Multiple sources are reporting this evening that Mark Few has landed one of top players on the West Coast in the 2011 recruiting class. Gary Bell Jr., has verbally given his commitment to Gonzaga and becomes the second Zag commit of the 2011 cycle joining Idaho combo guard Kyle Dranginis.
Bell, who has long been a blog and fan favorite has offers from UCLA, Arizona State, UCLA, Cal, and Washington. Mark Few has been on Gary for as long as I can remember and all his hard work has paid off tonight as this has to be one of the biggest commitments since the Daye, Gray, Sacre class of 2007.
He has been skyrocketing up recruiting boards since last summer when he blew up while playing for the Seattle Rotary AAU team alongside star players such as Tony Wroten and Josh Smith. While Bell didn't accumulate huge stats last summer, he impressed scouts with his ability to let the game come to him and dictate the flow of the game. He is a perfect fit at guard for a Mark Few offense and his scoring output at Kentridge this past season was nothing short of remarkable. Bell averaged well over 20 points a game and had one game of 55 points.
Here is a quote from Gary about his playing style in a recent Scout.com article:
"I like being the leader on the team and being more vocal, leading by example and picking up my team," Bell said. "I like doing that." He's put in a lot of work in the gym with his father on fundamentals like bounce passes, chest passes and reading defenses. "Usually in the game, it's been working," he added.
There is no doubt in my mind that Gary has everything it takes to be the next great Gonzaga guard. We look forward to seeing what he does this summer and in his senior season. Huge night for the Zags and Mark Few!!!
UPDATE: Great stuff from Jim Meehan with an excellent quote from Gary's father, Gary Bell Sr:
"He liked the family atmosphere, the players, the coaches. They definitely made him feel real welcome," Gary Bell Sr. said. "It's just a good family atmosphere and it's a winning program. Everybody embraced him. As soon as he left from shaking Coach (Mark) Few's hand and went to the hotel, he said, ‘I'm ready.'
"I told him, ‘OK son, sleep on it.' Today he came in and said, ‘I think I want to commit. I told him I was 100 percent behind him."
UPDATE #2: Good article from the Seattle Times with more quotes from Gary Sr.
"Everything fit right in place for him," said the senior Bell. "It was a family atmosphere, but the program's big enough to where he could play and get exposure.
"The academic part was just a no-brainer — 15, 16 kids to a class, it just fit perfectly for him."
UPDATE #3: Rivals.com's Jeff Eisenberg talked to Gary and shared a few details via his Twitter account:
"Gary Bell on why he chose Gonzaga: 1. Recruited him b4 anyone else 2. Liked Mark Few / staff 3. Wants to play in the NCAA tourney each year"
Gary Bell said Washington and Cal were runners-up. "Didn't get a real good vibe" from UCLA, especially after Donny Daniels left for Gonzaga.
Looks like we can give Donny Daniels an early hockey style assist for getting Bell's verbal.