Kyle Dranginis looks to break the rotation right away and provide a spark for the ZAGS in 2012-13. Kyle used a redshirt last year to gain strength and adjust to the speed of the D-1 game. Mark Few and staff have a knack for finding hidden gems, and I believe they found one in Dranginis. The 2x Gatorade and Idaho State Player of the Year was an under radar recruit heading into college which allowed GU to swoop in on him early and grab a commitment in 2010. Personally, Kyle is a player on the Zags roster that I have been most intrigued with since his commitment.
Unlike Pangos and Bell, which garnered most of the attention out the 2011 recruiting class, Dranginis has patiently waited for his opportunity to showcase his skills, something I have been looking forward to since he made the trek to Spokane. While hearing the comparisons to some of my favorite ZAGS in Bouldin and Stepp, Dranginis looks to establish his own name at Gonzaga while providing the same type of impact. I had the opportunity to see him play during Kraziness in the Kennel last year and I was impressed with how smooth he was on the floor as well as his court vision. Kyle also played vs. Carrol College last season where he logged in 18 minutes of play, in which during that time he scored 9 points and dished out 6 assists.
High School: Dranginis had a solid senior season with the Skyview Hawks out of Nampa, ID with 24 ppg, 5 apg, 9 rbg, and 2 spg. To top it off, Kyle had a record breaking game where he poured in 54 points on 20/26 shooting.
AAU Club: While playing for club team Boise Flight, Dranginis really started to gain attention when competing in the Super 64 AAU Tournament in Las Vegas. Here is what Joel Francisco an ESPN recruiting analysis expert had to say about Kyle:
Every year during the Las Vegas AAU circuit, there are always a few players that take their game to another level. 6-8 C Erik Copes (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter), 6-7 SF Antwan Space (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) and 6-5 PG Kyle Dranginis (Nampa, Idaho/Skyview) took advantage of their opportunities.
Copes, who is committed to George Washington, is a relentless competitor who rebounds in traffic and block shots at a high rate. Due to his play and effort, he should be a member of the ESPNU Top 100 by the time the new rankings come out. Space is a hybrid 3-man who can score inside and out, including a smooth 3-point shot. Dranginis may be the best kept secret out West. The rangy combo-guard doesn't have great quickness, but he has tremendous savvy as well as a feathery touch out to 23 feet.
To most of us Dranginis is a bit of a mystery. Idaho isn't exactly a priority area in the recruiting pipeline, and I have heard some skepticism regarding Dranginis for that reason. Some folks automatically downgrade players due to location, I tend to pay little attention to it. Dranginis was recruited by the staff because of his versatility, his understanding of the game, and his ability to control the tempo. GU has always been a program that plays a cerebral game and Kyle fits Mark Few's system perfectly. His ability to see the floor, exceptional shooting, and knack to thread the pass is going to add another dimension to an already explosive offense.
One of the questions coming into the season is where Dranginis will log most of his minutes. With his size and versatility it is a safe bet we will see him at positions 1-3 depending on matchups, style of game, or foul trouble. He will also fill the void that was left from the departure of Monninghoff and Keita this off season. To be successful at Gonzaga you have to be a complete player, something that both Keita and Monninghoff struggled to find. Kyle has the tools to step into those roles and really make some noise. It will be an interesting to monitor the playing time Dranginis will receive as the season progresses. Naturally, Kyle will go through some growing pains early on like most young players, but I expect him to find consistency sooner than later.
Bottom Line- Kyle is a player that I have been most excited about for quite some time. He has worked hard throughout the last year honing in on his skills and adding muscle. His ability to play multiple positions, high basketball IQ and overall feel for the game is going to be a treat for us to watch the next four years. We have all heard of the phenomonal chemistry that Pangos, Bell, and Dranginis have off the court, watching how they apply this on the court is something I have been anticipating. As Gary Bell quoted last year regarding all of them taking the court together "its gonna be a problem".