Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TKR 2009 Recruit Breakdown: Devonte Elliott

Gonzaga has taken it’s fair share of hits in the recruiting game for 2009. Many prospects that were thought to be large on Gonzaga’s radar have gone different directions. New names have subsequently popped up and one of those names is Devonte Elliott. Elliott, a 6’9’’ power forward out of Paramount, California has burst onto the scene in recent weeks and has become one of Gonzaga’s top priorities. The Zags only have one current commit for 2009, Canada guard Mangisto Arop. Big man is a serious priority as the bulldogs’ are paper thin up front. Sam Dower is the main target for Gonzaga but Coach Few and the staff still have others on their mind. The list of targets changes everyday, but Elliott is definitely a player to keep your eye on as the recruiting season progresses.

Scholarship Offers: Along with an offer from Gonzaga, Elliott has been offered by George Washington, SMU, Utah, and Chicken University errr… I mean University of Washington. He is also hearing from Michigan, Arizona State, and UC-Irvine.

Teams: Elliott plays his high school ball at Paramount High School and travels the AAU circuit with the I-Can All-Stars

Rankings: Rivals: 3 Star
Scout: 2 Star
Scouts Inc: Rated a 78, and the 34th best power forward.

Strengths: The risk with Devonte Elliott is easy to see. He has plenty of warning labels and there is no guarantee with him but it may just be worth the risk based on his upside. I LOVE UPSIDE! He will be a senior in high school next year but is nowhere near reaching his potential. He is described as extraordinarily raw and insanely athletic for his size. This athleticism means that Elliott is a very versatile power forward and can not only play in the interior, but is also comfortable stepping out and playing around the perimeter. Researching Elliott, I have continually come across the comparison of a poor man's Robert Horry and that is something that every college team would love to have. Another great thing about Devonte Elliott is that he is still improving. He has been compared to Tyler Honeycutt as someone that has burst on the scene as of late. He has shown the desire to improve, something which had been questioned during his high school career. As far as his current skill set, Elliott is more more developed defensively than offensively. He is a shot blocker and has become quite a good rebounder as his size increases. He is committed on the defensive side and if he fills out the way he should, he will be a great force down low. Obviously, Elliott is a player that may come in as a project but the reward of having someone as athletic and long as him may be well worth a roster spot. Gonzaga has swung and missed with a few projects in the past but Elliott seems to be a very safe bet.

Weaknesses: Obviously, their are many weaknesses present in his game and in his maturity level. Elliott's work ethic and maturity level have been questioned in the past and he has been described as a lazy player who shows no real desire to get any better. However, Elliott has been working hard to disprove this theory and has made one of the biggest improvements in his recruiting stock in the 2009 class. Subsequently, he is now starting to draw major interest from big-time programs. Elliott is raw and underdeveloped and this translates to an awkward offensive game. He has improved his mid-range shot and can score around the basket but the consistency level is not there yet. He has games where he is a complete ghost and will score 4 points on 5 attempts and he has games where he can have 17 points on 9 attempts. He hasn't developed a confident offensive game quite yet, but he still has plenty of time; especially as his body grows. Elliott's body is not ready to participate in the NCAA. He could easily put on 30-40 pounds and still have room to grow. This is not a huge concern as the Gonzaga staff is famous for bringing in little bodies and bulking them up a little bit. But 30-40 pounds is a ton and in order for him to realize his recruiting potential, he has got to put some weight on in his senior season.

Recruiting Forecast: Elliott has recently said that he is in no rush to decide his basketball future and that he will wait until the spring to decide his next four years in college. There is no doubt that Elliott is just seeing his recruitment blow up. Gonzaga has done an excellent job getting in on these kids early but needs to make a big splash in the recruiting world. They've seen players slip through their fingers and not work out and landing a couple skilled bigs like Dower and Elliott would make everyone in Spokane happy. Elliott will continue to get more publicity. We saw Tyler Honeycutt get very similar ink a few months ago and now he is on the brink of becoming a UCLA Bruin. Hopefully the staff sticks with Elliott as he would be a good change of pace big man for the Zags. If Elliott and Dower are Zags, it will be a beautiful thing.

Elliott definitely has The Kennel Report seal of approval. If that means anything!

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