Never in the history of Gonzaga basketball has their been so much intrigue surrounding the status and whereabouts of members of the team. Typically, recruits arrive in Spokane at some point after they complete their senior year of high school and take summer courses and begin practicing with the team. The 2009-10 version of the Gonzaga men's basketball team has not made things as simple. Sure, the returning players are all accounted for and present but the recruiting class of 2009 has been slow to develop. Mangisto Arop, Sam Dower, and Kelly Olynyk have been sure things. GJ Vilarino burst onto the scene very late in the recruiting cycle and is on campus. That has left us with two players, Elias Harris and Bol Kong, who have not only not been in Spokane, but have not even been in the same country.
Elias Harris just completed Eurobasket 2009 after receiving the tremendous honor of being named to the German senior men's national team. We expect him to be on campus as soon as possible, hopefully even this coming weekend. If Germany would have advanced into the quarterfinals of the tournament, which they were two points away from doing, we would have had to wait quite a bit of time for Elias to join his new team. The mystery of Bol Kong has been a long and slow developing process. I mentioned a few days ago that the situation was seemingly at a standstill and that the entire situation was at best guess, 50/50. I also said that we wouldn't be giving in to the Kong related rumors until we heard something official.
Well, I'm only human. The best source of news we've had on Bol is his facebook which read yesterday morning that he had just received a fantastic wake up call. As the day progressed, some of his friends of Facebook wrote on his wall congratulating him about Gonzaga. Needless to say, we're doing all we can to verify this information because, as bloggers, we've got to get creative sometimes. We're just hoping that Bol can get over into America and see all his hard work pay off and to see ,what looks to be on paper, a fine team come together. Here are a few other bits of news to get your day going...
Ballin' is a Habit: Will Bol Kong end up at Gonzaga?
Do you think I could possibly lead off with anything except for a Bol Kong story? It appears that Ballin' is a Habit has picked up on this very long story of Bol Kong and is pondering the same question we all are. He still has until the end of this week to be on campus before his "grace period" runs out. The authors also throw in a little bit of politics at the end and their argument does make sense but this case appears to be so convoluted and far-reaching that my political knowledge (or lack thereof) is nowhere near strong enough to grasp what is happening with Bol. All I can say is that I hope it works out.
continue reading after the jump for simpler news!
1) Josh Smith, 6-9, Kent (Wash.) Kentwood
2) Brandon Cataldo, 6-9, Rainier (Ore.) High Portland State
3) Jordan Railey, 6-9, Beaverton (Ore.) High
4) Simi Fajemisin, 6-9, Lynwood (Wash.) High
5) Johnny McArthur, 6-8, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle Santa Clara
6) Alex Kirk, 6-10, Los Alamos (New Mexico) High
7) John Ryan, 6-8, El Segundo (Calif.) High
8) Darrel Haley, Jr., 6-9, Palmdale (Calif.) High
9) Michael Kurtz, 6-10, Roseville (Calif.) Woodcreek
10) Dennis Kramer, 6-8, Carlsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon
Greg Hicks covers the West Coast recruiting scene and recently published this list of the top centers on the West Coast. A name Gonzaga fans should know is Simi Fajemisin. He will be visiting Spokane on September 25th and it is very good news to see him above guys like Alex Kirk and Johnny McArthur. Obviously these rankings are one man's opinion but Kirk and McArthur were former Gonzaga targets. In fact, Kirk was at one time one of the most sought after prospects on the left coast. His drop in the rankings has been relatively shocking.
Your depressing mid-major post for today - Beyond the Arc - msnbc.com
I wasn't planning on including this post into this mornings Zags Around the Web but after reading it and hearing about the lack of strong mid-majors recently in college basketball, it seemed like a good forum to bring this up. Basically this article is a piggybacking of an earlier piece written by the outstanding college basketball blogger, Gary Parrish. The author links a few good pieces of reading material to back his story up but the crux of the article is that the gap between mid-majors and "BCS" schools is widening and is only getting worse by the minute. The overall tone is pretty disturbing and I reside in the camp that thinks we can buck this trend.
Gonzaga is the exception to the rule regarding the mid-major ranks being a grooming area for coaches looking to hit big with the BCS boys. Mark Few has created stability and that has turned into increased investment in the basketball program. Was it a perfect storm that happened in Gonzaga? You could say that but I feel like a similar thing is happening right now at Portland and hopefully San Diego. Like Coach Reveno told us in our interview with him earlier this summer, it's about the people in charge and dedication they show. If you get the dedication of good coaches and a good administration in a decent enough city, the investment and money will come. Just look at how basketball has transformed Gonzaga University. It's bound to repeat itself at one time and their are plenty of good things getting started in the mid-major ranks that have