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Nunez finds fit at Gonzaga

Angel Nunez spent a good portion of his 21st birthday Saturday roughly 35,000 feet in the air. Nunez, the former Louisville Cardinal who committed to Gonzaga on Friday night, flew from Spokane to his native New York on Saturday.

In a telephone interview, Nunez said he was blown away by the family atmosphere at GU during his visit. He was a highly touted prep prospect, but struggled to find a spot in Louisville's rotation, mainly for defensive reasons, according to this article. Gonzaga hopes to help the 6-8, 200-pound Nunez, who has been compared to ex-Zag Micah Downs, turn his considerable potential into on-court production.

Read on for my article on Nunez (pronounced NOON-yez) that will run in Sunday's S-R.


By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

 

Angel Nunez liked everything about the Gonzaga men’s basketball program, on and off the court.

Nunez committed to the Bulldogs following Friday’s 94-87 win over Baylor. The 6-foot-8, 200-pound guard/forward left Louisville’s program earlier this month. He spent a few days visiting Gonzaga before flying home to New York on Saturday on his 21st birthday.

“I was overwhelmed by the way everyone treated each other like family,” Nunez said. “It was just one big unit and the coaches were so supportive. I really felt like they want to help me improve as a player and win as a program.”

Nunez said he was also looking at Miami, Missouri and Oregon, but didn’t have visits scheduled.

“The (Baylor) game was definitely a big part of my decision, just watching how the guys are all together and even the guys that didn’t score the most points cheered on their teammates,” said Nunez, who plans on enrolling for spring semester at Gonzaga, which begins in a few weeks. “That was beautiful.”

Nunez will probably play the ‘3’, but he said he’s capable of playing any position except center.

Assistant coach Tommy Lloyd said Nunez has similarities to ex-Zag Micah Downs, who transferred to GU from Kansas. “He’s a talented player,” Lloyd said. “He’s long, skilled and athletic.”

Nunez played sparingly as a freshman at Louisville last season. He played in a couple of exhibition games this season, but didn’t appear in any regular-season contests. He suffered a concussion in a November practice that Louisville’s trainer called the worst he’d ever seen.

“I was under the rim boxing out, looking up and one our big men went for a putback dunk and kneed me in the back of my head,” said Nunez, who said he is “still taking it easy. I’m getting back on the court gradually.”

Under NCAA transfer rules, Nunez is required to sit out one year. He’s expected to eligible for second semester of the 2013-14 season. Nunez is optimistic he’ll have 2½ years of eligibility remaining because he didn’t play in any games this season, but that will probably require NCAA approval.


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Jim Allen 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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