April 15, 2015

Gonzaga 2015 Recruiting Watch

Gonzaga has put itself in a precarious position. With the departures of Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell, and Byron Wesley due to exhausted eligibility, as well as Angel Nunez to transfer, Gonzaga has 4 scholarships to fill for the 2015-16 season, and that isn't even counting the possibility of Kyle Wiltjer and/or Przemek Karnowski leaving early. Normally, this wouldn't be such a big deal, but it's now mid April and late signing period is now upon us. It wasn't as much of an issue that the Zags didn't sign a new player back in the early signing period in November, but now it's so late in the year and most of the top 2015 freshmen are off the board or have used up their five allotted official visits, but there are a couple for us to monitor. Luckily, at this time of the year, transfers are a plenty, and we know some of them who have Gonzaga on their shortlist.

Damion Lee, 6'6" SF, Senior in 2015-16

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Damion Lee is transferring out of Drexel and is eligible immediately for one remaining season. He was one of the top scorers last season and shot the ball at a high clip. He has narrowed his list to Gonzaga, Arizona, Louisville, Maryland, and Marquette. He has already scheduled visits to Arizona (April 17-19) and Louisville (April 19-21), and Gonzaga plans to make a trip out to see him on April 22. Gonzaga lost its whole starting backcourt and needs a high-level scorer to fill an immediate void.

Johnathan Williams III, 6'9" PF, Junior in 2016-17

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Johnathan Williams III was the top scorer and rebounder on a very poor Missouri squad. His percentages are quite poor across the board, but I'm impressed with what he was able to do while battling through a torn meniscus the whole season. He plans to visit Gonzaga (May 1-3), and Michigan State has also been mentioned as a possible destination. He plans to improve his ball skills, get stronger, and allow his knee to heal while sitting out the 2015-16 season. Gonzaga will lose Wiltjer and Karnowski to exhausted eligibility after the 2015-16 season (if they hopefully don't leave before then) and with Sabonis's high draft stock, he could leave early, too, so an experienced frontcourt presence could be needed in 2016-17.

Nigel Williams-Goss, 6'3" PG, Junior in 2016-17

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Nigel Williams-Goss led Washington in scoring and assists for the past 2 seasons. He plans to visit UNLV (April 18), Providence (April 25), Texas (May 1), and Georgetown (May 8).He will also have in-home visits with Georgetown (this week), Texas (April 20), and Providence (April 21). Michigan State, Gonzaga, LSU, and Ohio State are in contention for visits, as well. Gonzaga could use an experienced playmaker in 2016-17 as Dranginis and McClellan will exhaust their eligibility after next season.

Marcus Foster, 6'3" SG, Junior in 2016-17

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Marcus Foster led Kansas State in scoring the past 2 seasons, but he had a dip in production after a spectacular freshman season, and has had some personal issues which led to his removal from the starting lineup during conference play, a 3-game suspension, as well as a dismissal from the team. He plans to visit Crieghton (April 17-19), and other teams which have been mentioned in contention for his services are LSU, Gonzaga, and Cincinnati.

Federico Mussini, 6'1" PG, Freshman in 2015-16

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Federico Mussini is currently playing professional basketball for Italian squad Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia, but he is contemplating playing college ball. Reggio Emilia offered him a 5-year contract and Mussini plans to decide whether he will play in college or stay in Europe by the end of April. He took a visit to St. John's on April 12 after coming the states and playing in the Nike Hoop Summit. The other colleges in contention for him are Gonzaga, Davidson, and Virginia. He fits the mold of successful undersized Zags like Dan Dickau, Derek Raivio, and Kevin Pangos with a strong outside touch, scorer's mentality, and shares the ball quite well. The stats above are from his dominant performance in the 2014 U18 Fiba World Championships from last summer.

Jordan Murphy, 6'8" SF, Freshman in 2015-16

Jordan Murphy was committed to VCU before a coaching change led him to reopen his recruitment. Gonzaga, UCLA, Miami, Oregon, Indiana, Minnesota, Rutgers, LSU, San Diego, and Bradley have been among the schools interested in his services, but Murphy only has 3 official visits left after using 2 on VCU and UNLV before his commitment. He has been ranked #113 by Rivals and #213 by 24/7 Sports. He averaged 23.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his last high school season and is currently playing in the Adidas Gauntlet AAU circuit. Gonzaga is in need of a wing for the 2015-16 season. Scouting report:
Strengths: Murphy is a long and athletic forward that excels in transition where he is capable of rebounding and taking the ball coast to coast and finish above the rim or with either hand. He is also a good straight line slasher and his rim dribble jumpers and threes off the catch with needed time and space. Murphy can score and is a pretty good rebounder as well. Defensively Murphy is a capable of defending both wing positions and even some smaller power forwards.

Weaknesses: Murphy will need to continue to add strength and work on his ball handling when under intense pressure and to make his jumper a more consistent weapon behind the arc. We think he could be a more of a factor on the glass as well given his athletic ability. Overall consistency should be improved as well.

Bottom Line: Murphy is a mid major plus forward with great upside. He is an athletic and smooth scorer that is a multiple position defender as well that is loaded with potential.


Casey said...

What is the difference between an official visit and an unofficial one?

Don Miller said...

Great question- Basically, Official visits are paid for by the school. Unofficial visits are not.

But, there is a lot more to it. Read this for clarification-


Josh Linke said...

I was working on one of these, beat me to the punch. great roundup Zag Guru.