Over the next several months, you are going to be seeing a lot of articles and tweets that basically say "2015 prospect (insert name here) has been offered by Gonzaga" or "Gonzaga is now showing interest in (insert name here)". As recruiting junkies, you will likely be hearing a lot of those reports from our site as, well, we can't restrain ourselves. Since Gonzaga just finished up its 2014 recruiting class with the addition of Domantas Sabonis, there has not been a whole lot of focus on the 2015 class. With that, I think it is best if we take a broad look at the 2015 cycle before diving into the plethora of prospects
The current state
As it stands right now, here is how the Gonzaga scholarship chart looks...
With the Byron Wesley transfer news, the above may change in the near future but this is what we know right now. As everyone knows, this coming season is the finale for Gary Bell and Kevin Pangos. This is a huge void for the staff to fill but, on paper, they have assembled an incredible group to do so with the 2014 class. Josh Perkins is slated to be the point guard of the future, Silas Melson is a perfect off guard to complement him, and Bryan Alberts has the talent to play any spot in the backcourt. So, if the 2014 class is replacing those guys, then what should we expect in 2015?
Evaluating the 'needs'
If everyone stays until then, the 2016 graduating class will consist of three very talented bigs: Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski, and Angel Nunez. As it stands, all that will be remaining is Ryan Edwards, Luke Meikle, and Domantas Sabonis. Obviously, the staff will want to get some young bigs in place before those three graduate and the 2015 class seems like a great opportunity to do so. When you consider the fact that Sabonis, Edwards, and Meikle are still relatively unknown commodities, the staff will definitely want to bolster the depth in the post.
Gonzaga has been sorely lacking talent at the wing position for some time. We see it with the staff's pursuit of Bryon Wesley that this is a spot they want to address now and moving forward. When looking at the 2014 recruiting class, they each excel in many ways but none are true slashing wings. Knowing some of the talent in 2015, this is a place where the staff can get very aggressive and get an instant impact player to come in and boost the 2014 class.
I have virtually no doubt that Josh Perkins is going to be the point guard of the future for Gonzaga but when Kevin Pangos graduates, he'll be the only pure point guard on the roster. Since Jesse Wade won't be on campus until the 2017 season, the staff will definitely consider getting someone in 2015 that can backup Perkins.
Ok, so what happens next?
Before we throw around any names, it is super important to understand how fluid recruiting is. Take the 2014 class for example. This time last year, we knew all about Josh Perkins. He was the main priority for Mark Few throughout the cycle but the rest of the class developed over time. Silas Melson and Bryan Alberts were definitely on the radar but there were other names that many were more focused on. Heck, at this time last year, most of us probably didn't even know Arvydas Sabonis had sons. Now look where we are at. In terms of 'rules' I maintain for following recruiting:
Offers mean little until they are backed up with visits
This is one of my biggest pet peeves with recruiting. Gonzaga is currently talking to probably 25-30 prospects right now. A number of those have received serious interest from the staff and have been verbally extended an opportunity to visit campus. That news is often times reported as a scholarship offer but it is important to understand that the staff weighs official visits very heavily. Thus, until a prospect steps foot on campus in Spokane, there is little reason to get bent out of shape. Offers mean little, visits mean a whole lot.
Buckle up, because it is going to be frustrating
I can absolutely guarantee this one. We all get caught up from time to time wondering 'how could the staff have missed on player x" or "how could they choose player y or player z". Most of the time, however, it turns out the staff does know a thing or two and of course, you can never, ever ever ever forget:
The foreign element
I don't really need to run down the list of foreign players that have made a big impact at Gonzaga but, in looking at the scholarship chart above, 3 of the 13 current players were living in a different country before coming to Spokane. At this point, I think it would be surprising if there wasn't a foreign player in Gonzaga's 2015 class given Tommy Lloyd's track record of locking in top talent from abroad.