Over the past few years, Gonzaga has extended its recruiting footprint into the Seattle area. Guys like Steven Gray and Gary Bell Jr. have come from the West Side of Washington and have immediately stepped in and made huge contributions to the program. Given this success, it wasn't surprising to hear that the Gonzaga coaching staff had started to express interest in D.j. Fenner, a talented 2013 wing from Seattle Prep.
Fenner is coming off an impressive junior season at Seattle Prep, as he averaged 18.2 ppg for a team that finished second in the 3A state tournament. Fenner has continued his impressive play this Summer with Seattle Rotary, which has led to a boom in his recruitment. In order to get the latest on his evolving game and recruitment, we caught up with D.J for a detailed update.
TSSF: You emerged as one of the scorers in Seattle during your junior season. How did your game improve this past season and what were the keys to your success?
D.J. Fenner: The first half of the season for me was terrible. I was just playing bad, but then I started buying into Coach Mike Kelly's system which definitely improved my game. Earlier in the season I was more worried about how many shots I'm going to take rather than how hard I was gonna set a screen or how quickly I was going to get into help on defense. Once i started getting my shots through the flow and rhythm of the offense I started playing way better.
Interview continue after the jump
TSSF: How has your AAU season been going with Seattle Rotary? How have you played and what is your schedule like the rest of the Summer with Rotary? Do you have any tournaments or team camps planned with Seattle Prep this Summer?
D.J: Rotary this Spring has been great. I love my teammates and coaches like family. It's about more than just basketball when we travel together, its like a brotherhood. It's been great on the court as well. Our relationships off the court are what make us such a strong team. Nobody ball hogs or pouts, we play defense, and we play together. I have been playing great because of my teammates. I believe I'm the leading scorer and that's only because of my teammates. But we go to Myrtle Beach, SC, and Vegas for the fab 48 in July.
We are in a few local tournaments this June including Garfield's Bulldog Bash, and Franklin's Quaker Slam. We also have a team camp at Gonzaga University the weekend of June 17th
TSSF: What areas of your game are you really looking to improve heading into your senior season and beyond?
D.J: My main focus this summer going into my Senior season is to improve my ball handling, jumping ability, and three point shot. I am going to need to be able to run the 1 and 2 this year. My first time running the point guard for an organized team, and I know I am going to need to improve my jumping ability to get ready for college. Not only am i preparing for my senior season at Prep, but also my Freshman year at (blank) lol.
TSSF: What schools have you been hearing from the most since the AAU season began? Which schools have offered at this point?
D.J.: Many new schools began reaching out to me since AAU started, mainly from the Real Deal in the Rock at Arkansas, where I had a great showing. All the new schools are Gonzaga, USC, Air Force, Oregon, Pepperdine, Portland State, WSU, UC Irvine, and a few other smaller schools. The only school that has "officially" offered is Seattle University.
TSSF: When did you start hearing from Gonzaga? Which coach has been most involved in recruiting you?
D.J.: I started hearing from Gonzaga the day after Real Deal at the Rock. Coach Ray Giacoletti called me and we had a great conversation. That's when I really started liking the school. I had seen them at a couple of the games in Arkansas and I was hoping they were recruiting me because I actually like Gonzaga.
TSSF.: Have you taken unofficial visits to any schools yet? Do you have any plans to head over to Spokane for a visit?
D.J.: My only unofficials have been Virgina, Vilanova, Georgetown, and SU. I plan on taking an unofficial to Gonzaga the weekend of June 17th since we'll be there for a team camp