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Gonzaga Basketball

Portal prospects: Gonzaga could target Trent Perry, Ilane Fibleuil and three other players to fill out 2024-25 roster

After working to replace six players who graduated, left school for the NBA or transferred away from Gonzaga last offseason, Mark Few and his coaching staff shouldn’t have to spend as much time rebuilding or retooling the Bulldogs’ roster this summer.

Nearly one month since the season ended with a Sweet 16 loss to Purdue, the Zags still appear to be on track to lose just one scholarship player – fifth-year senior forward Anton Watson – and they got a jump start on next year, landing a commitment from Pepperdine transfer and top West Coast Conference scorer Michael Ajayi before they left for Detroit to play the Boilermakers.

As things stand, Gonzaga still has two scholarships to work with entering the 2024-25 season. It’s reasonable to expect the Bulldogs will fill at least one of those, if not both, to improve the team’s depth at certain positions.

How will the Zags round out the roster? Who’s available? Who has Few’s staff contacted?

We examine five potential high school candidates/college transfers who could help Gonzaga next season.

Trent Perry, G, 6-foot-4, 175 pounds

Previous school: Harvard-Westlake (California) High School

The scoop: When Perry revealed his six finalists last October, Gonzaga was part of a group that also included Oregon, Colorado, TCU, Stanford and the school he eventually committed to, USC. It wasn’t surprising to see Perry reopen his recruitment once Trojans coach Andy Enfield left for the same position at USC and was perhaps less surprising to see Gonzaga reopen communication lines with the four-star guard who won the state championship at Harvard-Westlake.

The fit: Along with Gonzaga, Perry’s reportedly heard from USC, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisville, Villanova, Virginia, UCLA, Oregon, TCU, SMU and UNLV since reopening his recruitment. Virginia and Tony Bennett might have the lead , with reports hinting at an official visit to Charlottesville. Perry would have to bide his time at Gonzaga, with the starting guard spots occupied, but it’s easy to envision him playing key minutes off the bench while learning under the tutelage of veteran players like Ryan Nembhard and Nolan Hickman.

Wesley Yates, G, 6-4, 200

Previous school: Washington

The scoop: Another coaching change within the Pac-12 led to our next candidate reconsidering his future and entering the transfer portal. A four-star recruit coming out of Beaumont (Texas) High School, Yates elected to sign with Washington after listing Gonzaga among his nine finalists. He never saw the floor in 2023-24 due to a preseason foot injury. Yates put his name in the portal roughly one month after the Huskies fired seventh-year coach Mike Hopkins after a sixth-place finish in the Pac-12.

The fit: There hasn’t been much information on Yates’ recruitment since he entered the portal a little more than a week ago, but it wouldn’t be surprising to hear Gonzaga reached out given the staff’s history with the former top-100 prospect. Yates didn’t get a chance to show what he can do last season at UW. Coming out of high school he was tabbed as a dynamic three-level scorer, and he brings something the Zags don’t necessarily have with their other guards. Given his injury, Yates might be more inclined to take things slowly, and thus may be willing to spend a year developing at a place like Gonzaga before stepping into a larger role the following season.

Ilane Fibleuil, F, 6-6, 200

Previous school: UCLA

The scoop: Our theme of one-time Gonzaga recruits continues with Fibleuil, who chose UCLA over the Zags and G League Ignite after taking an official visit to Spokane, where he sat alongside countryman and former Zags standout Killian Tillie for a Dec. 28, 2022, game against Eastern Oregon. Fibleuil was part of the wave of international players Mick Cronin signed to his 2023 recruiting class, but he was one of four Bruins to hit the portal after UCLA went 16-17 and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019. Fibleuil played in 25 games for the Bruins, averaging 1.0 points and 1.5 rebounds off the bench.

The fit: Fibleuil wasn’t productive at UCLA last season and his role diminished near the end of the year, but it’s worth noting his best game came on Nov. 22 against Gonzaga at the Maui Invitational, when the France native scored a season-high six points and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds in 18 minutes. There isn’t an obvious role for Fibleuil at Gonzaga if the roster stays as is, but his size and rebounding off the bench could be useful against bigger backcourts. It’s worth noting Few’s staff has a near-perfect track record when it comes to developing French players.

Nolan Traore, G, 6-4, 180

Current team: Saint-Quentin (LNB Pro A)

The scoop: It’s unclear if the Zags are actively pursuing the last French player on our list, but by all accounts they’re still in the mix for Traore, who was in town for a late-December game against San Diego State and also had the chance to pick Tillie’s brain while on his official visit. Traore’s recruitment could pick up steam after the talented combo guard’s breakout performance at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. Traore finished with 18 points – the third-highest total behind top prospects A.J. Dybansta Jr. (21) and Cooper Flagg (19) – while dishing out four assists for the World Team.

The fit: The 17-year-old guard who recently made his professional debut in France for Saint-Quentin has also taken visits to Xavier and Alabama and is also considering the pro route. While speaking with in February about Gonzaga, Traore said, “They play fast and they play with good concepts, I liked it there.” Similar to the three other guards mentioned, Traore is an interesting option for Gonzaga because of his size and versatility. He could give the Bulldogs a reliable ballhandler when Nembhard’s not on the floor.

Ian Martinez, G, 6-3, 185

Previous school: Utah State

The scoop: Could Gonzaga become the fourth school for Martinez? After coach Danny Sprinkle left for Washington, the senior guard entered his name in the portal, indicating he’ll spend his final season of eligibility somewhere other than Logan, Utah, after previously playing at Utah, Maryland and Utah State. A native of Costa Rica, Martinez earned All-Mountain West honorable mention honors after starting in 29 of 34 games and averaging 13.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Martinez made 47% from the field and had impressive shooting clips from the 3-point line (38%) and free-throw line (85%).

The fit: Another guard with decent size. Starting to notice a trend here? If the Bulldogs decide to add another backcourt player to supplement the presumed returning starters, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone better suited to defend the bigger, taller guards Gonzaga will see. According to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Martinez has heard from Gonzaga, Virginia, St. John’s, SMU, USC, UW, Maryland, Clemson, George Mason, Saint Mary’s and UC Santa Barbara. Few’s relationship with Mark Turgeon, who recruited Martinez to Maryland, is also something to keep in mind .