Josh Heytvelt verbals to Gonzaga

Elite Power Forward and Top-50 prospect Josh Heytvelt doesn't celebrate his 17th birthday until June 26, but the ultra-talented, multi-faceted Clarkston native gave Gonzaga plenty to celebrate on the evening of June 22: a commitment. Zags Hoops caught up with Josh the day after.

Only hours after sinking Spokane's 4A Ferris High School with six out of seven 3-pointers in leading Clarkston to a 3rd-place finish in the Saxon Shootout, Josh Heytvelt decided it was time to set a course for his future.

Heytvelt to Gonzaga.

Josh has amazing skills for a 6'10" post player, perhaps more skills than any Gonzaga big man, including the likes of Ronny Turiaf, Cory Violette, Casey Calvary and Jeff Brown. But as impressive as his skills are, Heytvelt has potential and upside that's simply through the roof and over the moon.

Soon to be only 17, as good as he already is, it's safe to say that Josh has only scratched the surface of his abilities. And that is a scary thought for opponents.

As a 16-year-old junior on an inexperienced Clarkston team, Josh finished the year in tough Greater Spokane League play, against much larger schools, averaging over 21 points per game and nearly double digits in rebounds while often almost singlehandedly carrying his team to the Regional playoffs.

He finished second in scoring, only to Zag-bound Adam Morrison, and will attempt to become the third future Zag in as many years to break the single season record, following Sean Mallon and Morrison.

The Book on Heytvelt: Very versatile and skilled big man, a top 50 prospect nationally with an improving stock in recent weeks. During last summer's Big Time tournament in Las Vegas, Heytvelt showed his all-around skills when he was just as impressive at times as AAU teammate Marvin Williams. Can shoot with range, pass with precision, take the ball to the basket for a dunk, rebound in traffic and finish on the break. One of the most underrated big men in America.

Josh will finish his summer of hoops with his Clarkston team mates at the Gonzaga Team Camp, then fly to Colorado Springs for the USA Youth Development Festival, followed by camps and tournaments in New Jersey, Seattle, Las Vegas and Oakland.

Heytvelt joins elite Small Forward/Shooting Guard David Pendergraft in the class of 2004 for Gonzaga, helping to form a top recruiting class nationally and sustaining and elevating the Zags' program that is already nationally prominent.

Josh Heytvelt chose Gonzaga over Kansas, North Carolina, Arizona and Oregon after eliminating the likes of UCLA, Florida, UConn and others.


Josh Heytvelt skies for a shot in the lane at thefinalscore.tv spring tourney. (Photos courtesy of Bill Nance)

Interview--

After just a day of being tagged as a "future Zag," Josh Heytvelt has the media lined up outside his door (well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration). But Zags Hoops was one of the first to get the inside-scoop on his commitment to play for Gonzaga.

ZH: First off, congrats on your commitment! Does it feel good having all the pressure to commit lifted off your shoulders?

JH: Yeah. I feel like I can play a lot more fluent and better since I've decided.

ZH: Was it a daunting task having to take all those letters and narrowing it down?

JH: Not really. I had it down to four and then I would just think about it and think about is and it just felt right to come to Gonzaga.

ZH: What was it about Gonzaga that stood out and made you commit?

JH: Players, coaches, the player development, and the fan base and family; I only live two hours from here.

ZH: Did the idea of having a brand-new arena influence your decision?

JH: Not really.

ZH: Gonzaga is all about family, have you met or played against any of your future teammates, like Adam and David?

JH: Yeah. I played against Adam this year in the GSL and I come up and play with the Gonzaga guys once in a while.

ZH: You still have your senior year left, what do you want to accomplish in your final year playing in high school?

JH: Just to improve in all areas, I guess, to get my jump shot better and a better back to the basket game and tough defense.

ZH: I hear you're not only a basketball player, but you're also a pitcher. Will you try to play baseball at GU too?

JH: I don't know, probably not.

ZH: What made you announce your commitment so suddenly?

JH: I was laying in bed the other night at our basketball tournament and I was like ‘I have to go tell coach,' but it was probably midnight or 12:30 or something like that. So, the next day I gave him a letter saying, ‘You're the first one to know, don't tell anybody, but we're going to arrange a meeting and tell them.'

ZH: Did the idea that Gonzaga is graduating most of their big men after next season influence you at all?

JH: No. They're going to be great, they're going to have shooters. They're going to be good.

ZH: What do you want to accomplish while at Gonzaga?

JH: Get bigger and better and see if I get a chance at the NBA or something, and a National Championship, hopefully, for Gonzaga.

ZH: Any ideas on what you want to major in?

JH: Sports management.


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