Rui Hachimura announced that he has met Gonzaga's academic requirements and will enroll at Gonzaga University in time for the 2016-17 season, the Japan Times reported on Wednesday.
This is the first confirmation that Hachimura will be ready. Previously, reports seemed to suggest that he would possibly reclassify for the 2017-18 season due to academics. But it appears that that hurdle has been passed.
Hachimura put his nose to the grindstone made of books recently, and has met Gonzaga's SAT and GPA requirements. The Japan Times states he will attend Gonzaga's English Language Center starting at the end of this month to polish his English, and he will be in the United States as early as this weekend.
According to Hachimura, he has no plans to redshirt as a freshman, but of course that will come at the decision of the coaches.
“I’d like to play in games from the first year, that’s what I’m thinking,” said Hachimura, who was a nearly invincible presence on the floor in high school and guided Meisei to the championship at the All-Japan High School Tournament in each of the last three years.
Hachimura is only the fifth Japanese player to play for a NCAA D1 program.
This is a big deal for a lot of reasons. Fran Fraschilla likened Hachimura to Elias Harris and said he has a lot of room to grow.
The academics will be something to monitor over his time with Gonzaga, especially considering the language barrier. But as of now, it is great news to have him with an already loaded Zags team.