Typically, we don't need to hype the Memphis game any more than usual because it is always a clash of two solid teams. With Gonzaga looking to be high double-digit favorites over Memphis this time, however, it seems like a good time to take a look at some off the court action this weekend that could have a huge bearing on coming seasons. As reported, there are a pair of high level recruits heading to Spokane this weekend for official visits. Nolan Narain, a native of Canada, and Sam Cunliffe from the Seattle area will be in attendance as the Bulldogs welcome the Tigers.
Narain has gotten a huge amount of buzz over the past several weeks as his stock continues to rise in recruiting circles. He's a smooth 6'9'' power forward that currently plays for La Lumiere Prep School in Indiana. He's a phenomenal athlete and was recently ranked as the No. 38 prospect in the class of 2016 regardless of position and the 5th best power forward. There has been some chatter that Narain might reclassify to the 2015 class but, for now, he's still a 2016 prospect. He has a visit scheduled to San Diego State in March but nothing else is planned at this time. The folks at 247 Sports believe the Zags are the leader for his services at this point but with Illinois, Florida, and many other big time programs chasing, it will be a tough recruitment for the Zags.
We've been closely watching combo guard Sam Cunliffe's recruitment for several months and, over that time, his stock has risen very quickly. The 6'6'' 2016 prospect is in the mold of a Matt Bouldin type guard who can score in a variety of ways and create for his teammates. As you would expect, Cunliffe runs point for his team a majority of the time but he'll likely play off the ball as he heads to college. He's getting good interest from many big time programs but Gonzaga has been on him consistently. This is from our update with him in November:
"I get four or five recruiting calls everyday, but I can tell you that the one consistent call is from Gonzaga," Cunliffe revealed. "They check how my day went and see how everything is going. Out of all the schools recruiting me, they know more about me as a person. Coach Michaelson talks to me a lot and Coach Few has called me a couple of times. Coach Few has called me the most of any head coach. The conversations are really in-depth and they show interested they are in me."
Cunliffe also took in the Battle in Seattle earlier this season but the official visit against Memphis should be a whole different atmosphere.
2016 continues to look like it will be a very stellar class for the Bulldogs. With prospects like Cunliffe and Narain along with other high level guys like Zach Collins, it could be a huge group pulled by Mark Few and company.