As new recruits keep emerging on the GU radar, TKR is doing our best to learn more about every target. It seems that Coach Few is keen on turning to the JC ranks in order to secure another big man. At this point, the top priority appears to be Daequon Montreal of the College of Southern Idaho. TKR recently caught up with Eric Larsen of the Times-News, which is based in Twin Falls, Idaho. Eric covered CSI and Daequon this past season, and was kind enough to answer some of our questions regarding Daequon. TKR would like to thank Eric for these terrific answers, and it sure seems that Montreal would be a special addition to the GU family.
TKR- When watching Daequon play, what immediately jumps out to an observer?
Eric Larsen- His hustle. Daequon keeps a lot of balls alive with his work on the offensive glass and has a soft touch while working around the rim. He only played 15 minutes a game as a freshman, but averaged 4.3 rebounds. I'm sure that in a system that puts more emphasis on its starting five, rather than CSI's Rick Pition "Kentucky Style" rotation, he could be a consistent double-double threat.
TKR- What are Daequon's greatest strengths and weaknesses as a basketball player?
Eric Larsen- Daequon is adept at finishing with either hand around the basket and has a nice from 15 feet in. He's also a versatile defender who can likely guard most collegiate players in the small forward, power forward, and center positions. He has a nice jump shot, but needs to be more consistent from the perimeter to become a prime-time scorer. Last year he hit 3-of-15 3-point attempts (20 percent), though I'd expect that rate to improve during his sophomore season.
TKR- Gonzaga has long been in the market for a true PF. Is Daequon a banger at PF, or is he more of a face-up PF?
Eric Larsen- At 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, Daequon may be leaner than some true power forwards, though I've been told he's bulked up over the fall. That being said, he was probably CSI's most physical player as a freshman, and I expect he may become the most physically imposing post in the Scenic West Athletic Conference this season. He's not afraid at all to play with his back to the basket.
TKR- Could you please elaborate on Daequon's academic issues that led to his arrival at CSI?
Eric Larsen- All I know is that he was an academic non-qualifier coming out of God's Academy. I think there may have been some issues in having all his college-preparatory classes completed due to his transfer from Corcoran High School in Syracuse, N.Y. I do know Daequon had been a solid student while at CSI and has never missed any playing time or practice time due to academic-related issues.
TKR- What current college or NBA player would you compare Daequon's game to and why?
Eric Larsen- I don't like to compare collegiate players to NBA player, but the one guy that stands out to me who Daequon is very similar on the court to is former CSI and Boise State standout Reggie Larry. Daequon and Reggie's numbers as freshmen are very similar: Daequon- 9.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg in 15 minutes per game; Reggie- 6.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, in 12 minutes per game. Larry went on to become the first BSU player to score more than 1,000 points in two seasons and led the Broncos to the NCAA Tournament as a senior. Reggie played one year overseas after getting two workouts with the Golden State Warriors and will enter the NBDL draft this year. I could see Daequon finishing his career with similar credentials. (TKR Note: Here is the link to Reggie Larry's player page on ESPN)
TKR- Where did you see the greatest growth in Daequon's game over the past season?
Eric Larsen- Leadership. Daequon will unquestionably be the leader of this year's CSI team as the only sophomore holdover from last year's team. I'm told it's a role that he's embraced after deferring to last year's large sophomore class. I think he has the intelligence and temperament to become a good leader as CSI looks to make a return to the NJCAA national tournament.
TKR- How strong of an interest has Gonzaga shown in Daequon over the past year?
Eric Larsen- Gonzaga representatives have been regulars at CSI home games and practices, and I'm sure they have been in attendance when CSI traveled north to play North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene. I'd assume their interest is pretty high.
TKR's Take: After researching more about Montreal, and reading over Eric's interview, I think that Daequon Montreal could be the answer to the "big man" problem. With a rotation of Sacre, Poling, Foster, and Dower next season, it would make a lot of sense to bring in a player with maturity and leadership experience. Montreal sounds like a very talented option, and could provide GU with a back-to-the-basket PF. I was able to see Reggie Larry play a couple of times last year, and if Montreal can produce like he did, then GU needs to make him a priority recruit. Montreal's game reminds me of Taj Gibson, a N.Y native who ended up at USC. Both seem like athletic and lengthy bigs, who run the floor well and are active on the glass. Next week, TKR is hoping to bring you much more on Montreal's recruitment, and we hope to hear that he could be a future Zag.