While the Gonzaga coaching staff continues to work to put together an elite 2018 class to continue the momentum of its run to the National Championship game, that hasn’t stopped them from evaluating some of the best in the 2019 class. During the April Evaluation period, the staff came away so impressed by a member of the 2019 class, that they decided to make their first official offer.
Cassius Stanley, who will be heading into his junior year at Harvard-Westlake, is one of the elite talents in the ’19 class and the first to receive an offer from the Zags. The 5-star prospect plays on the UA circuit, and despite being a top 10 recruit in the country, is focused on improving a key part of his game.
“I’m definitely working on my leadership abilities,” Stanley explained. “Last year, I played with guys like DeAndre Ayton and Brandon McCoy and they taught me a lot of little things about being a leader.”
The Gonzaga offer was a definite surprise for the talented wing and it’s an offer that has caught his eye.
“I think it was my dad who told me that they had offered,” said the Harvard-Westlake star. “At first, I was like “No Way”. It hit me finally, and they are really just such a high-level program, so I was really excited and gratified.”
Stanley admitted that the performance in the NCAA Tournament elevated where Gonzaga stands for him.
“It definitely changed my mind,” he said of the run to the NCAA Championship game. “The narrative is that they don’t really play any competition, and because of that they can’t go far in the dance. It definitely changed my mind seeing how they made it all the way and were just two minutes away from winning it.”
It was actually a couple years ago that the 5-star recruit began to notice Gonzaga, as they became a team he always had advancing far in his bracket.
“I watched a little bit in the past couple of years. I think it was like three years ago they were ranked really high, and I was filling out my bracket and was just thinking it’s crazy that a school from up in Washington was ranked so high. I was looking at Gonzaga as the number one team, so I started paying attention and I have kept track of them every year since they have been advancing to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.”
With so much time to go before he has to make a decision, Stanley is open to all schools that might have interest.
“I have gone on visits to UCLA and USC just because of proximity. I definitely don’t have a preference for the West Coast or the Midwest or anything like that. I have time, and when the time comes, I will sit down with my family and decide what’s going to be best for me.”