The future backcourt of Gonzaga basketball is about to be signed, sealed, and delivered.
The early signing period for the 2014 recruiting class begins today and all three of the current Bulldog verbal commits are expected to make it official in the early period. As it stands right now, the class consists solely of backcourt players that all received plenty of division one interest and project to be very solid contributors at Gonzaga University. As we have pointed out before, this class is of major importance because it will be the heir apparent to the program after guys like Bell, Pangos, Coleman, and Karnowski depart Spokane.
The members of #ZagClass14...
Leading the class is point guard Josh Perkins from Denver, Colorado. Perkins, who now plays for Huntington Prep in West Virginia, is one of the most highly decorated commits in the Mark Few era. According to Scout.com, Perkins is the fifth best point guard in the 2014 class and during the spring and early summer, he was in the conversation as being the best point guard in the class. Perkins is a special talent who is tailor-made for Mark Few's system. 247's Jerry Meyer said that Perkins was one of the best passers he has ever evaluated which is saying a lot as Meyer is one of the most trusted and tenured scouts in the business. I had the privilege of seeing Perkins play several times in high school when he was at Regis Jesuit in Colorado and during the AAU season and his skill set is incredible. If he can continue working on his set perimeter jumper, he will have all the tools to be one of the best guards to come to Spokane.
UPDATE: Perkins is OFFICIAL!
Officially a bulldog! #zagup— Josh Perkins (@JoshPerkins03) November 13, 2013
Gonzaga's first commitment in the 2014 class was Silas Melson from Portland, Oregon, Standing at 6'2'', Melson is a prototypical off guard that can fill it up. When he arrives at Gonzaga, he will likely remind some fans of Steven Gray as he has a great stroke but can also get to the rack. If he continues to develop as a ball handler, he could surprise fans and make a very quick impact on next year's team. While Perkins is the odds on point guard of the future, Mark Few's teams operate most effectively when it is composed of a versatile backcourt, much like we are seeing this year with Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell, and company.
The most recent commitment in the 2014 class actually cam from probably the oldest name on the prospect sheet. Bryan Alberts, from Village Christian High School in California, completes the backcourt trio as he is likely to slide into the small forward role. At 6'4'', Alberts has primarily played point guard in high school but it is expected that he will make a position switch as he is a very talented scorer that can slash and get to the bucket. We spoke with the director of his AAU program, Robert Icart, over a year ago and he had rave reviews for his point guard including this great quote:
"We like him as a point. He is a big guard and weights right around 205. He is similar to Matt Bouldin but a bit bouncier and more athletic and he can guard the point guard position. He (Bryan) is like a $1,500 bottle of red wine. He is very smooth, composed and his whole game just comes together. He doesn't get rattled and plays the game at his own tempo and very efficient."
UPDATE: ALBERTS IS OFFICIAL:
Bryan Alberts signs with Gonzaga University @GonzagaBulldogs @ZagWBB pic.twitter.com/6LdSd17UCR— VCS Athletics (@VCSAthletics) November 13, 2013
Is it done?
It is hard for me to believe that the staff has completed their 2014 class with these three guards. While I think most Gonzaga fans would be perfectly content with these three and Kyle Wiltjer, an incoming transfer from Kentucky, my gut tells me we'll see an addition to this class. Given the staff's track record, it would not surprise me at all if this person came from overseas. Tommy Lloyd has been recruiting several international prospects, most notably Domantas Sabonis. While news of the Sabonis situation has been slow to come in as of late, Gonzaga is sitll in the picture for the talented big man. The staff was hard after Minnesota forward Reid Travis who committed to Stanford last week and I am guessing that they are still sorting through their plan of attack following that disappointment. In looking at the scholarship situation, it is possible that the staff could decide to wait until the 2015 class to bring in a few big men but if they can land a skilled international player to groom, it would be ideal.