SALT LAKE CITY – The countdown is on for the Wade family and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Gonzaga recruit Jesse Wade has 24 days remaining in his two-year LDS mission in Lyon, France, his father Eric said. Wade’s family can’t wait to see him and the Zags probably feel the same way.
Jesse made his commitment in Oct., 2013, prior to his junior season at Davis High in Kaysville, 15 minutes from Salt Lake City.
“That’s a long time to say goodbye to somebody you enjoy having around,” Eric said.
So much so that Eric hasn’t been able to watch the video he took when he dropped Jesse off at the missionary training center in Provo in April, 2015.
“But the other day I was able to look at it and know I’ll be able to see him soon,” Eric said.
Eric purchased NCAA tickets months ago and was thrilled when the Zags named popped up in Salt Lake City. Eric and 15-year-old son Josh watched Gonzaga’s 66-46 win over South Dakota State on Thursday at Vivint Smart Home Arena. They’ll be on hand for the Zags’ game against Northwestern on Saturday.
Eric has watched Gonzaga’s last five games in person. He uploads video clips to Jesse’s iCloud account, including the final few minutes of Thursday’s game.
“He made a comment, ‘That was so awesome,’ ” Eric said. “The next clip, he wrote, ‘I cannot wait to come back and become a Zag.’ ”
Sounds good to coach Mark Few.
“We could have used Jesse,” said Few, following Gonzaga’s perimeter shooting issues in Thursday’s game. “He can bang in 3s from 30 feet and he’s a confident kid. We think he’s going to be a really, really good player for us.”
The family and Jesse exchange e-mails once a week on Jesse’s preparation day, when he also takes care of chores such as laundry and grocery shopping. Twice a year, on Mother’s Day and Christmas Day, they visit via Skype.
“He’s a very good e-mail writer, keeping us in touch as far as what he’s doing and he sends a lot of pictures,” Eric said. “We last saw him on Christmas. It isn’t easy.”
Wade, rated as a three-star recruit by ESPN.com after a decorated career at Davis High, plays in pick-up soccer or basketball games on Mondays. He also takes advantage of 45 minutes of exercise time daily and has added 8-9 pounds of muscle, Eric said.
Wade will ramp up his conditioning when he returns home. Eric said he’ll probably take on-line courses before arriving at GU for summer school in July.
“Gonzaga fans have known about him for four years, but still haven’t seen him,” Eric said. “They’re probably wondering if he’s real, but he is.”
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