“Coach (Brent) Scott was up in Michigan visiting some family and he came up to watch me play,” Alex Gauna said. “I’m kind of tight with him because he’s actually from Michigan and friends with my cousin since they went to high school together.”
LSU isn’t the only school showing interest in the 6-9, 200-pound forward from Eaton Rapids, Mich.
The 3-star power forward says that he has an offer from Xavier, Northwestern and Oakland University, along with interest coming from LSU, Michigan State, Indiana, Tennessee, Michigan, Dayton, Purdue, Iowa, and many others.
What all of those schools see in Gauna is a player that can play down low on the blocks but he is far from being one-dimensional.
“I played the five (center) in high school but then the four (power forward) in AAU,” said Gauna, who averaged 15.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.5 blocked shots a game as a sophomore. “Some of them even talked to me about playing the three because of my shooting touch. That’s a ways down the road though and right now most of them see me as a face-up four man because I have some range, but at the same time I’m pretty athletic.”
Gauna has worked hard over the years to add to his repertoire and that has made him not only a more complete player, but also the type that gives coaches more options to work with.
“I learned a long time ago that I wanted to become very versatile because it separates you from other players,” he said. “That’s what I’ve tried to do is extend my game out to where I could shoot 15-footers then three’s. Then working on my dribbling skills and attacking the basket. With my size you don’t really see that a lot of times with guys with my height.”
Gauna says that he has a strong support system at home that helps him with the recruiting process and that allows him to be able to focus on improving his game.
That doesn’t mean, however, that he doesn’t feel the pressure that comes with the territory.
“A lot of the pressure comes with do I go to Michigan State since I’m from the Lansing area and things like that,” Gauna said with a laugh. “People want you to go to Michigan State and want you to stay in your hometown but I’m not committing anywhere because I’m keeping my options open.”
In keeping his options open, Gauna is listening to coaches to see what they have to say and thus far he likes what he has heard and learned on LSU.
“They’ve come on pretty strong since the summer when coach Scott watched me and I talk to him frequently,” Gauna said. “I’d put them in my top five because it is LSU and it is a great school. I know a lot about college basketball and I know they had quite a few NBA players come out of there and then they went to the Final Four not too long ago.”
Prior to the new regime taking over, LSU had not spent a lot of time recruiting in the heart of Big 10 country.
But with the ties that Scott has to the area and with the relationship that he and Gauna have built that may change.
“We talk and we get along good, almost like we’re old buddies,” Gauna said of his rapport with Scott. “It’s a lot of fun and he’s a real good guy.”
Whether or not Gauna decides to leave his home state is something that will likely not get answered anytime soon. At this point though he isn’t going to rule any schools out regardless of location.
“I don’t like to think of it as that big of a deal,” he said. “I mean I love my family and a lot of our family lives here in Michigan but I don’t think it would be that big of a deal to go to college out-of-state. If you want the best opportunity then you have to make sacrifices and if that would mean moving out-of-state then that’s something I would have to do.”
With the college basketball season right around the corner, Gauna is looking forward to turning on the tube and watching some of his potential future teammates in action.
“I’m a big college hoops fan and I stay in tuned with all of that,” he said. “It’s crazy to think that some day I’ll be playing there. Hopefully it all works out for the best.”
And while he’s channel surfing and looking for games to watch he will be on the lookout for when LSU is on the air.
“Yea, I will,” he said. “I know they’re on TV a lot so I’ll definitely be looking to see them on TV and see how they run things, and see if I fit in.”