When Zach Norvell returned from his official visit to Gonzaga in September, it was just a matter of comparing and contrasting everything else to his leader. That’s how impressed and “blown away” the Simeon senior was with his visit to the West Coast Conference power.
Norvell, the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s No. 3 ranked prospect in the Class of 2016, made it official Monday, committing to Gonzaga and coach Mark Few.
Although he followed up his trip to Spokane, Wash., with official visits to Georgetown, Iowa State and Florida State in recent weeks –– and enjoyed the visits and thought long and hard about each school –– there was always something that pulled him back to Gonzaga.
“Even though all the official visits were amazing and cool, I think what always stood out to me as I went on these visits was just going back and thinking about how I felt, the feeling I had while I was on my visit there,” Norvell said of his trip to Gonzaga. “I was blown away by the amount of respect and love Gonzaga basketball has there. It’s a basketball city, a basketball school, and the Zag Nation is crazy with their support.”
Few and his Gonzaga coaching staff also impressed Norvell, a strong-bodied 6-5 guard with toughness and perimeter shooting ability. In addition, Norvell was well aware of the history of basketball success the program has had over the past two decades.
“The coaching staff and the players made me feel like it would be a home away from home,” said Norvell, who will bring his tough-minded, physical way to Gonzaga. “Coach Few and the staff seem to really have a plan for their players and showed that to me. Plus, their history of winning really stands out.”
Gonzaga has earned a NCAA Tournament bid each of the past 17 seasons, reaching the Elite Eight this past year where it fell to top-seeded and eventual national champ Duke.
Few has had past success with a Public League star as Jeremy Pargo, a former Robeson product, enjoyed a stellar four-year career at Gonzaga. As a senior, Pargo was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year.
Norvell, who helped lead Simeon to 28 wins a year ago, now becomes the focal point of a Simeon team that will once again challenge for a state championship this season. He was around his freshman year when Jabari Parker led Simeon to a state title and wants one of his own. And Norvell doesn’t shy away from discussing the importance of winning a state championship.
“When this season is over and if we haven’t won a state championship, then I won’t be able to view it as a success,” Norvell said of his own high expectations. “That’s how I feel and how competitive I am. Being the leader of this team, a captain and a senior, it’s very important to me we finish the season with a state title.”