It’s a small sample size with three visits to Gonzaga’s campus in the last 11 months, but Dusty Stromer feels quite comfortable at his future address.
Stromer, who committed to the Zags last May, sat courtside Saturday during Kraziness in the Kennel with his father, Eric. The 6-foot-6 wing had experienced noisy atmospheres inside the McCarthey Athletic Center before on visits for GU-Texas and GU-Saint Mary’s last season.
Saturday was Stromer’s first time at Kraziness, which annually generates lengthy lines outside that stretch to the soccer field complex for fans waiting to enter the building and plenty of volume inside when the skills competition, 3-point contest and 15-minute scrimmage commence.
“It’s insane,” said Stromer, GU’s lone commitment in the 2023 class. “I’ve been on a bunch of visits and there’s nothing like the atmosphere here, there really isn’t. I visited Louisville, UCLA, USC, a bunch of other places, but really there’s nothing like it. The lines outside are crazy.”
Stromer wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the visit. His father swayed in his seat to the beat of the music blaring from the speakers and high-fived Mark Few when Gonzaga’s head coach walked onto the court.
“My dad loves it,” Stromer said. “He’s actually looking at buying a house out here.”
Stromer arrived Thursday night and departed Sunday morning. He stayed busy touring the campus and the city, hanging out with Gonzaga players, watching practices, sitting in on meetings, eating dinner with the coaching staff and mixing in a little shooting session.
Best part of the visit?
“Everything,” Stromer said. “I love Gonzaga. It’s my favorite place in the world. I’m just so excited to come play here.”
Stromer has spent quite a bit of time with Julian Strawther because the junior wing “was my host” on his recruiting visit. The 6-7 Strawther provides a template offensively for wings in the program with his scoring knack from distance, mid-range and inside. Those spots on the floor have been an emphasis in Stromer’s offseason workouts with trainer Shea Frazee.
“A lot of shooting and then a lot of floaters – floaters are a big thing for a wing at Gonzaga,” said Stromer, mentioning Strawther’s proficiency on floaters in the lane. “I’ve been working on that a lot.”
Stromer has added 10 pounds to his frame since his junior year at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, California. The extra weight will help him compete on the glass, operate in the paint and at the defensive end in his senior season and next year when he joins the Zags.
“Just getting stronger, working out with Shea a lot, my game is completely different,” Stromer said. “I’ve improved my jump shot, my layups, my finishing. I’m a lot more physical. That’ll be the main thing coming (to Gonzaga), just getting stronger and stronger.”
Stromer has played for Team Why Not, an AAU team sponsored by Russell Westbrook, for a few years, including at the prestigious Peach Jam tournament the last two summers. One of his teammates was Jared McCain, who joined Stromer on last year’s visit at the Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s game before committing to Duke.
Stromer is coming off a big junior year at Notre Dame, which won a league championship for the first time in 21 seasons and was selected for the eight-team California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) open division playoffs. The Knights’ roster this season includes a pair of transfers – Duke commit Caleb Foster and Houston commit Mercy Miller, son of rapper Master P. Foster is ranked No. 13 in the 2023 class and Miller is No. 52 in the 2024 class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
Miller’s older brother, Hercy, is a sophomore at Louisville and played with former Zags Chet Holmgren and Jalen Suggs on Minnehaha Academy’s state championship teams in Minnesota.
“We’re looking good this year,” said Stromer, No. 43 in 247Sports’ rankings. “We’re trying to win the state title and bring it home.”
Stromer has big goals in mind when he eventually suits up for Gonzaga.
“I bring shooting and positive energy defensively and offensively,” he said. “And I’m just here to win, I’m not here for anything else. I want to win a national championship, so I’m going to come every day and give my 100 percent.”