If Gonzaga's 2011 recruiting class was missing anything, it was a little international flair. Three of Mark Few's previous four recruiting classes have included a player from outside the United States and that trend continues with the addition of Canada's Kevin Pangos to the 2011 class.
In 2007, Mark Few scored Robert Sacre from Canada, in 2009 he brought in Canadians Manny Arop, Bol Kong, and Kelly Olynyk along with Germany's Elias Harris and in 2010 he welcomed French guard Mathis Keita and German wing Mathis Monninghoff. Pangos' addition to the 2011 class is a huge get for the staff and he will be a key contributor in Spokane for a long time.
Unlike a Manny Arop or Kelly Olynyk; Kevin Pangos never seemed to fly under the radar. The first time I had heard of Kevin he was already being compared to Steve Nash. The hype has not ceased yet and I don't expect it to now that Pangos is a Gonzaga Bulldog. Don't get me wrong, the 6'2'' point guard has done his fair share to earn such praise. From averaging 15 points a game in the recent FIBA U-17 games and being named the top point guard in the tournament to becoming the youngest Canadian to ever compete in a senior men's international game; Kevin seems to fit the bill in terms of a big time point guard.
After the jump, we will examine what we know about Kevin and piece together what appears to be a completed 2011 recruiting class for Mark Few and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
For all intents and purposes, Kevin Pangos appears to fit the phrase "pure point guard" to perfection. I've probably read 20 articles regarding Pangos over the past hour to try and cram as much information in my head as possible. When I think about all these articles, there is definitely a few common themes/descriptions regarding Kevin. The first one is: leader, floor general, and extremely high basketball IQ. A quote from DraftExpress:
There's something very comforting about having your point guard be your unquestioned team leader. Even though the end result wasn't always perfect, I always felt confident that Jeremy Pargo was the unquestioned leader when he ran point at Gonzaga. A season ago, I felt that there was a major void in terms of a player that everyone knew would put the team on their back. By these accounts, it sounds like Pangos has plenty of experience with taking teams and elevating them to the next level by making plays and being a great leader. The description above almost sounds like Pargo's will and drive combined with Matt Bouldin's on court-savvy and raw play making ability. These traits are what has made Kevin such a widely respected prospect.
Sometimes lost in the praise over his ability to manage a team and make great decisions are Kevin's actual basketball skills. I love this quote from a recent Scout.com article:
The other thing he can do, he can really shoot the ball. Every time it comes out of his hands you think it’s going in
Max and I have been watching reports on Pangos very closely over the past three years and his progression as a shooter has been astounding. When we first heard about him, his strengths were basketball IQ but his weaknesses were his shooting ability and size. Now, one of his greatest strengths is as a shooter. DraftExpress describes Kevin as someone who thrives in pull-up situations rather than taking the ball straight to the rim. His mid-range game is without a doubt his greatest strength as a shooter and, when you combine that with his innate ability to locate assists in traffic, it is easy to see why he was such a highly coveted prospect.
There will inevitably be growing pains with any recruit and Kevin's situation is particularly interesting because their was some thought about him attending prep school for a year and being a member of the 2012 recruiting cycle. With his decision to come straight after high school, you have to wonder if a redshirt season is in the cards. Mark Few will have eight guards at his disposal next year so it will be interesting to see what the staff decides to do with the 2011 group as a whole. Gary Bell appears to be a shoe-in to play right away with his athletic ability and defensive prowess but Dranginis and Pangos will be one's to watch.