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Gonzaga Recruits Shine in Early Season Games

The future, as always, remains bright

Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review

The 2019-2020 High School Season is now in full force with holiday tournaments and top high school showcases all over the place. Gonzaga 2020 and 2021 recruits have been at the forefront of the action, putting up some eye-popping stat lines and proving their ability to play at a high-level Division 1 university.

2020 guard Dominick Harris - Rancho Christian (CA)

Harris committed to Gonzaga so long ago that he’s going to feel like a veteran when he finally steps foot on campus. His squad was part of the Hoophall West showcase this past weekend. According to several witnesses, Harris and his teammate Evan Mobley shined. He hit five threes in a win over Rainier Beach on Friday and averaged 20 points in their two wins. He also has a Youtube Documentary that is ongoing. If you haven’t been watching, feel free to do so. It’s a cool look inside the person and family that has been a loyal Zag for two years already.

2020 Wing Julian Strawther - Liberty High School (NV)

Strawther turned a lot of heads with his performance in the FIBA U-19 World Cup for Puerto Rico. He’s picked up where he left off in Greece. The talented 6’7 wing poured in 48 points in his season opener and then followed it up with 51 points in the Hoophall West Showcase, breaking the scoring record for the tournament. He can score the ball at all three levels, but is especially efficient attacking the rim. In his 51 point game, he was 15-for-17 inside the arc. He continued his torrid start last night with a 38 point, 14 rebound performance that included 31 in the second half. Strawther and Harris face off against each other this Saturday night, which should be a ton of fun. Each of them won MVP awards in the Hoophall Showcase.

2020 Guard Jalen Suggs - Minnehaha Academy (MN)

The top priority recruit for the Zags had a tremendous football season that fell just short of a state championship. He was named Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Minnesota. He showed no rust stepping back on the hardwood as he put up 30 points in his season debut last week. The plan is to announce his decision on January 4th. All signs point to Gonzaga still, but the lingering rumors of playing professionally make some Zag fans a little nervous. If he does join Harris and Strawther to form the #TrickyTrio, Gonzaga fans will be drooling at the lineup possibilities for next season, especially with the stark improvement of Joel Ayayi.

2021 Forward Kaden Perry - Battle Ground (WA)

When Perry committed to Gonzaga over the summer, many people immediately hoped he would become Brandon Clarke 2.0. That may be a high bar to achieve, but he’s certainly on his way. His opening night stat line: 29 points, 26 rebounds, 5 blocks. He followed that up with 27 points against 5-star big man Nathan Bittle and then scored a game-high 18 points on Monday to help his team get to 3-0. Perry is going to shoot up recruiting boards and should absolutely finish top 50 and flirt with 5-star status by the time he graduates.

2021 Athlete Chet Holmgren - Minnehaha Academy (MN)

It’s hard to classify what position Holmgren really plays. He’s got a guard skill set in a seven-footer’s body. But whatever he is, he is a tremendous basketball player. He’s unanimously ranked in the top five of the 2021 class, and in case you forgot, plays on the same high school team as Jalen Suggs. In his first game of the season, he scored 29. When Suggs made his debut a game later and dropped 30, Holmgren complemented him with 10 points, 10 boards, and six blocks. All indications point to Gonzaga having a good chance with Holmgren, and that isn’t just smoke. If they add Holmgren to Kaden Perry... watch out.

2021 Forward Paolo Banchero - O’Dea (WA)

Banchero was at the Gonzaga-Washington game this past Sunday. Gonzaga coaches were in to see him the following day and Banchero will have his official visit next month. Will it be enough to overcome the strong Washington influence and other top programs in pursuit? We’ll see. Banchero has also expressed interest in playing together with Kennedy Chandler, a point guard from Memphis. Both are being recruited hard by Tennessee. O’Dea is one of the best teams in the state of Washington this season, regardless of classification. Banchero is an absolute freak. He’s quick, he’s strong as hell, and he’s incredibly explosive. He has all the tools and the build to be a professional real fast. He scored 17 in their opener.