Now that June is halfway over and the AAU schedule is really starting to heat up, we plan on becoming the number one source for Gonzaga recruiting updates. We recently brought you some intriguing updates from Marquise Watts about Joe Hanstad, Chanse Creekmur, and Doug McDermott and today we had the privilege to talk to Randy Bertin who coaches Yannick Atanga at Beasant Hill in California. We were very curious to find out if Yannick was going to be attending Gonzaga's elite camp later this month and Coach Bertin filled us in on that and much more. We'd like to thank him for his help. Enjoy!
Slipper Still Fits: Yannick is one of the more intriguing prospects on the West Coast. Can you discuss his background, and how he came to the country from Cameroon and developed into a DI recruit?
Coach Bertin: We are only a school of around 100 students and 80 percent are boarding students and the school is about 25 percent international from all over the Earth. And so it was about three years ago when Yannick and a couple kids from Cameroon came over and it went from there. He kind of came over for the same reason most kids come to America; to learn English and go to school in America. He's done remarkably well and is like a 3.0 kid and works hard and takes his school work the most seriously.
Slipper Still Fits: In anyway do you feel that the tremendous stats that Yannick has been able to put up are a reflection of the competition that he faces at a small school?
Coach Bertin: I think he would be different wherever he was at. His skills do really show in AAU when he plays against high caliber kids. A lot of times for our school he is only putting up those numbers in 2 ½ quarters of basketball. If we went out and said "hey let's try and kill every team we play" I think Yannick would put up forty points easily.
Slipper Still Fits: What is Yannick's schedule this summer? What AAU team is he playing for, and is he planning on attending any elite camps? Do you expect him to kind of explode on the national scene this summer?
Coach Bertin: He's played for Impact Basketball down in Pasadena, California. He went to the Cal Elite camp and is scheduled for Santa Clara and UCLA elite camp at the end of the month. He has like 30 camp invitations but is kind of on a limited budget so it is hard for him to go everywhere he wants.
I do expect him to blow up but there are already a lot of great recruiters on him already. West Virginia has been on him for about a year and a couple others out East and I think that once he plays tournaments in Cincinatti and Long Beach, he's going to blow up. He's so quick off his feet and can get up so fast. He's like a Dennis Rodman type player who is all about defense, rebounding, and blocking shots.
read more about Yannick and his college aspirations after the jump...
Slipper Still Fits: In your opinion, and from what you have heard from some of the coaches recruiting him, what makes Yannick such a coveted and unique prospect?
Coach Bertin: What they see is upside. Somebody who will go through a wall for the team. If he is on the bench he is going to work all the time to get off the bench. He won't complain about being on the bench, he knows he has to work hard and is just a great kid.
Slipper Still Fits: What schools have shown the most interest in Yannick at this point, and what schools have offered him at this point?
Coach Bertin: UC-Santa Barbara offer. Everyone else is coming in a bit late compared to them. As I said, there are about 30 or so are counting on him to be at their elite camp but will only be able to go to those three I mentioned. A few examples are UNLV, Cal, UCLA, and especially Washington State is hot on him right now. Washington, Santa Clara, and Pepperdine as well. We've talked to Ray Giacoletti a couple times and I just sent him a game film two days ago. I would say Gonzaga has shown good interest since November. I think it'd be a good place for him.
Slipper Still Fits: Is there any type of offense or system that you think best suits Yannick and his game? Because of how raw he is, do you think that he might be a candidate to redshirt at the next level?
Coach Bertin: Depends where he goes. If he is in the Pac-10 maybe. Otherwise, I don't know because he is very good in the post and can get off his feet so fast. He's pretty versatile as well. What he needs is a 14 or 15 foot jump shot and then he will be unstoppable. Defensively I think he is ready but just a consistent offensive threat is what he needs to take it to the next level.
Slipper Still Fits: Do you think distance from California will play any part in his decisions, and do you know when he hopes to make a decision by?
Coach Bertin: He's really open to going anywhere. He wants to study international relations. He's not a fan of the cold but at the same time it is not a dealbreaker.
He's going to take it slow and not rush into any decision quickly. He wants to play AAU and see where he is at. He's going back home soon because our school has requirements that students go aborad and do service work so this summer he's going back to Cameroon to rebuild an orphanage. July 19 he is going to the orphanage and is staying until the end of summer. By then, he wants to have five schools that he can visit. I can definitely see Gonzaga being in the mix.