Since the news that GJ Vilarino was visiting this weekend hit earlier in the week, we have been on a continuous mission to find out everything we can about his game. Today, we had the opportunity to check in with A Sea of Blue to get the perspective of a Kentucky fan on their one time commit. We would like to thank the guys at A Sea of Blue for taking the time to answer our questions, and we hope this gives you a better idea of what GJ brings to the court.
TSSF: GJ committed to Kentucky during his sophomore year. How has GJ improved since his commitment, and what were the expectations for him early in his Kentucky career?
A Sea of Blue: GJ has been working on his perimeter game and finishing at the rim. GJ was expected to come in and help at the point in the early part of his career at Kentucky, gradually obtaining more playing time and progressing perhaps to a starter or sixth man later in his career. GJ did not project to be a first year starter at Kentucky.
TSSF: One of the great things that you read about GJ is his tremendous work ethic. While he obviously has some issues in his game, how high is the ceiling for GJ?
A Sea of Blue: I think his ceiling is pretty high. GJ is a pass-first point guard with a solid handle and remarkable athleticism. Right now he is pretty small for the college game, and needs to put on some muscle and strength. If he develops a reliable perimeter jumpshot, he has the potential to be an all-conference selection late in his career at most conferences. GJ sees the floor very well and is very good at getting his teammates the basketball.
TSSF: At this point, what are GJ's greatest stengths and greatest weaknesses on the court, and do you think he can contribute immediately at a high-level porgram like Gonzaga?
A Sea of Blue: GJ's greatest strengths are his determination, competitiveness and his athleticism. He reportedly has a vertical leap in the 40" range, and is very fast getting up and down the court. His handle is good but he is very left-handed and needs to work on his weak side, and his jump shot is not too reliable. He also has trouble finishing in traffic due to a lack of strength, but does have an advantage going to the rim because he is left-handed. At a place like Gonzaga or even Kentucky, he could contribute some back-up minutes right away, but how many is largely situational. Until he develops a reliable shot and more mature game, teams will tend to lay off him and try to force him to go right.
TSSF: I have read a couple different reports that state that GJ might be the quickest PG from baseline to baseline in this class. Because of his great speed, does GJ have the ability to be lockdown defender?
A Sea of Blue: GJ is a very fast player, and a bit of an athletic freak. He can really get up and down the court, and can really get in the air. A guy as small and quick as GJ should be a very good defender, especially since he also has very good acceleration and overall speed. His weaknesses defensively are his size (5'11"' or so) and his lack of upper body strength. At this point, he would get pushed around a bit by bigger guards.
TSSF: Ultimately, do you think GJ is the type of player that would fit in to the Gonzaga system, and does have the talent and skill set to deserve a scholarship from Gonzaga?
A Sea of Blue: I do think GJ is a solid backup point guard for Gonzaga, and he could become really good if he fills in and learns to shoot the ball well. Right now, his talents are not such that he could come in and start for a team like the Bulldogs, but he will get better, has some really good intangibles and is as athletic as they come. His speed and acceleration will make him very tough to press.