Gonzaga’s recruits continue to shine
The Gonzaga Bulldogs will try to earn at least a share of their 11th straight West Coast Conference championship this week. Meanwhile, five future Bulldogs are busy chasing titles as their prep seasons wind down.
Here’s an update on Gonzaga’s 2011 recruiting class.
Bell was recently named Mr. Basketball by the Washington State Coaches Association. About midway through his senior season at Kentridge High, he became the school’s all-time scoring leader. Bell has surpassed 2,000 career points and the 6-foot-2 guard is also in Kentridge’s all-time top five for rebounds.
Last week he scored a season-high 47 points in a Chargers’ win that sealed a state berth for the third time in Bell’s four seasons. He had 34 points in another Kentridge victory Monday.
“He’s a little bigger, a little stronger and he’s taking the ball to the basket against two, three guys,” Kentridge coach Dave Jamison said. “He’s still shooting 47 percent from the beyond the arc. Defensively, he guards the best guy every night. I don’t know of anyone who has (reached) their scoring average against him.”
Bell averages nearly 29 points, eight rebounds and three assists. He has three games with at least 40 points.
“He’s got the ball in his hands most of the time,” Jamison said. “We’re not overly deep or physical. Gary’s our leading rebounder by a couple. Great kid, he’s ready to be a Zag.”
Pangos is averaging 24.1 points, 12.3 assists and 6.1 rebounds for Dr. John Denison Secondary School in Newmarket, Ontario.
“In games where we’re playing a weak team, his scoring average is way below that,” coach Brent Evans said. “When we play strong teams, his average goes up.”
The 6-1 Pangos scored 48 points against Vaughan, the top-ranked team in the province, in a six-point loss. Evans, who has coached Pangos since he was “8 years old in rec ball, playing against 10-year-olds,” said Pangos’ game continues to evolve.
“Most of the people in our league thought he’d plateaued, but he’s taken a dramatic jump in leadership, taking the big shot, making the right plays,” Evans said. “He has two personal trainers. He’s quicker, faster, more athletic, and that goes along with his high basketball IQ.”
Dranginis scored 41 points and had 12 rebounds to lead Skyview (Nampa, Idaho) into the 4A state tournament with a 68-45 victory over Middleton last Saturday. Second-ranked Skyview (19-3) plays Bishop Kelly on Thursday for the district title and state seeding.
“He’s been amazing, like the stats show,” coach Aaron Sanders said. “He does everything for us – scores, passes, gets everyone involved.”
The 6-4 Dranginis is averaging 24 points, 9.5 rebounds and five assists. He had 38 points and 14 rebounds in a recent win.
“He’s getting a lot more attention this year,” Sanders said. “He sees box-and-one, triangle-and-two with the two on Kyle. Some teams’ plan is to beat the crap out of him, so he’s had to adjust to that and he’s gotten used to the physical play.”
The 6-foot-8 Spangler, who was also a standout quarterback for Bridge Creek High, is the third-leading scorer (29.8) and the top rebounder (17.4) in Oklahoma. He’s had four triple-doubles and fell two assists shy of a quadruple-double. He recently became the state’s all-time leading rebounder.
“Basically over the last half of the season, teams have sold out, stacking everybody on him,” coach Jason Sanders said.
Spangler is shooting 70.2 percent from the field and 73.2 percent from the free-throw line for 4A Bridge Creek, which won its conference and defeated Blanchard in a district game Saturday. In one game, he had 20 points, 23 rebounds and 15 blocked shots.
“His ball-handling probably has improved as much as anything,” Sanders said. “He’s toned up, gotten quicker and become more athletic. He’s been on a weights and conditioning program pretty hard with football over. He’s as good a rebounder as I’ve seen, that’s what caught (GU coach Mark) Few’s eye, and he probably throws the best outlet pass I’ve seen.”
Sarbaugh scored 17 points as Gonzaga Prep (19-3) defeated Ferris to win the District 8 championship and earn a first-round State 4A matchup with Davis on Friday. Sarbaugh and the Bullpups have qualified for state the last three seasons.
“He’s done everything the coaching staff has wanted him to do,” coach Matty McIntyre said. “He’s so instinctive on the defensive end, he can rebound, he can play against bigs, point guards.”
Sarbaugh averages 11.5 points and roughly seven rebounds and five assists. He’ll attend Gonzaga on a tuition waiver because his late father, Tim, was a GU professor.
“People look at him and think he’s going to Gonzaga and he needs to be scoring 25 points a game,” McIntyre said. “That’s not what he has to do for us to win.”
When you have to have him in the big-game situations, he’s there for you.”