Shooting guard Zach Norvell has become the second top 100 player in Gonzaga’s 2016 recruiting class.
Norvell, who attends Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy, the same school that produced Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker, announced Monday on Twitter his selection of Gonzaga over Florida State, Georgetown and Iowa State.
Norvell joins 6-foot-10 center Zach Collins and highly touted French forward Killian Tillie in the Zags’ 2016 class. Collins, entering his senior season at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, is No. 57 on ESPN’s Top 100; Norvell No. 76.
Gonzaga also has three transfers – Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington), Johnathan Williams (Missouri) and Jeremy Jones (Rice) – sitting out this season that become eligible next year.
“The amount of support they showed, the coaching staff, the tradition of winning is amazing and also the guys that are going to be there when I’m there,” said Norvell, when asked why he chose Gonzaga. “I feel like I can fit in perfectly.”
Norvell is listed at 6-4 but he and Simeon coach Robert Smith said he’s closer to 6-6.
Norvell said he brings “my toughness, my IQ and my determination to win. I always feel like my team can win no matter what and I try to be one of the smartest players on the floor.”
Smith said Norvell’s decision came down to the wire between Gonzaga and Florida State.
“He announced it at school, he didn’t want to have all that big hoopla,” Smith said. “It’s been a long month for him and he wanted to make the right decision. He just felt Gonzaga was the right place. He just left my office with a Gonzaga shirt on.”
Norvell is rated as a four-star recruit on a five-star scale. He’s ranked as the 24th best shooting guard in the 2016 class and the top player in Illinois, which produced former Zag standout Jeremy Pargo. Norvell had a big season on the AAU circuit playing for Mac Irvin Fire. Norvell nailed 14 3-pointers and scoring 53 points in one game at the Las Vegas Classic.
“He’s just a basketball player,” Smith said. “Whatever you need him to do, he’ll do. He can really, really shoot it. He passes well, can handle the ball. He’s a really well-rounded player.”
Smith estimated that Norvell averaged about 13 points, 4-5 rebounds and three assists as a junior on a team with four players that graduated to Division I programs. Norvell filled in at point guard two years ago after an injury to the starter and “did a really good job,” Smith said. “He can play both positions.”
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