When their are about five events going on filled with the best high school basketball players in the nation, plenty of news outlets, blogs etc will be reporting and a lot of Gonzaga prospects have had notable performances thus far. We're still awaiting the days when gamecasts are available for AAU games but until that day, we have to rely on word of mouth.
Scout.com's Greg Hicks was at the Center Stage tournaments where a lot of good local Pac Northwest talent is and had some favorable things to say about some potential Zag recruits...one thing especially blew me away:
Gary Bell, 6-1 PG/SG Kent (Wash.) Kentridge. Bell has been somewhat overshadowed by his more highly hyped Seattle Rotary teammate Tony Wroten, but Bell is the better prospect. He’s got a terrific body, with a very good feel for the game and a good stroke to the stripe. He’s not a true point guard, but he can certainly defend a one and he has the right approach to play point guard.
Wroten is obviously one of the most well-known prospects in the 2011 class. He sat atop the Rivals rankings for awhile and to hear that Bell is looking like the better prospects is extraordinarily encouraging. Although Hicks doesn't see him as a true point guard, it is become pretty clear that Mark Few doesn't really care about finding "true" players for spots. Bell Jr. is just far too good to pass up but after the entire nation sees him breakout in Vegas, he might be hard to get a hold of.
more from Las Vegas after the jump...
Hicks also discussed a few other players that have some Gonzaga interest. Jordan Railey is a 2010 guy that would answer Gonzaga fans pleas for more depth inside...
Jordan Railey, 6-9 C Beaverton (Ore.) High. Railey showed a very nice touch as he knocked down several shots in the 15-18 foot range. His frame projects very well and he should be a strong kid once he gets in a college weight room. He’s got a decent feel in the low-post and he’ll eventually be an inside scoring threat.
Railey is getting mostly mid-major looks at this point and has some offers from teams like Utah State, Portland State, Portland and other similar teams. There is no doubt that he will turn into an effective low post presence but I'm not sure if a team like Gonzaga, that needs pretty immediate help in the paint with a 2010 guy, can take Railey who will need a redshirt year and maybe more to develop. Yannick Atanga seems to be a guy more college ready at this point.
Talking about another guy that has shot up as one of our favorite players, Ben Vozzola from Las Vegas has been getting plenty of attention and that continued in Las Vegas as he attracted quite a few suitors to his game...
Ben Vozzola had a crowd of coaches from Arizona State, Gonzaga, UCLA, UNLV, Washington State, Oregon State and San Diego at his game.
Vozzola, like Railey, has a lot of mid-major offers right now and attended the Utah Elite Camp but he definitely has the more promising recruiting future as he already holds a couple of Pac-10 offers from Washington State and Arizona State. Vozzola is a prototypical wing player at around 6-foot-5 with room to grow. He is described as a guy that is a tremendous slasher but can also hit the outside shot and has really been showing that off lately.
It appears, however, that another WCC team might be in the lead right now for Ben's services
He's leaning toward San Diego, though he doesn't expect to commit anywhere until after the summer and then sign in November. "My favorite one right now is San Diego," he said. "They want me to make an impact as a freshman, maybe even start."
He's leaning toward San Diego, though he doesn't expect to commit anywhere until after the summer and then sign in November.
"My favorite one right now is San Diego," he said. "They want me to make an impact as a freshman, maybe even start."
At least the article mentions that Mark Few was there watching Vozzola but he is a guy that I would not want to go against for the next four years.
Just a few more updates that might be of interest...from Scout.com:
Austin Hollins, SG, Nashville Celtics – Majority of the attention on the Celtics goes to (Casey) Prather, but we think Hollins is quite a prospect as well. At 6-foot-4, Hollins has wide shoulders and an impressive long and lean body. At this point he does lack the strength to be physical when he attacks the rim, but he’s got a nice looking jump shot and above average athleticism. Against the young Pump team Hollins scored a number of buckets at the rim and worked the boards for put backs.
LaBradford Franklin: Franklin is an interesting prospect in that he has a great feel for the game and does several things very well. However, we are still not sure if he is at the elite level high enough to play against great point guards on a nightly basis in college.
If Arizona doesn't want him...I'm sure Cal wouldn't mind...
He's extremely fluid with a pure jumper from anywhere, and he drilled four of five from three in the first game after getting simple screens. Despite two losses, Franklin's game was very impressive.
And last but certainly not least...some LeBryan Nash love from the Arizona folks, who are doing a hell of a job at the Vegas tournaments
LeBryan Nash: The elite level player in the class of 2011 showed off his talents in a late game Thursday. Nash often played above the rim and made highlight type dunks. The forward went up against two Michigan State commits in Keith Appling and Alex Gauna and kept his team in the game.
The swingman was forced to shoot against the zone and he hit four three-pointers to prove his skill. Nash can also create his own shot and get into the lane. He probably could commit more to defense and to crashing the boards but there is no doubt he is an elite level prospect.
LeBryan is the dream...just not sure how realistic we can consider that dream at this point.