Following his commitment to Gonzaga in early May, Corey Kispert turned his focus to proving himself on the national stage during the AAU season. By all accounts, this was a total success, as Kispert earned plaudits throughout the summer for the improvements in his game and performance he put on against elite competition.
Even before his commitment, the consensus around Kispert was that he was a perfect fit for Gonzaga. His play this summer further cemented this belief.
“I think that’s completely right,” Kispert said. “It really goes both ways. I think I was made perfectly for Gonzaga with the way I play, and the system they have was made perfectly for me. It’s just a slam dunk from my end and they are offering everything I need to improve. I fit well in their program in every aspect. They have a really good success rate with guys with the same body type and build that I have.”
This summer gave the King’s HS star a chance to showcase his skills against the top talent in the country, which was an opportunity he had been craving.
“It is kind of discouraging to pour your heart into the game and still have people question whether you are good enough to play at the national level,” he admitted. “I really made it my mission this summer to prove that I can play with the big boys. I think I really did a good job of doing that and seeing how my game compares to my peers. I really feel like I can compete with anybody both physically and skill wise. Now I am going to put my heart into the Gonzaga program and make sure that anybody doesn’t believe is able to see what I am capable of.”
Another area where Kispert was able to showcase his game was in the Seattle Pro AM this summer, which featured numerous NBA players from the area. This was another opportunity for the talented wing to showcase his skill at the highest level.
“It’s huge,” he admitted. “It’s one thing to think that you are able to compete against these guys, but a totally different thing to know you can do it. Until the rubber meets the road, you have no way of telling. But going toe-to-toe with Jamal (Crawford), Terrence (Williams) and guys like Abdul (Gaddy), it was a really big confidence thing for me. I know I’m getting better and working my way to that level.”
That doesn’t mean that the 72nd ranked player in the country doesn’t have areas he is focusing on improving.
“I’m continuing to work on my athleticism and a quick first step on both ends of the court. I feel like I have never been the quickest person, so I want to improve that. I also want to improve my handle in traffic and tight spots. If there is a lot of pressure on me, or I’m surrounded in the key, I’m prone to losing the ball, and I want to shore that up. I also miss too many short chippy shots, so I need to improve on finishing through contact and making sure I get the easy points.”
With his commitment secure, Kispert did admit that he thought another Seattle native would be a great fit with him, and Gonzaga, in this class.
“I’ve played against Jon Jon ( Daejon Davis) since 8th grade and I always knew he was something special,” he said of the Gonzaga target. “He was overshadowed a bit back then, but he now he has really come into the spotlight and proven how good he is. I think he has the potential to be a really good Zag because I see that he cares about playing the right way. He can get to the rim like no other and he is really good in transition, which fits Gonzaga’s playing style well. I think he would be a great fit, and Coach Few and the other coaches would really be able to take his game and refine to give him the best shot to do what he wants to do next.”