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A bit more on Bell

Back with a slightly expanded article on Gary Bell Jr., who committed to Gonzaga on Monday. I wasn’t able to get in touch with Gary or his prep coach. If that changes, I’ll post their thoughts tomorrow.

Meanwhile, read on for the unedited article that will run in Tuesday’s S-R.


By Jim Meehan

jimm@spokesman.com; (208) 765-7131

Gary Bell Jr., regarded as one of the top players in the 2011 class, has verbally committed to the Gonzaga men’s basketball program, his father confirmed Monday night.

Bell, a standout guard at Kentridge High in Kent, Wash., visited Gonzaga’s campus over the weekend with his family.

“He liked the family atmosphere, the players, the coaches. They definitely made him feel real welcome,” Gary Bell Sr. said. “It’s just a good family atmosphere and it’s a winning program. Everybody embraced him. As soon as he left from shaking Coach (Mark) Few’s hand and went to the hotel, he said, ‘I’m ready.’

“I told him, ‘OK son, sleep on it.’ Today he came in and said, ‘I think I want to commit.’ I told him I was 100 percent behind him.”

Bell, who scored 55 points in an overtime loss to Auburn-Riverside in December, is rated No. 53 on ESPNU’s Super 60 and No. 74 on Rivals.com’s top 150 prospects in the 2011 recruiting class. Gonzaga has 2011 verbal commitments from the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Bell and Skyview High (Nampa, Idaho) guard Kyle Dranginis. Three Rivers Community College (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) guard Marquise Carter signed a letter-of-intent earlier this month and will join the Zags this fall.

Bell visited Gonzaga, Washington and Cal. He had scholarship offers from seven schools, including UCLA, Arizona State, Cal, USC, Washington and Washington State, according to Rivals.com. Bell was also receiving interest from schools such as Kansas, Florida and Illinois, Bell Sr. said. “He was getting a ton of mail and questionnaires.”

Bell made The Seattle Times’ All-State first-team and Associated Press All-State honorable mention. He averaged 22.6 points and nearly four assists per game as a junior. Bell played three games at a holiday tournament in Spokane last December, pouring in 24, 23 and 26 points as the Chargers went 2-1. He averaged 19 points as a sophomore.

“He was getting tired of everybody calling and trying to figure out what he wanted to do. It just felt right and everything fell into place,” Bell Sr. said. “We’re all excited. It’s definitely a good day for Gonzaga and a good day for Gary Bell Jr.”

Attempts to contact Bell Jr. were unsuccessful. His father said he was practicing with his AAU team Monday night.

 


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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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