As Gonzaga has ascended to one of the elite programs in the country, one thing that has been consistent nearly the entire time is the presence of an elite PG. With the position having so much responsibility in the system that Mark Few runs, the Gonzaga coaching staff has always been very careful in identifying recruits that fit from both a physical and mental stand point.
With Josh Perkins set to take over the reigns from Kevin Pangos, and 2015 commit Jesse Wade not enrolling until after his Mormon mission, the GU staff knows how important securing an elite 2016 PG will be. However, it turns out that the Bulldogs didn't need to look far, as a Northwest native has emerged as their top target in 2016.
West Linn PG Payton Pritchard has emerged as the priority PG for Gonzaga over the past six months. The elite PG got a good look at the program two weeks ago when he made an unofficial visit to Spokane.
"I enjoyed the players and coaches a lot," he emphasized. "They showed me how they play and how I would fit in. They also told me more about the academics. The atmosphere around the team and the city is awesome."
The visit was just the next step in a relationship that has been building fast over the past year.
"That's how it feels and that is what they have been telling me," Pritchard said of being the priority for Gonzaga. "Our relationship builds everyday and I'm planning to take another visit there in January to see a game."
As a great leader (his team has won the past two Oregon state championships) and an elite shooter from the perimeter, Pritchard has a lot of similarities to current Zag, Kevin Pangos.
"The coaches talked to me about that," said Payton of how he would fit. "That's a big-time comparison. He is an awesome player and most definitely someone to look up to. "
"They (Gonzaga) push the ball and let their guards shoot it. They run an offense that fits my game."
Pritchard has offers from many elite schools around the country. While he is looking to cut his list soon, a decision date still hasn't been decided.
"I've always thought about making my decision early," revealed Pritchard. "I guess it will just come down to feeling when I know the right fit, but I'm not sure when I will make it. There are some schools a like a lot. I'll be cutting down my list soon, but I'm not sure who will be on it, but I know Gonzaga will for sure make it."