Andy Poling: Priority 1

Westview (Portland, OR) High School's Andy Poling may only be a sophomore but the 6'11" big man already possesses skills and basketball IQ beyond most seniors. The elite center from the class of 2008 is high priority for Mark Few and the Gonzaga program.

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There are high priority recruits and then there are High Priority Recruits. Recruits that teams are built around. Recruits that form or continue the rock solid foundation of a proud tradition. Some years the marquee target is a guard, to carry on the Gonzaga lineage of great guards, ie, Stockton, Santangelo, Dickau, Stepp and Raivio. Some years it's a wing, ie, Frahm, Knight and Morrison. And some years it's a big man, ie, Brown, Hendrix, Calvary, Violette, Turiaf and Batista.

For 2006, that priority recruit was 6'5" guard Matt Bouldin, a top 50 player and #1 guard in the west. For 2007, that priority recruit was 7'0" Robert Sacre, a big bulky Canadian who many see as a future NBA'er.

And for 2008, Priority #1 is a highly skilled post player who owns a deadly hook shot along with a vast array of advanced post moves. A mobile 6'11" finesse player who understands the game of basketball like few others his age.

Meet Andy Poling.

Andy, quite simply, couldn't be coming along at a more perfect time for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. If Andy were to choose to be a Zag, he'd be a freshman when 6'11" Josh Heytvelt would be a senior and the aforementioned Robert Sacre would be a sophomore. This trio would not only be the most highly recruited, elite level big men to ever play together at Gonzaga, but they'd form a frontcourt that would be dominating and a force on the national scene. The "Tri-Towers" would each possess different skills, different strengths, different games. The versatility of Heytvelt. The strength of Sacre. The skilled finesse of Poling. It'd be a lethal recipe for any opposing team to try to deal with.

But not just for Andy's freshman year. The following two years Poling and Sacre would continue to anchor an elite frontline, forming "twin towers" second to nobody in the country.

With Mark Few and staff's ability to consistently bring great guards to the Spokane campus, the Zag system would continue to feed the post and operate an inside-out attack with touches for the bigs every trip down the court.

Just like what happened with Ronny Turiaf, and just like what is happening with J.P. Batista, punctuated thus far at the Maui Invitational Tournament where J.P. averaged 21 points and 8 rebounds over three games against Maryland, Michigan State and UConn and earning 1st-Team All-Tournament honors over such heralded big men as Michigan State's Paul Davis, UConn's Josh Boone, Maryland's Travis Garrison, Ikene Ibekwe and Kansas' C.J. Giles.

Andy Poling had a very good summer of 2005 and will begin his high school season at Westview in December. He is ranked as the #7 player overall in the nation.

He is Gonzaga's Most Wanted.


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