Note: Jesse Wade will officially sign his letter of intent at 12:30 PM pacific
The early signing period is here in college basketball and it is a bit different for the Bulldogs this time around. A year ago, Gonzaga was in the midst of assembling what is arguably the best recruiting class on paper. Josh Perkins, Silas Melson, and Bryan Alberts signed on the dotted line on this day a year ago and Domantas Sabonis was not too far behind.
This year, things are noticeably quieter. Part of the reason is that 2014 was so loud - and it had to be as it is a major transition class as these are the guys that will take the reins from the Pangos and Bell era, but part of the reason is that the Zags only have one commit in the 2015 class. Furthermore, that one commit will actually not step on campus as an official member of the program until 2017.
Jesse Wade will be the only prospect signing with the Zags today, pending some crazy international surprise which has been known to happen in the past. Wade hails from Utah and is a member of the LDS faith meaning that he will have to go on a two year mission following his graduation from high school. What we know about Wade, however, is that he will be well worth the wait upon his return.
We've outlined some of Wade's strengths in the past but he possesses many of the skills that have made Kevin Pangos such a solid performer for the Zags. A very heady point guard, Wade made some huge waves this past summer in the AAU season showing scouts that he could thrive against elite level competition. He's an outstanding spot up shooter and has surprising quickness off the dribble to get into the lane effectively. At 5'11'', the question will be his ability to defend at this level but with the Zags targeting several guards in the 2016 class, he will have time to get acclimated to D1 basketball upon his return from mission.
As with all prospects that serve these missions, it would not surprise me to see Wade redshirt when he does hit campus in 2017. Basketball is obviously not the focal point of these missions so it will take some time for him to get back into his current shape. This is why we have seen the staff actively recruit elite guards in 2016 such as Payton Pritchard. We will likely see a very skilled point guard join that class, whether or not that is Pritchard remains to be seen.
Here are some highlights from recent competition: