Gonzaga’s latest international recruit, Martynas Arlauskas, adds to the program’s already impressive 2019 class.
Arlauskas, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound small forward from Lithuania, is the Zags’ third 2019 commitment, joining Gonzaga Prep forward Anton Watson and Kittitas guard Brock Ravet.
The 18-year-old Arlauskas has several connections to Gonzaga. He played for Zalgiris, seeing time on the club’s first and second teams. Arlauskas played at times with former Zags guard Kevin Pangos, who left Zalgiris after last season to join Barcelona. The teams practiced daily against each other.
“We talked a lot,” Arlauskas said. “Kevin told me all the great things about Gonzaga.”
Arlauskas’ father, Mindaugas, played for Zalgiris in the 1980s with Arvydas Sabonis, whose son Domantas was an All-American at GU before becoming an NBA lottery pick. Arvydas is president of the Lithuania Basketball Federation.
Arlauskas talked with Domantas at the Basketball Without Borders Camp in Los Angeles in February.
Illinois and Texas Tech also recruited Arlauskas, who visited GU in August.
“It’s like one big family,” Arlauskas said of Gonzaga. “I really loved the style of play. It’s like European basketball, team basketball. Everything about it is about the team.”
Arlauskas will play for Zalgiris’ second team this season, but he’s sidelined for a few months after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. He doesn’t receive a paycheck, which preserved the option of playing collegiately in the U.S.
“I wanted to try something else,” he said. “I wanted to try United States basketball, and I want to study more.”
Arlauskas is capable scorer off the dribble or beyond the 3-point arc and he’s considered a strong defender and rebounder.
“I think I’m an all-around player,” he said, “but I really need to improve in every aspect of my game.”
Arlauskas is No. 42 in 247sports’ 2019 rankings. The 6-9 Watson, who can play small or power forward, is No. 32 on 247sports’ top 100 and No. 54 according to ESPN. The 6-1 Ravet is listed at No. 90 by 247sports, which has Gonzaga fifth in the team rankings.
Arlauskas was a member of Lithuania’s U-16 team a few years ago but hasn’t played on national teams the last few summers because he’s been dealing with injuries.
Arlauskas has been on Gonzaga’s radar for a while. Assistant coach Tommy Lloyd has been a driving force in GU’s recruitment of international players, including current Zags Rui Hachimura, Killian Tillie and Joel Ayayi.
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