Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has been tirelessly recruiting this offseason and his hard work is paying off. With 2011 recruits Gary Bell and Greg Dranginis already lined up, the Zags are looking to round out the class in style.
After Dranginis landed on the Zags' radar during the summer before his junior year, Few kept an eye on him before offering a scholarship in late 2009. The Gatorade Idaho Basketball State Player of the Year may not be a big name, but it looks like the Zags found a gem in Dranginis.
It might just be me but this kid sends me a big Grant Gibbs vibe. Big guard that has room to add weight, not overly athletic but he makes up for it with his smarts. Like Gibbs, Dranginis is a winner. He's won a state title and did it in dramatic fashion as he Skyview had to play four overtime periods in the state tournament. He's a solid passer, a decent rebounder, and his size allows him to score in a number of ways whether it is down in the low post or from deep.
Gary Bell Jr., regarded as the second best prospect in Washington, became the Bulldogs' second commit in April, choosing Gonzaga over Washington, USC, UCLA, and California. Gonzaga SBN blog The Slipper Still Fits has been tracking the versatile shooting guard from Kentridge High School and are excited about Bell lacing it up at The Kennel in 2011.
As a fan, I find myself infatuated with Gary Bell because of his ability to adapt to any role. On his Kentridge High School team, Gary is the primary offensive weapon and scorer (case in point the 55 point game this past season). On his AAU team, he plays with Tony Wroten...and their aren't two basketballs. While he has scored well this summer, you won't see him get huge write-ups because he's more of an offensive facilitator. At the Top 100 camp, he was paired on a team with top ten point guard Myck Kabongo and, although he began the camp slowly, he scored 13 points in one of his last games and obviously impressed many scouts in attendance. Another great part of Gary's game is that second to last sentence of the quoted piece: "Plays hard on both ends". That doesn't happen too much on the summer circuit!
With two scholarships filled, coach Mark Few isn't done yet. Portland power forward Kyle Wiltjer, Canadian point guard Kevin Pangos, and Texas forward Antwan Space are all in the mix for Gonzaga's two remaining scholarships. With all the talented prospects considering the Zags, the 2011 class is shaping up to be a big one for Few.
We haven't beat around the bush here about how special the 2011 class could be. The best part about the class is that it seems to be looking more promising as the weeks progress. It was about a year ago we posted this article about our hopes for the 2011 class. I would say that any Gonzaga fan has to feel pretty good about where we are in terms of that plan.
Gonzaga fans have reason to be excited. If the Zags can reel in Wiltjer and one of the remaining two, the 2011 class could be the cornerstone in Gonzaga's continued success.
For everything Gonzaga Basketball, check out SBNation blog The Slipper Still Fits.