(His recruitment) is going to come down to his comfort at the school, where he fits in with the players and coaching staff. Things are still very open and we are looking for the best fit where he can play and develop," said Vilarino.
While it's clear that the coaching staff is interested in Vilarino, we don't know much about him. Since he ended his recruitment so early, rivals and scout haven't had many updates on him over the past two years. However, the best comparison that I can make from my limited research is a left handed version of Meech. Here is a quick recap on Vilarino from ESPN, in which they named him the 2nd best "floor general" in the 09 class.
This left-handed point guard can do it all. In transition, he really pushes the ball and finishes with speed to the rim. He is always probing the defense and looking for ways to make something happen. Vilarino, who is committed to Kentucky, makes good decisions, and he shows excellent court vision and the talent to hand out assist. At this time, he is an average shooter. But with his outstanding work ethic and competitiveness, that will all change soon. The weight room is a must to enhance his overall defense and ability to score even more effectively in the lane. He cares about winning and it shows in his effort and his results.
One aspect that seems to be a consistent theme in any discussion revolving around Vilarino is the tremendous work ethic he possesses. This is a huge plus for me, as the two areas where he seems to struggle (strength and shooting), are areas that can be corrected with hard work in the gym. This mention from DraftExpress has me pretty excited about the potential this kid has.
The least-highly regarded of any player on this squad as far as the recruiting services are concerned, G.J. Vilarino (unranked Scout, Rivals, ESPN) probably had one of the best all-around performances of any of the 2009 high school players, which should give Kentucky fans some room for optimism that help is on the way.
Vilarino doesn’t look like much on first sight—he’s a very small, lanky kid without much meat on his bones, but he definitely showed that he belonged once he had the ball in his hands. Vilarino stood out mostly with his speed and playmaking skills at the point guard position, making great passes to everyone around him and showing a lot of toughness and heart operating on the floor. He took the ball strong to the basket and didn’t back down when faced with contact, even if his lack of size clearly will make things a little more difficult at the next level.
I have to believe that I am not the only one that immediately thinks Demetri Goodson upon reading this. The toughness and quickness that he seems to possess jumps out at me as a huge plus. The ultimate question for the coaching staff in the recruitment of Vilarino is whether they prefer him to 2010 options like LaBradford Franklin and Aaron Bright. This is a vital decision for the coaching staff, and also clearly signifies that the 2010 class will only have one guard instead of the potential two that we had mentioned. It sounds like the potential of Vilarino is impressive, but it must be decided if he will ultimately be better then Bright and Franklin. We will keep you updated on the official visit, and the recruitment of Vilarino.
What do you guys think? Would you like to take in Vilarino as part of the 2009 class, or would you rather hold out for Bright and Franklin? Or does your dream scenario include Vilarino in this class, and then one of either Bright or Franklin for 2010?