Looking into the Future

We take a look at some young guards that have emerged onto the scene, each boasting his own unique strengths, and each with a chance to play for head coach Mark Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs come 2008 or 2009.

-------2008 Guards--------

West Coast Recruiting Analyst Greg Hicks after April's Kingwood Classic:

Patrick McCollum, 6-1 SO PG/SG Tacoma (Wash.) Mt. Tahoma. McCollum has a good body, with solid shoulders and good length. He's got some quickness and he might end up able to defend either guard spot. But McCollum's real value at the next level is as a scorer. He's got an excellent stroke and the ability to shoot off the bounce from deep. He's more of a scoring lead guard than a true point. He's a sleeper who we think is going to blow up this summer.


Mount Tahoma's Patrick McCollum

And following April's Las Vegas Classic:

He's emerging as one of the best guards in the west for 2008 and will make many national top 100 lists. He can really score, and is a very good shooter, but can distribute and play like a point guard.

-------------------------

Larry Drew, Jr., 5-11 SO PG Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft, is one of the top players at his position in the class of 2008. The son of a pro, Drew has an excellent feel for the game and he is adept at setting up teammates. Watching him in Arizona this past weekend, we noticed that he has become very good at running the pick and roll. His decision-making was very good and he consistently found teammates for open shots. Drew's outside shot was inconsistent this past season at Taft, but he shot the ball well in April and again in May.

-------------------------

Malcolm Lee, 6-3 CG, Riverside (Calif.) North. Lee perhaps has the most potential of anyone listed here. He still looks very young and could have some growing to do. Right now, he has the ball-handling skills and court sense to be a point guard, but also the scoring ability to be a two guard. This versatility could make him fit into Gonzaga's plans very well. He could combine with any other high major guard, whether they're point guards or shooting guards, to form a very formidable backcourt. He's a top 40 national caliber type.

-------------------------

Brad Tinsley, 6'4" CG Oregon City (OR) High is another guard that Gonzaga coaches are keeping an eye on. He has good court vision and can penetrate well. Has good size too. He's defintely a kid to keep an eye out for. For an earlier GUnation.com feature on Tinsley, Click Here.

It is still very early in the 2008 recruiting process, and new names are bound to appear on Gonzaga's radar as prospects make improvements and come into their own. GUnation.com will keep you posted.

-------2009 Guards-------

Jared Cunningham, 6-1 FR PG San Leandro (Calif.) High. After Reeves Nelson, Cunningham was the most pleasant surprise of the weekend for us. Long, lean and baby-faced, Cunningham has the look of a potentially outstanding prospect. Physically, he reminds us of Gabe Pruitt at the same age. He's got good quickness and showed some explosiveness a couple times in transition. He's got a nice shot to 20 feet and showed a fair mid-range game as well. He advanced the ball well several times, giving it up early in transition. Overall, he showed good presence and feel on the court. He's still just a youngster, but he's among the top 2009 point guards we've seen so far.

-------------------------


Reeves Nelson has Adam Morrison hair

Reeves Nelson, 6-5 FR SG/SF Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian. As a scout, you hope to find a new, great prospect every time you walk into a gym. The vast majority of the time, you're disappointed. Every once in a while, though, you get your wish. Saturday morning at Santa Clara was one of those days for us. Nelson is very talented 14 year-old with advanced skills and a very good feel for the game. A few minutes into the game Saturday, we went to check with his coaches because we thought the program had to be wrong – Nelson doesn't look or play like a freshman. He's a big, strong kid with good length and muscle tone. He's a good athlete and he gets up well. While he's already pretty filled out, he's got big feet and it's possible he gets a little bigger. He's got a nice stroke with range to the stripe, but he's more of a scorer than pure shooter. He'll mix it up inside and he pretty much plays one through five for his AAU team. His ball-handling and passing are outstanding for a young wing. While his skill level is impressive, it's his feel for the game that really stands out. He plays with the maturity and poise of a much older player. Our only criticism that we had in the course of watching him for three games was that he'll occasionally take some plays off and try to get by on his talent. But that's a very minor criticism. As we said, he's only 14 – he'll turn 15 in September – and he still has a long way to go before he gets to college. But assuming he works hard and keeps developing, Nelson has a chance to be among the elite prospects in the country for 2009.

Local guard 6'4" Anthony Brown from Spokane's Shadle Park High School is the area's most promising young prospect (2009) since the run of high major talents Sean Mallon, Josh Heytvelt and Adam Morrison in the Greater Spokane League. The lefty will be watched closely by Mark Few and staff.


Inside The Kennel Top Stories