I feel like our blog has turned into an international basketball website this summer with all the tournaments featuring Gonzaga guys like Manny Arop, Kelly Olynyk, and Elias Harris. Each tourney has been enjoyable this summer and has produced favorable and very exciting results if you are a Gonzaga basketball fan. One tournament that both EDZ and I didn't expect much from was the senior men's Eurobasket tournament in Poland. Elias Harris is on the German team but being that he is only twenty years old and making his senior league debut, it was expected that Elias would not make a major impact. Thus far, it goes without saying that Elias has exceeded our expectations and continues to make an impact on the senior international men's scene. Here is a blurb about Elias from the official Eurobasket Day Four wrap up:
In the last seconds of the game between Greece and Germany the Greeks had an eight point lead and the game was already decided, one more basket in favor of Germany wouldn't make any difference. Despite being only 20-years-old German Elias Harris is one of the strongest guards in the competition. He went for a loose ball at mid-court, attempting to score the last two meaningless points of the night.
I'm still a bit clueless as to what exact role Elias is going to play in his first year at Gonzaga because it appears that his versatility will really surprise a lot of Gonzaga fans. Germany's most recent game against a pretty darn good Greece team resulted in an eight point loss but once again, Elias contributed more and more racking up 23 minutes. He continued to fill up the stat sheet, scoring four points on a three point shot and a free-throw, collecting five rebounds including two on the offensive end, and forcing three Greek turnovers. Here's an Elias mention from the Greece-Germany game recap:
The young Tibor Pleis added four points before the break and good presence in the paint, and with a huge offensive rebound of Harris carried Germany back into the game, 35-31.
This a pretty exciting quote for a number of reasons. First of all, love the idea of Elias pulling down offensive rebounds because if you have followed Gonzaga the past few years, rebounding and end-to-end toughness has been a major question mark. Elias should bring that toughness and leaping ability right away. It's also exciting because the German coaching staff has enough faith in Elias to have him in the game at major points in the game when they are searching for a boost. We're getting a real gem here that is fine tuning his skills on a major stage.
A few other points of interest:
-- Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports made his preseason All-American list and Matt Bouldin landed on his "Mid-Major All-Americans". I thought that Matt might make Goodman's fourth or fifth team All-American list but it's good to see him get a mention. Consistency is the key this year for MB.
-- Regarding Bol Kong, it's 50/50 and that is probably all we will know until the roster is officially released. Apparently the immigration process hit a snag but it is still being worked out. We probably will not have much on him til it is final. Speculation isn't really fair in a situation as delicate as this is. We sincerely hope it all works out for Bol, not just for Gonzaga's sake, but just so the kid can realize his dream.