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Future of Recruiting: 2011 Edition

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During the week we addressed what the 2010 recruiting class could potentially look like. For that article we assumed that Austin would return for his junior season, and that the open scholarship would come from Will Foster. For the purpose of this article, we will take Joe Harris and Johnny McArthur for the 2010 class, as they were the two highest voters for readers. By adding these two guys, here is what the roster will look like for 2010/2011 (I'm assuming that Olynyk will redshirt this year).

Seniors:

Steven Gray

Juniors:

Rob Sacre

Bol Kong

Demetri Goodson

Sophomores:

Mangisto Arop

Sam Dower

GJ Vilarino

Grant Gibbs

Andy Poling

Elias Harris

Freshman:

Kelly Olynyk

Joe Harris

Johnny McArthur

One of the glaring holes that this Gonzaga team will have heading into next season is the lack of a replacement for Steven Gray. Gonzaga has long been none as a school that had tremendous shooters, and numerous legitimate threats from behind the arc. However, unless Grant Gibbs really becomes consistent with his shot, this team will not have many deep threats. The good news is that the coaching staff already has its eye on two guys who can really shoot the ball.

If it seems like Brett Kingma has been on the Gonzaga radar since he entered high school, it's because he has. Kingma fits into the Blake Stepp mold that Mark Few seems to love, as he is a tremendous shooter from deep, but also has very good height for a PG. It's not uncommon to see Kingma hit 6 or 7 threes in a game, and he has already drawn the interest of many coaches throughout the state. Before his sophomore year started, Kingma reported offers from Gonzaga, Portland, Portland St., and Eastern Washington. I would also assume with Ken Bone now at Washington St, that the Cougars will be all over him. The good news for Zag fans is that Kingma was a regular at Gonzaga games throughout the season, and has repeatedly expressed that Gonzaga was the leader for his services. A broken arm during his high school season has kept Kingma out of the news, but I would think that a big summer on the AAU circuit will elevate him to a national recruit.

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As we have often come to expect, the Gonzaga coaches have gone off the beaten path to become a heavy player in the recruitment of Joe Hanstad. The 6'3 Hanstad was the Gatorade State Player of the Year in North Dakota, and led the Midgets of Dickinson High School with 26.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. While these are obviously impressive stats, they must be taken with a grain of salt, as the competition level in North Dakota is about as low as it gets. Hanstad will have an excellent chance to prove himself this summer, as he will be playing for Marquise Watts and Net Gain Sports. However, Hanstad must recover from a foot injury that has sidelined him from the first couple tournaments of the AAU circuit. Hanstad holds offers from both of the North Dakota schools, but has stated that Gonzaga is currently recruiting him the hardest. I don't see the Zags taking both Kingma and Hanstad, as they are very similar players. However, the staff has over a year before they need to decide which is a better fit.

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While both Kingma and Hanstad would be terrific prospects for Gonzaga to land, there are two potentially elite recruits that the staff has shown lots of initial interest in. By recruiting Nick Johnson, the Gonzaga coaches know they will have to fend off the entire Pac 10, and likely many other of the top schools in the country. Johnson has been one of the elite performers during the AAU season so far, as he is a terrific scoring option for the Drew Gooden Soldiers. Johnson has great athleticism for a 6'2 guard, and has a terrific shooting stroke to match that athleticism. At this point, Johnson holds offers from Arizona State, Gonzaga, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, and Pepperdine. He has been hearing from UConn, UCLA, and I would assume an Arizona offer will be on the way once Sean Miller gets fully settled. I don't particularly like the Zags chances with Johnson, since the Arizona native has repeatedly stated that he would like to stay in state to play in front of friends and family.

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The "elite" recruit that I think the coaching staff has the best chance with is Gary Bell of Kentridge high school. The 6'1 Bell is a freak athlete who already holds offers from Washington and Cal. I am especially impressed by the Cal offer, because you better believe Mike Montgomery thinks highly of this kid if he is going to offer so early in the process. Bell has been on the Gonzaga radar since last summer, when he put on a show at the Gonzaga team camp, and showed off his freakish athleticism in the dunk contest. Bell is a great shooter from distance, and once he puts on some more strength, he should be able to finish at the rim at a very highi level. While I think it will be tough to get Bell away from the west side of the state, his familiarity and comfort with Gonzaga could play as a huge advantage in his recruitment.

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The one wing/post prospect on the board for the Zags is Kyle Wiltjer. Wiltjer is a very interesting prospect, as he is 6'9 at this point, but reportedly skill growing. However, unlike many guys his height, Wiltjer is athletic and comfortable with his body. While he certainly needs to put on weight to achieve his potential, Wiltjer is a terrific scorer at this point, and is already hearing from some of the top schools in the country. Gonzaga has an advantage with Wiltjer, as he is from Portland, and might be tempted to stay on the west coast. He participated at the UCLA Elite Camp last year, and has been very productive for the Drew Gooden Soldiers so far this spring/summer. He reportedly holds offers from Gonzaga, Oregon St, and USF, but most of the Pac 10 is showing heavy interest. I think a great comparison at this time is Mike Dunleavy Jr, and I think Wiltjer would be a great fit in the Gonzaga offense.

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We will keep you updated on all developments for both 2010 and 2011 recruiting. Lots will be decided over the summer, as Gonzaga will host its elite camp, and the coaches will be evaluating prospects throughout July.