This is really just starting to get strange. I'm not sure if it is just mere paranoia but I feel like Mark Few is just out to make Gonzaga fans say "what the hell" while he continues to make interesting recruiting moves. We began blogging about the team basically a year ago (actually I think we may have missed our year anniversary) and that is where the 2009 recruiting class started. We had our early list of guys like Anthony Marshall (UNLV commit), Marshall Henderson (Utah), and Joe Burton (Oregon State). Sam Dower was the one name that stuck from Mark Few's initial pool of prospects and little did we know that he would be our only commit from the United States. Now, three Canadian and a German prospect later, the Gonzaga coaching staff made another interesting recruiting move in bringing in former Kentucky recruit G.J. Vilarino for an official visit. Visiting doesn't mean he is bound to be in a Gonzaga uniform but you have to wonder what is going on in the minds of Mark Few and Co.
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I'm honestly not sure what to make of the news that Vilarino is here. When I read the news yesterday on Scout, I assumed that GJ was a 2010 prospect because Gonzaga's demand for guards in the 2010 class is very high with Matt Bouldin leaving, Steven Gray being a senior, and Demetri Goodson being the only legit point guard option. What's even more odd is that Scout is also reporting that we have a scholarship offer hanging out to Vilarino which sets the table for a potential six-man recruiting class which, like some of our comments alluded to, is a bit of a death wish for a program like Gonzaga down the road.
Like Max said in his post yesterday, Vilarino is a very intriguing prospect. He burst on the scene very quickly, being ranked as one of the top players in all of Texas for 2009 and maybe one of the best point guards. He received early offers from Texas A&M and Baylor and was being seriously courted by teams like Connecticut, Kansas, and UCLA. Vilarino is a very skilled guard that has some nice size at 6' for a point guard but is also a guy that is known for his speed. Analysts have said that Vilarino would probably run a sub-4.5 forty-yard dash. For a high-schooler, that is elite speed. The knocks on him have actually accumulated since his sophomore year. Vilarino seems to really struggle with his shot and what is worse is that he doesn't seem to have a problem with shooting. G.J. has been described as a pretty reckless player at times, especially when he loses interest in a game. He tends to force shots and forget about his pass-first mentality.
He has some hints of a Demetri Goodson kind of player but I don't think you would ever see Meech be accused of forcing shots. Both have been des. This is where I agree with Mark Few because it seems like he is making a concerted effort to increase the athleticism at the guard position for Gonzaga. We got a sniff of it with Jeremy Pargo who is extremely athletic but players like Matt Bouldin, Grant Gibbs, and even Steven Gray are more fundamental guards that fit the Gonzaga teams of old. With guards like Goodson, Vilarino, and prospects like Gary Bell Jr., it is pretty clear that the Zags want an added element to their point guards. Don't expect Few to completely abandon the fundamental, shot-first guard. Brett Kingma is a major target for the Zags and he can absolutely stroke it much like Joe Hanstad who plays for Sam Dower's old AAU team.
The last thing to be addressed is the scholarship situation if Vilarino was actually to come to Gonzaga, which I think is a long shot. In my eyes, there are three possible routes for this scenario to go. First and the most obvious way, is for Austin Daye to leave Gonzaga for the NBA Draft. That would free up a sixth scholarship for the class but like I mentioned earlier, having six commits in one class is so dangerous because you are putting a lot of stock in one year instead of spreading it out evenly so you can reload. The second option is if something does not work out with one of the current commit, most notably Bol Kong. Kong has been battling Visa issues since he is a Sudanese native which is on the terrorist watch list. Sources told us that he would be here in May but with the government, you never know. The third way is if there is some sort of transfer we are unaware of. While I don't expect anyone to transfer, it's possible that a guy like Will Foster might grow wary of his role on this team and decide to either leave the team and focus on school or just leave altogether. That seems to be the most far-fetched but it is worth mentioning.
I'd imagine we will find out Vilarino's situation very soon as the time for recruits to arrive on campus is coming up fast. I know Gonzaga is expecting a number of the 2009 class in May to begin summer classes in preparation for their college careers. We wish Vilarino the best of luck in his second college search and he would definitely be an interesting and exciting prospect to have in a Gonzaga uniform.