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View Full Version : Something I Heard Yesterday - 2009-10



BobZag
04-02-2009, 11:03 AM
While making some phone calls yesterday something that intrigued and excited me almost as much as Few staying, was how highly the staff thinks of the incoming class of 2009 (plus the two redshirts).

One person said this class will be better than the 2007 class, it just doesn't show due to all the foreign newcomers, and recruiting services don't know them.

The consensus is that Elias Harris will be the standout of this group; the staff thinks he will be something special, that he already is real good and is mature enough to step right in and make an impact.

Bol Kong is also highly regarded by the coaches and will give Elias a run for who is the star of the 2009 class.

They are also very high on Sam Dower and how he has kept improving and getting better almost on a weekly basis. He could be the biggest steal since Turiaf or Violette or Batista (keeping the list to bigs only).

Mangisto Arop is expected to come up big but it may take a year, plus Kelly Olynyk's future looks very bright down the road a ways.

But the thing that really struck me most was how everyone, to a man, said how this is the most athletic, long, skilled and D1-ready class Gonzaga has ever brought in, even more so than the Daye-Gray-Sacre class of 2007. But Rivals and Scout has not built up these 2009 guys since four of them are not in the USA.

More later...

Zagpower
04-02-2009, 11:08 AM
It just gets better and better every year.

cggonzaga
04-02-2009, 11:17 AM
But the thing that really struck me most was how everyone, to a man, said how this is the most athletic, long, skilled and D1-ready class Gonzaga has ever brought in, even more so than the Daye-Gray-Sacre class of 2007

Not to mention how much "tougher" they all seem to be. They sound like a bunch of guys willing to play defense and rebound the basketball. I've been very excited about this class for a long time.

guardu
04-02-2009, 11:25 AM
This kind of re-established what I've though while thinking about this class, and that is that I think the staff really made a priority to recruit some true athletes. More so than in the past. Don't get me wrong I love who we have and have had in the past, but it seems that their priority shifted to quicker, stronger guys with Harris, Kong, and Arop than in the past. Everything I've read about Olnyk though makes me think of Daye. Long, lean, can shoot it, but needs to bulk up.

Looking forward to seeing all these guys grow and mesh together with the rest, and also see if their re-alignment in theory of recruiting pans out. My belief is that it most certainly will. The 2011-2013 Zags will certainly be of a bit different flavor of basketball I'd say.

CDC84
04-02-2009, 11:33 AM
This also explains, in part, why Few wasn't very interested in moving on to the rebuilding jobs that will be taking place at Oregon and Arizona.

Angelo Roncalli
04-02-2009, 11:43 AM
This also explains, in part, why Few wasn't very interested in moving on to the rebuilding jobs that will be taking place at Oregon and Arizona.

I don't think people realize what a disaster Arizona is going to be for some time. It will be at least as bad as the situation Tom Crean took on Bloomington, if not worse.

SpokastSports
04-02-2009, 11:56 AM
I completely agree Angelo. They did smart picking Floyd though. Helluva recruiter. I think it's two years until they're what USC was this year. We'll see how long it will be until and if they become the Arizona of old.

duper
04-02-2009, 11:56 AM
wow I didn't expect that at all. Its just more gravy.

ZagAddict
04-02-2009, 11:56 AM
I'd be real skeptical of the Arizona job until learning what the NCAA sanctions are going to be... I guess they are expected to rule by May 1st. I just don't understand why Tim Floyd would make this move :confused:

mainer6
04-02-2009, 11:57 AM
Thank you for the insights guys. Your enthusiasm is contagious.

spudzag
04-02-2009, 12:01 PM
Thanks for the update BZ. This class speaks volume for the staff's recruiting efforts. It is a whole different process to search out this kind of talent than to compete with the BCS schools for the well understood talent. Congradulations to Few & Co. I can't wait to see how this groups develops.

Equally interesting, to me anyway, will be to watch the recruiting develop this summer and see what surprises Few has in mind for us.

applezag
04-02-2009, 12:08 PM
Not to mention how much "tougher" they all seem to be. They sound like a bunch of guys willing to play defense and rebound the basketball. I've been very excited about this class for a long time.

This is the huge question mark for me with any recruiting class. It's rare that you hear about guys being mentally or physically soft coming in, because it's usually 90% hype and 10% realism. It's pretty easy to watch a guy and say what he can do skill-wise and say what they are in terms of physical dimensions. What we won't know until they put on a Zag uniform is how mentally tough and physical they are. I'm less concerned about physical strength than I am about mental toughness and willingness to battle--Mark Spink is one of the skinniest Zags ever and never backed down from anyone. Some of these guys have dominated their whole lives and now they will be tested as they get to DI basketball. I am excited about what is coming in, but what will determine if they can maintain or even elevate the program's success is yet to be seen.

hockeyzag
04-02-2009, 12:08 PM
Man I love this kind of stuff. Bobzag's getting me all excited!

It's hard to speculate how good players are going to be, I had the idea in my head this whole time that Manny was going to be the best of the bunch.

He played so well in last year's tournament for Team Canada.


Earlier this year, Arop and the NEDA team represented Canada at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim, Germany. In it's 50th year, this bi-annual event is often seen as the prequel to the U19 world championships, as top prospects from 16 teams around the globe compete. Arop led the entire tournament in rebounds (11.3 rpg), and averaged 20.5 points (third), 2.5 steals(sixth)and 2.8 assists (14th overall).

http://www.basketball.ca/en/hm/inside.php?sid=1&id=2521

And then there was this when Canada played Team USA (where Manny had a game high 21 points to go with 9 rebounds):

What does it say about the will to win that this team has to go on that 12-0 run in the fourth quarter after Canada cut the lead to single digits?
I believe they only cut it to an eight point deficit and we answered right away. The offensive glass of Ryan Kelly, JaMychal (Green) and Travis (Wear) down the stretch was very important to us. Canada had a great performance by Mangisto Arop. He was tremendous today. It was very difficult to defend him, but I think we had enough guys that defended him and made it difficult for him down the stretch. And...
David Wear (Mater Dei H.S. / Santa Ana, Calif.)
On today’s game:
I think we lost focus there for a little while. I don’t think we necessarily came out and played our hardest. There were times when we took plays off. But overall I felt that we did a pretty good job of sticking to the game plan. (Mangisto) Arop got hot there for awhile, he was killing us for awhile. But then we picked up the ‘D’ and started getting more stops.

http://www.guboards.com/showthread.php?t=13392 Posted by Zagnative

Anybody who can do that against Team USA, a team that was stacked with guys like Kemba Walker, Jrue Holiday, and many others is ready to play D1 ball for Gonzaga.

SpokastSports
04-02-2009, 12:17 PM
I agree with what you're saying apple and I agree with you wholeheartedly. What this class has that the 07 class didn't was that anecodotal evidence of toughness. The 07 class was a story of bloodlines with stories of Austin Daye's prestigous father and Rob Sacre's parents' history. This year we have stories of scrappers like Bol Kong not giving in on the chance of playing in America and Manny Arop coming from the war lands of Africa. Both Harris and Kong were knocked early in their high school-amateur years for their lack of fundamentals but they worked hard to gain that. We'll see.

CaliforniaZaggin'
04-02-2009, 12:42 PM
I wonder if the staff made a more concerted effort to go out and find, and ultimately sign, better athletes. The knock on the Zags has always been their defense, but it sounds like the 2009 class has that physical tools to change that.

MDABE80
04-02-2009, 12:53 PM
Spok says " Both Harris and Kong were knocked early in their high school-amateur years for their lack of fundamentals but they worked hard to gain that"

This caught my eye. How early does it get??? This is when the kids get fundamentals. We asking too much too soon? Maybe, maybe not.

ZagNative
04-02-2009, 01:02 PM
I wonder when we'll get our first sightings of these kids on campus. BZ has said Bol Kong is expected in May. As for Manny, Kelly, and Elias, will they have international tournament commitments that will tie them up for the summer?

From a story Skan72 posted here a coupole of days ago (http://www.guboards.spokesmanreview.com/showthread.php?p=416601#post416601) from a Kamloops paper about Kelly ..

Now he's getting ready for a hectic summer.

Olynyk, whose Grade Point Average is around 3.9, will play in the Academic All-American Classic, a showcase game for those who have achieved a GPA over 3.0 and who have committed to a four-year school in 2009. The game will be played on May 9 in Ontario, Calif., which is 50 miles east of Los Angeles.

After returning to Hamilton, Olynyk and the national U19 team will head to Paris, France, in June for some exhibition play. After that, the team will travel to Auckland, New Zealand, for the world U19 championships from July 2-12.

When that concludes, Olynyk is scheduled to return home to catch his breath before heading to Gonzaga.

"I might take some time off - relax and pack up some stuff," said Olynyk, who continues to grow and now is almost 6-foot-11 whit shoes on. "Then it's off to Spokane."

So, it would appear that Kelly and Manny might be committed until fall.

I haven't figured out whether Elias Harris would be playing for the German U-20 team this summer, but I'd assume so. (I miss ZagsWorldWide, which did such an outstanding job wading through the language barrier in European hoops sites!)

What about Sam? Should we expect him in May along with Kong?

Baldwinzag
04-02-2009, 01:13 PM
What about Sam? Should we expect him in May along with Kong?

Sam mentioned he'd be arriving on campus at the end of June. He said its the only thing on his mind and can't wait to get done with school so he join his future teammates. He was pretty upset about the State Championship loss and is ready for the next step, which is becoming a Zag.

It's gonna be fun to watch him develop into an outstanding post player the next few years.

By the way, Sam is very well-spoken, humble, and charismatic kid. It was a pleasure finally meeting him. He'll be a great player, but most importantly, a great Zag.

SpokastSports
04-02-2009, 01:13 PM
Spok says " Both Harris and Kong were knocked early in their high school-amateur years for their lack of fundamentals but they worked hard to gain that"

This caught my eye. How early does it get??? This is when the kids get fundamentals. We asking too much too soon? Maybe, maybe not.

When I've read and watched interviews/coverage of these guys the recurring bullet point was their major improvement in fundamentals. Harris has been a mock draft possibility for the last year or so and German scouts commented on his poor dribbling, but in the past handful of months I've heard from numerous sources he's improved leaps and bounds in that category. With Kong, there's a video on youtube with him talking of being awful his Freshman year. He laughed and said he couldn't even dribble a basketball. He practiced hard and now is a Canadian legend.

zaguarxj
04-02-2009, 01:20 PM
Hmmm... Lets see, we have six guys with experience returning (Bouldin, Gray, Sacre, Foster, Meech and Daye). We have two guys coming off redshirt. Plus, we have Arop, Kong, Olnyk, Harris and Dower coming in a freshman.

* counts on fingers *

That's 13. There's going to be some serious competition for PT next year.

Baldwinzag
04-02-2009, 01:28 PM
Hmmm... Lets see, we have six guys with experience returning (Bouldin, Gray, Sacre, Foster, Meech and Daye). We have two guys coming off redshirt. Plus, we have Arop, Kong, Olnyk, Harris and Dower coming in a freshman.

* counts on fingers *

That's 13. There's going to be some serious competition for PT next year.

Good point zaguar. Assuming Olynyk redshirts, there are still 12+ players fighting for PT and in the regular rotation. Will more players redshirt than originally thought?

Also, I love the fact our six incoming Freshman fill every position on the court:

PG: Gibbs
SG: Arop
SF: Kong or Harris
PF: Dower
C: Poling

The future is so bright I need shades:cool:.

GoZags
04-02-2009, 01:31 PM
The future is so bright I need shades:cool:.

Close, but not quite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqY3uVDM85g

SpokastSports
04-02-2009, 01:34 PM
Didn't Heister drop this and wear shades when speaking of Derek Raivio going off one night in the Kennel?
Yeah... I think he did...

Robzagnut
04-02-2009, 01:36 PM
I don't think people realize what a disaster Arizona is going to be for some time. It will be at least as bad as the situation Tom Crean took on Bloomington, if not worse.

Or worse yet...

Monson and Minnesota, and we know how that one turned out.

spudzag
04-02-2009, 02:41 PM
Also, I love the fact our six incoming Freshman fill every position on the court:

PG: Gibbs
SG: Arop
SF: Kong or Harris
PF: Dower
C: Poling

The future is so bright I need shades:cool:.

Few has done a great job at spreading the recruits by positon and years. (I think Harris will play some PF too.)

Thinking ahead to 2010, staff will be recruiting to fill voids left by Bouldin and Foster. Looking at ZagNatives chart it looks like the focus may be a point guard and a center/power forward.

BobZag
04-02-2009, 02:52 PM
Close, but not quite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqY3uVDM85g

Good one, GoZags. A catchy tune.

misszigzag
04-02-2009, 03:14 PM
Thank you for sharing this bit of information!

While I am definitely bummed about losing our seniors, hearing about the genuine excitement for next year takes the sting away.

BobZag
04-02-2009, 03:16 PM
Mark Few has learned a lot from coaching greats like Roy Williams (run), Tom Izzo (rebound) and most recently I think he has realized just how important length and athletic ability is by playing Calipari every year. All you need to do is look at guys like Daye, Poling, Kong, Dower, Arop, Olynyk (and Guy-Marc Michel up at NIC). Most all of these guys average double-figures in rebounds because, in large part, of their length.

I was just amazed at how long every Memphis starter was. Kong, Arop, Dower, Olynyk all look like Memphis type players.

That said, there is a need for bulky guys and that's where the Bouldins, Gibbs, Sacres and Elias Harrises come in.

I will add more insights into this class when the coaches return from Detroit.

Pallet
04-02-2009, 03:44 PM
Hmmm... Lets see, we have six guys with experience returning (Bouldin, Gray, Sacre, Foster, Meech and Daye). We have two guys coming off redshirt. Plus, we have Arop, Kong, Olnyk, Harris and Dower coming in a freshman.

* counts on fingers *

That's 13. There's going to be some serious competition for PT next year.

You have 13 fingers?

gamagin
04-02-2009, 03:45 PM
excellent report.

Go TEAM Zags !

Reborn
04-02-2009, 03:52 PM
But the thing that really struck me most was how everyone, to a man, said how this is the most athletic, long, skilled and D1-ready class Gonzaga has ever brought in, even more so than the Daye-Gray-Sacre class of 2007. But Rivals and Scout has not built up these 2009 guys since four of them are not in the USA.

More later...

I have had this exact feeling. Thanks for reinforcing it Bob. The best truly is yet to come!!! We'll just patiently keep plugging along, and clearing that path leading to the final 4. Like so many, I believe one day it will happen, but not for a while yet. Next year is a new beginning; its a fresh start with a lot of new guys. I'm excited to see what this new team will be like. I think it will be tougher, but not as talented yet. They won't be far behind, and maybe by years end, they could be. I don't expect as much at the beginning of next year in preconference games as last year. We had a lot of seniors last year.

Salsageek
04-02-2009, 03:58 PM
Music to my ears Bob. Can't wait.

OZZag
04-03-2009, 04:16 PM
Thanks BZ as usual you give us great material.

I am wondering if Rob will be invited to play for Canada at the FISU games this summer and whether or not he will take up the invitation. You may remember that Theo played for Canada two summers ago at the same tournament.

mendiant
04-03-2009, 04:40 PM
Robert,

you know I love you...

But mendiant is still kinda mourning the last once and always ZAG team of 2009....

Let me reminisce..let's wait until, say August, 'til we start talking the next 5 years...

Pizza sometime this summer...

love,
mendiant

BobZag
04-04-2009, 03:15 PM
One of my biggest wishes and hopes for Sam Dower if for him to continue to make strides and develop into a left-handed Jujuan Johnson (Purdue) clone. Jujuan was a 6'10" 2007 Top-50 kid. Sam probably needs to increase his aggressiveness on both ends. Jujuan may be a bit more athletic but not by much.

Imo, Kong and Arop look very similar to the long athletes that Memphis has had. They both have the skill and ability to blow up at GU.

Watching Sparty-UConn, I see some serious toughness, physicality and attitude. Zags need some of that.

Meech is tough and fearless. I'd love to see him be similar to Kemba Walker.

Poling eventually = Suton? I think that's realistic. Suton has come a lonnng ways.