Gage on UW's radar

The state of Washington is producing some of the top prep basketball talent in the country, so it's a little shocking when a hidden talent emerges under our collective radar here in the Puget Sound. That is the case with Vashon Island native and 2010 prospect John Gage.

The tall, sweet shooting forward updated Dawgman.com on his recent rise, which included a 20-point, tournament MVP effort in the Vashon Pirates' 1A State title win last week.

A championship would have been enough, but Gage was in for an ever bigger shock after the game.

"UW offered me last Tuesday," Gage shared Sunday night after practice with his AAU team, Friends of Hoop. "It was amazing. I got a call from (Huskies' Head) Coach (Lorenzo) Romar after my game and went from being tired and exhausted to totally ecstatic because it's the first offer I've gotten from a dream school."

For many Husky fans who aren't familiar with John Gage, get used to hearing his name. Standing nearly 6-foot-10 and a svelte 210 pounds, the mop-headed junior has a silky mid-range jumper that accompanies a polished post game.

Gage describes himself as a pretty big kid who can get up and down the court and really shoot and pass the ball, and that's a pretty accurate assessment. He is highly mobile for a player his size, with excellent footwork and exceptional touch around the basket, as well as above average athleticism. He is capable of playing above the rim when he wants to.

But he's far from a finished product. "I definitely need to get stronger and work on dribbling," he said. "I need to work harder in the weight room."

Gage's versatility and playing style are hard to compare, but think: A thinner Josh Heytvelt or a much more athletic Roeland Shaftenaar. All are similar is size, and though Heytvelt is thicker as a post presence and Shaftenaar has deeper range, Gage has the chance to be better than both in time.

"UW's a school I've been a big fan of since I was a kid," Gage said. "Coach Romar and I talked for a long time about how I'd be used. I'd be an inside-outside player depending on match ups and could post up if I was being guarded by a smaller player and go outside if I'm being guarded by a bigger player. It would really depend on who was guarding me but I'd be an inside-outside four. I've always worked on being more of a multi-role player."

As his stock continues to move, so has interest from the rest of the west coast. "I have a lot of Pac-10 interest as well as a lot schools around here that I really like," Gage shared. "I actually am really interested in Stanford. Academics are really important to me so they're really in it as well."

He doesn't have an offer from the Cardinal yet, but expects one soon.

"It's an SAT situation with Stanford," he added. "I have to get my scores back first, but I'm pretty confident they'll be where they need to be.

"I'm getting pretty close to making a decision. There's still some opportunities but I'm starting to narrow down my schools."

When asked about his leaders, two schools in particular have clearly separated themselves from the rest. "Right now it would probably by UW and Stanford for sure, and then Gonzaga and Cal," Gage said. "I'm closer to UW and Stanford than the other two, so I'm not really sure how that's going to work out.

"Stanford is going to be something I really have to think about. It's really close between UW and Stanford and I have to sit down and sort out what I'm thinking and then I'll make my decision. I really want to be an engineer so I want to go to a place that can support me with that."


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