Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bob Gibbons TOC: Zag Prospects Continue to Shine

For as good as the Arizona Cactus Classic was a few weeks back, the 15th annual Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions is as good if not better. It is not a tournament for the faint of heart as the state of North Carolina is hosting 15 hour days of high-level AAU basketball. Many high level prospects from across the country are spread throughout North Carolina for this weekend in hopes of capturing the title. Gonzaga has a serious interest in the results of this tournament as they have their eye on four players in particular.

The trend for this springs AAU circuit is that Anthony Marshall is bound to shine. Marshall (left) continued to do what he is known for; everything. His team was blown out by Indiana Elite on Friday night, which is no big surprise as Indiana Elite is loaded with 5 big name prospects in Mason Plumlee (Duke commit) and Jordan Hulls (Indiana). Marshall was the only bright spot for the Las Vegas Prospects and again filled up the stat sheet. His shooting is streaky right now but he knows it and has a knack for taking players off the dribble and getting to the hoop. He is also excellent from the free throw line and defends extremely well on the perimeter.

Equally as effective in the TOC has been Sam Dower. The Net Gain Sports power forward has been excellent in the post. Dower, a slender 6'9'' prospect from Minnesota, has showcased excellent post moves and the ability to run the floor very well. He would definitely add a much needed big body in the post for the Zags as I'm sure his weight, as well as his recruiting interest will be increasing.

Joe Burton and Marshall Henderson have gotten their fair share of ink in this tournament as well. Burton is quickly becoming one of The Kennel Report's favorite prospects as he seems to have an extremely high basketball IQ for his age and is a load in the paint. Burton, a 6'8'' center for the Compton Magic, recently was linked with Kevin Love as outstanding big man passers. This would be a welcome addition for Gonzaga fans as interior passing in recent years has been next to dreadful. Much like Anthony Marshall, Marshall Henderson continues to do what he is known for: shoot. Henderson had 23 points in the first half of the Dallas Mustangs opening game in North Carolina but has since been quiet. The life of a shooter is such, some days are hot, some days are cold.

Gonzaga's Chances...
  • Marshall Henderson seems to be a player who if the Zags want, they can get. He has them in their top three battling it out with Bradley and Utah. Gonzaga is clearly the best program of that bunch but recent words indicate that the Zags are cooling on the Dallas Mustangs shooter. My money is that Henderson goes elsewhere, let's say Bradley.
  • Sam Dower is someone who the Zags better grab now if they really want him. He has been courted by every mid-major to date and has played well in the past few tournaments. He is just recently starting to get interest from the Big 10 powers of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana. Dower screams Big 10 material when you see his game. He would fit in well here, but his recruiting is heating up and a kid from Minnesota will have a hard time turning down the Big 10.
  • Anthony Marshall and Joe Burton are no-brainer recruits for Gonzaga. Anthony Marshall reminds me a lot of Matt Bouldin as someone who can do a lot of things. However, I don't think Marshall will struggle with turnovers as he is more of a PG. He can score in every way imaginable and is a deadly passer, much like Bouldin was heralded as when he came out of Colorado. It's hard to say what Anthony is thinking because he is content on waiting around and seeing what happens. He is getting interest from nearly every elite program but Gonzaga is still one of his best offers. Keep your fingers crossed.
  • Burton (right) is a favorite of Gonzaga fans because he has a JP Batista body and game. He is a load in the interior and has good feet for his size. It's up in the air as to how much interest Gonzaga is actually showing in Burton but there definitely is some. His offers are from San Diego State and UCF but other schools showing interest are Arizona, UConn, UCLA, and Texas. Hopefully the Zags get in there and still this kid but much like Dower, if the Pac 10 comes calling, this California center could be off the board in a hurry.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

In your blog you state the following..."Henderson seems to be a player who if the Zags want, they can get. He has them in their top three battling it out with Bradley and Utah. Gonzaga is clearly the best program of that bunch but recent words indicate that the Zags are cooling on the Dallas Mustangs shooter. My money is that Henderson goes elsewhere, let's say Bradley."

Don't forget Notre Dame and Stanford which I wouldn't look down my nose at and which have also made him offers....those two schools have a much more well known reputation than Gonzaga. Everyone knows who they are. Not always true about Gonzaga...

My question is who are you referring to when you say "the Zags are cooling on the Dallas Mustangs shooter"....is that Mark Few and the coaching staff or are you talking about the Zag fans on the message board who have never seen the guy play and don't know anything about him, or what he his capabilities are....because only one opinion really counts...the Coaching staff...

One of his Mustangs teammates, who is a "5-star" prospect and who all of the major schools like North Carolina are drooling over, went something like 0 - 20 from the field in one of the tournament games. I have witnessed Henderson totally outplay this 5-star prospect in head to head matchups between their respective high schools.

My point is that all of this ranking business of who a 5-star athlete may be vs. who a 3-star athlete may be is not all that it appears to be, and that the Zags will be a better basketball team with the addition of Henderson if they are able to sign him.

ZagBell said...

In no way am I looking down my nose at Henderson or the schools going after him. Marshall Henderson has made it clear that Notre Dame and Stanford are not on top of his list right now. He indicates that he is high on Utah, Bradley and Gonzaga.

Everything we hear on message boards and other sort of sources we take with a grain of salt. If we look at Rivals message boards or Scout or GU Boards, we know who is credible and who is not. The point of our blog is to condense all the material we see from various sources and make it into one central location for Gonzaga fans.

Both myself and my writing partner for this blog have done extensive research into Henderson's background, and have seen his abilities on video and live from AAU tournaments. When I wrote about Gonzaga's chances I combined editorial thoughts with things I have been hearing for a month now.

Only time will tell, Henderson is an outstanding scorer, but everything I have seen and read and heard lends me to believe that their are better players out there. Henderson will make some team better, whether or not it is the Zags remains to be seen.

We appreciate your feedback and hope you keep reading.

Anonymous said...

So apparently it's not the Coaching staff saying these things, because if I was a coach I wouldn't bring in a kid for a visit and make him an offer if I didn't want him to play for my team. If the Zags coaching staff ever does "cool" on a kid, then they should be upfront about it and rescind the offer. Maybe I'm just not aware of how cutthroat the recruiting process can be. Too bad if that's how it really is.

ZagBell said...

Recruiting is extremely cut throat. These kids enjoy the stage that they are put on or they would not be playing AAU basketball. Are they too young for this sort of treatment? Maybe but they don't think so and neither do their parents or guardians or what have you.

I firmly believe that if a kid is going to receive a full ride scholarship to Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Bradley, Utah etc which are all good schools, they better earn it.

Obviously our coaching staff believes that Henderson has earned it. But everyone knows that recruiting is crazy. Just look at what happened with the football player that faked his recruitment process and look at the stories about schools paying kids.

I tend to read the writing on the walls. Henderson has stated before that Gonzaga along with Duke are his "dream schools". He has wanted to play for Gonzaga and almost accepted right from jump street. Now it is taking him a little longer. Call me wrong, but the facts don't add up here.

Anonymous said...

The only thing any kid can do right now that has a year left of high school is to do a "verbal" committment. Even if they do that, the kid can change his mind and sign a LOI with a totally different school. You see a lot of coaches jumping ship, moving to a new school, leaving the kid hanging. Will Coach Few be next ? The majority of 2009 prospects being recruited have not verbaled yet. Some may do so at the end of this summer when the AAU season is over, but they can't sign the LOI until November, so I'm not sure what you mean by "it is taking him a little longer". It's 6 months to go until the early signing date. That's a lot of time to blog and speculate on which players have "cooled" on Gonzaga or which players the coaches have "cooled" on.

By the way, Gonzaga is not one of the schools that pays its players, do they ? I have never heard about any kid "faking" his recruitment, but I have read several cases of where the school mistreated the kid and reneged on their committment.

ZagBell said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?id=3236039

Here's the story of the fake recruit.
It was a top story for upwards of a week.

It's never to early to blog and speculate and throw ideas around. This is not an officially trademarked Gonzaga blog. We have our opinions and we fully support them.

We're not throwing Marshall Henderson under a bus here. I really enjoy his game and think he is a great shooter, one of the best in this class. I would be ecstatic if he chose Gonzaga. All I was trying to say is my two cents.

I understand how verbal commits work and know there is plenty of time but I still back what I wrote and think that in time it will come to fruition. If not, oh well. Thats the last I'll say on this topic because its taking a sour turn that it should never have.

Anonymous said...

I took a look at the link you provided and I don't get the connection. The football player from Nevada totally made up the story that he was being recruited plus the Cal head coach barely even knew who he was and never had made the kid an offer.

In the example we are referring to here, Coach Few has made a real offer and the kid is really being recruited, so where is the "fake" in all that ? No one has made up anything. I think there must have been real interest on Coach Few's part to have made an offer, and there is definitely real interest on Henderson's part to become a member of the team.

I think for whatever reason, you seem to enjoy stirring things up, so we will agree to disagree, as I do not think you know as much as you claim to know. Do you watch BoB Costas on HBO ? His most recent show was on the topic of how the intense focus on sports has exploded due to the internet and how Any Ordinary Joe can have a blog and rag on athletes without any real credentials whatsoever. The only real requirement is to have an opinion and you know what they say about opinions. They are like assholes. Everyone has one. Costas should have had you on the show because you were topic A and would have fit right in.

maximum zag said...

I think you are quite out of line suggesting that we have "ragged" on any athlete on this blog. At no point did we say anything negative about Marshall Henderson, instead all we did was take into account that recruiting services and message boards have indicated that the interest may be stronger from Marshall to Gonzaga then it is from Gonzaga to Marshall.

Also any school has the right to revoke a scholarship up until a player has signed a National Letter of Intent, just as any recruit may back out on a verbal until he has signed

ZagBell said...

Okay this is a complete and utter misunderstanding.

You said "Maybe I'm just not aware of how cutthroat the recruiting process can be".

In response to that, I said that it is cutthroat and an example of how much stress these kids are under can be found with the kid faking his recruitment. Under no circumstance did I ever link Marshall Henderson and fake recruit. That would just be plain silly. So, I re-read my posts and don't understand how you made the connection.

I never said MH is a fake recruit, I never claimed that me and coach Few met over coffee and did some fly fishing and discussed MH's recruitment. All I said is that I DON'T believe it all adds up. I think your trying to pick a fight here and put words in my mouth.

I state opinion. Opinions differ. The internet is a big place and you don't have to read what we write. I don't know when I ragged on MH, I said I do love his game and he would be a valued addition.

To say that "I seem to enjoy stirring the pot" seems a bit presumptuous. I don't stir the pot without a solid belief and steady thought. We write this blog to provide facts and throw in a few of our own opinions just to get some creative juices flowing. I knew these comments would come soon and that is why I had hoped to squash this never-ending discussion with my last post.

And no, me and Bob Costas don't usually talk and I missed his show. But I highly doubt I would be the lead story because I don't believe Gonzaga University is as high on Marshall Henderson as they once were. I would hope Bob would have something better, maybe not though from the shows I've seen.

I apologize for the misunderstanding with the fake recruit story as I'm sure it was my fault. As I said before, I might be wrong, I'm not a perfect person and I've been wrong before but I stand by what I believe.

Anonymous said...

Come this November or sooner, everyone will know who was right and who was wrong. This is just me, but I have faith that the coaching staff knows how to evaluate players. I also know that most of the stuff you read on these message boards and blogs is pure speculation. Bob Costas will be doing a Part Two so he may want to interview you. It would be good for your career. Get you some face time. But I hope if you appeared on TV that you would keep from getting as defensive as you seem to be when anyone questions the contents of your blog. I'm not mad at you. I'm just trying to understand your rambling thoughts and am attempting to make some kind of sense of them. Cheers.

hamster said...

I don't believe the content of this blog can be described as "rambling thoughts". I also don't think someone reading a blog should act like they automatically know more than the people blogging. The Kennel Report is a great source for Gonzaga basketball fans. Anonymous seems to also have a lot of oppinions, and for some reason he believes he is the expert here. Thanks for all your reporting Kennel!

Jim Nastics said...

Just because a person has a blog does not mean that they know anything about the subject they blog about. This blog is full of opinions that don't mean diddly. If Coach Few had a blog, and was allowed by NCAA rules to discuss potential recruits, then you could claim some credibility, but the bloggers here don't know anymore about which they speak than anyone else. If they did, they wouldn't be blogging. They would be on the coaching staff. You are giving them way too much credit. That's the problem with the internet. Any Joe Blow can start a blog and pretend to know what he's talking about. Let's see some credentials. Do they have a Masters in Journalism ? How many years have they been reporting on Sports ? What ? That's not necessary to have a blog ? Exactly my point ! Any Jimmy Joe can do this. It appears in this case that this Jimmy Joe blogger is full of himself.

hamster said...

Joe Blow, Jimmy Joe, how many John Doe names can you think of? I'm pretty sure any rational person knows to take what they read on the internet with caution. You are speaking the obvious sir. But is it such a bad thing for fans to discuss their favorite sport team? I know that the bloggers on Kennel Report are not claiming to be experts, but they know more than I do about what is going on with the Zags. If you don't want to discuss the Zags then don't read the blog. If you want to call out all the people on the internet who aren't experts, then you have a lot of work to do, and good luck.

AL Uminum said...

Hamster, what are your credentials ? That's a good point made by Jim Nastics. Sure, anyone can talk about their sports team, but when you do, don't act like you know what the coaches are thinking. I think the point was that the bloggers on this report want you to think they "know" what is really going on, when they don't really. They should start off anything they say with something like "in my humble opinion" but don't get mad if anyone happens to disagree with your opinion. How dare anyone ever question the information posted on this blog. If you read it here, it must be true. Not !

hamster said...

I am a student-athlete at GU. And it's obvious to me to not believe all I read on the internet. That doesn't mean I'm not going to read it.

Manual Labor said...

Hamster, I am an illegal alien who is in this country so I can find work, and I have come to love the game of college basketball. I think a student-athlete has more credibility than the author of this blog. What sport do you play ?

Jim Nasium said...

I'm a blogger and I have no credibility.

hamster said...

i play golf. lets debate that. blogging is funn!

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