After all the dust has settled from the Sam Dower commitment, the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Mark Few are still left with at least three more scholarships for the 2009 season. The Zags will be losing Ira Brown, Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs and will have the scholarship of the recently departed Larry Gurganious. Also, many believe that Austin Daye may make the NBA jump after his Sophomore season, so if that is the case, the Zags potentially could have 6 open scholarships!
Thus far, Coach Few and the staff have secured 2 of those 5(6) spots with Mangisto Arop and Sam Dower. The other wild card, which is slowly fading, is Mr. Bol Kong. Kong, who committed to Gonzaga around the same time as Arop, has not received his Visa to come to the United States and it appears that his odds of being a Zag are slim. If Kong does not wind up here the Zags will still have at least three spots to fill. Thus, it rests on the staff to figure out how and when we are going to fill those spots. Here are a few scenarios that would seem likely...
Seal the deal with a couple bigs. This scenario seems likely only if we are going full bore at DeVonte Elliott (right) and Brandon Davies. Both are scheduled to visit Spokane this year. These two seem to be the only two bigs that the Zags are currently interested in. Elliott is a personal fav, but there are still doubts about his high school grades and qualification issues. Davies is a stud from Utah but there are question marks about how likely we are going to be able to get him out of Utah. He has also visited Cal, creating another potential road block. If we are able to seal up these two bigs relatively soon, expect to see Few hold back that fifth scholarship to make a late run at someone or just hold it for 2010. If Davies and Elliott are Zags, there is no need to get another big now and our guard situation is deep enough to stick out another year.
Tony Nixon and a big. When I say Tony Nixon, it basically means the staff would go out and snag a guard that can flat out shoot. Or perhaps another ball handler to go along with Meech. Pargo will be gone and Gibbs, Bouldin, and Gray are all more comfortable being the off-guard. We have plenty of roster spots to throw around, and we will also need some immediate impact players so it should be easy to draw them in, but the ways of recruiting are very mysterious. The more I think about it, if we could get Nixon or a talented guard with another big, I would be very happy. Now... if we could snag Nixon, Davies, and Devonte Elliott, this blogger would be dancing down Mission Avenue.
Other Scenarios include...
Get a big and maybe grab a Juco player or two. Mark Few has shown the ability to go out and grab some impact Juco players such as Abdullahi Kuso and Ira Brown (no more Mamery Diallo's please). A Juco big would be extremely valuable for this team because of the inexperience with all the departures. It would be nice to have an older player to assume some control and show immediate maturity. I like the Juco idea very much, but it's hard to predict how a player from the Juco ranks is going to play out, especially a PF/C.
The Bol Kong Miracle! Give me Arop, Dower, Kong, Davies, Elliott and instead of dancing down Mission Avenue I will be dancing down I-90 Eastbound! There is a chance that Kong could show up second semester of this year and take a 2009 scholarship but it just seems so unlikely. It is a sad story because many people said that Kong could step on the court today and be one of Gonzaga's most talented players. TKR is praying and hoping that Kong's situation can somehow be resolved.
As you can see, there are a plethora of ways to spend these final three scholarships. My main hope is we get players who are ready to make an impact within two years. With our lack of depth when Pargo etc. leave, we will assuredly need players who are ready to contribute. Elliott and Davies I believe are ready. Either one would be good, but both would be absolutely outstanding! For now, I'm going to continue basking in the happiness of Sam Dower, as I still have not gotten over how happy I am that we grabbed another player out of the Midwest. Go Zags!!