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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga’s 2018, 2019 recruits start off prep seasons strong

Jan. 2, 2018 Updated Tue., Jan. 2, 2018 at 6 p.m.

Clark High senior Greg Foster Jr. passes the ball around Frank Collins at an October practice. (ELIZABETH BRUMLEY)
Clark High senior Greg Foster Jr. passes the ball around Frank Collins at an October practice. (ELIZABETH BRUMLEY)

Greg Foster Jr., one of two members of Gonzaga’s 2018 class, was off to a great start in his senior season before he caught the flu.

Brock Ravet, one of two Zags’ 2019 commitments, can relate. The junior guard, several of his Kittitas High teammates and Tim Ravet, Brock’s dad and coach, caught the nasty bug that tends to linger for a couple of weeks, according to Tim Ravet.

Foster starts at point guard for Clark High in Las Vegas and was averaging about 10 points and five assists until “the illness really put him back,” Clark coach Chad Beeten said. “He had a heck of a preseason and probably the first six or seven games. We’re just starting to get him back to full health and back into shape.”

As luck would have it, Foster and Clark High and Montverde (Fla.) Academy’s Filip Petrusev, GU’s other 2018 commitment, were at the same post-Christmas prep tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Montverde powered to the Beach Ball Classic title with a 70-42 thumping of Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran. Clark finished 1-2 with a couple of narrow losses.

“I saw him play in the finals for a few minutes,” Beeten said of Petrusev. “He looked pretty good.”

Montverde (18-0) has moved into the top spot in USA Today’s Super 25 rankings. Most of the Eagles’ games have been blowouts.

Montverde is loaded with Division I players, including Duke-bound R.J. Barrett, the top player in the 2018 class. The 6-foot-10 Petrusev, a Serbian native, has been a capable scorer and defender.

Petrusev crossed paths with Kamaka Hepa, who was recruited by Gonzaga before the Montverde product’s commitment, at a tournament in Hawaii. The Eagles thumped Portland’s Jefferson High 71-43 in the title game. Hepa finished with 12 points, eight from the free-throw line.

“Filip did a great job on Hepa,” Montverde coach Kevin Boyle told “He’s a European guy who can shoot the 3 and guard on the perimeter.”

Foster is an excellent on-ball defender with quickness, length and good court vision, Beeten said.

Clark has as many as five D-I players, including UNLV-bound guard Trey Woodbury so Foster “isn’t going to put up a zillion points on this team,” Beeten said. “He does a good job of spreading it around for other guys.”

Clark was ranked No. 1 in Nevada prior to a loss to Bishop Gorman, which produced former Zag forward Zach Collins. The two powers will probably clash several more times.

Beeten talked with Collins’ dad, Mike, when Foster was considering Gonzaga. “He had nothing but great things to say about Coach (Mark) Few and the program,” Beeten said.

Foster is a pass-first point guard who excels in transition. Beeten said Foster can improve on playing without the ball, running the half-court offense and his off-ball defense.

“He’s more than a capable outside shooter,” Beeten said. “He’s got good form, he just needs a little more work and reps on his footwork.”

Gonzaga has one open scholarship for 2018.

Ravet and Gonzaga Prep standout forward Anton Watson, the two players in Gonzaga’s 2019 class, are off to strong starts.

The 6-7 Watson is averaging 21.2 points for the unbeaten Bullpups, ranked No. 1 in 4A by the Seattle Times and The News Tribune of Tacoma. Coach Matt McIntyre estimated Watson averages nine rebounds and four assists.

Ravet has had at least one 40-point game and several 30-pointers for Kittitas, which is ranked No. 1 in 2B. Kittitas, depleted by illness and injury, saw a 31-game winning streak end with a recent loss to defending 1A state champ Zillah at the Yakima SunDome.

Ravet has worked hard to add strength and improve his quickness. The 6-foot-1 point guard was at 178 pounds but lost 20 pounds during his illness.

“He was starting to be able to dunk, not that dunking matters, and he could play athletically a little faster and stronger,” Tim Ravet said. “That went backwards for a week or two when he got sick, but he’s definitely stronger, shooting the ball well from pretty deep and handling the ball and making people double-team him.”

Ravet scored 46 points in the Coyotes’ win over Liberty in the 2B state title game last season at the Spokane Arena.

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