With starter Sam Dower Jr. out of eligibility, Gonzaga was in a position where another front court body wouldn’t hurt matters as they look to make yet another NCAA tournament appearance in 2015. Thursday it was reported by multiple outlets and later announced by the school itself that 6-foot-10 forward Domantas Sabonis will join the program next season.
Sabonis, the son of Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, played this past season with Unicaja Malaga in the Spanish Liga ACB but did not sign a professional contract in order to preserve his college eligibility. Sabonis averaged 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in just over ten minutes of action per game in Liga ACB action, shooting 47.7% from the field.
Sabonis also played in 19 Euroleague (European basketball’s answer to the Champions League) games, posting averages of 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
“[Domantas] is a skilled basketball player who should have an immediate impact on our program,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said in the school release. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to allow him to continue his development as a basketball player while continuing his education.”
Few also noted in the release that 7-footer Ryan Edwards, who was a freshman this past season, is hoping to redshirt this season.
Sabonis joins a front court rotation that will include returning starter Przemek Karnowski, Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer, who’s now eligible after sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules, Angel Nuñez and Lucas Meikle. He’s also the fourth member of Gonzaga’s 2014 recruiting class (not counting Wiltjer), with guards Brian Alberts, Silas Melson and Josh Perkins being the other three signees.
Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.
News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.
Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.
Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.
6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.
West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.
Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.