April 17, 2014 in Sports

Zags sign big man Domantas Sabonis

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Gonzaga has added another big piece to its recruiting class with the signing of 6-foot-10 forward Domantas Sabonis, the 17-year-old son of former NBA center Arvydas Sabonis.

The Bulldogs on Thursday announced Sabonis has signed a letter of intent. He joins a strong incoming class with guards Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Bryan Alberts.

Sabonis, who goes by “Domas”, plays for Unicaja Malaga in Spain. He informed Unicaja earlier this week of his intentions to play in the U.S. He will finish Unicaja’s season, which continues into May, and he’s expected to play for Lithuania in the European Championships this summer before arriving in Spokane.

“Domas is a skilled basketball player who should have an immediate impact on our program,” coach Mark Few said in a release. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to allow him to continue his development as a basketball player while continuing his education.”

The 215-pound Sabonis, who turns 18 next month, averages 2.7 points and 2 rebounds for Unicaja. He sees limited minutes playing behind an experienced group of forwards, including former Maryland Terrapin Nik Caner-Medley.

Sabonis averaged 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds for Lithuania in the 2012 FIBA U-16 European Championships. He averaged 14 points and 11.4 rebounds in the FIBA U-18 European Championships.

Sabonis was born in Portland when his father played for the Trail Blazers. Arvydas, a 7-3 center, is a member of the Naismith and FIBA hall of fames and currently serves as president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation.

“Malaga made an offer to him but in NCAA he will play and study,” Arvydas told sportando.com a few days ago. “In Europe he is sitting most of the games while in NCAA he can be in the starting five.”

Sabonis is a versatile big man with an ability to score inside and outside. He’s an effective rebounder, defender and passer, and his ball-handling skills enable him to create shots for himself and teammates.

Sabonis joins a frontcourt that includes Przemek Karnowski, Kyle Wiltjer, Ryan Edwards and Angel Nunez.

“Ryan has indicated a desire to redshirt so with the signing of Domas it gives us some options,” Few said.

GU, WSU Arena-bound

The annual Gonzaga-Washington State game will take place at the Spokane Arena next season, GU athletic director Mike Roth said. It’ll be a Bulldogs’ home game.

The series resumes the following season in Pullman.


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