Gonzaga has continued a strong recruiting push for the future with a basketball commitment for 2008 from Andy Poling, a highly regarded post prospect from Westview High School outside Portland.
"It wasn't that I wanted to get it out of the way or anything," the 6-10 Poling said Thursday. "I just knew it was right for me. I didn't want other schools to waste any more of their time or my time if I knew what I wanted to do."
Poling said he had scholarship offers from Washington, Arizona and UCLA and was also being recruited by California, Oregon State and Oregon, among others. He averaged 17.8 points a game last season at Westview.
Assistant coach Mark Stone said Poling scored 35 points in a double-overtime game against Beaverton in front of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar.
"I know he liked Lorenzo," Stone said. "He's a very nice man. I think a lot of times, especially for a big man ... it's just the [fast] style of play the university plays. I think he looked at that and wasn't quite sure it was a style he could play in. I don't know that for a fact."
Poling is described as a slender player with good skills around the basket, good hands and ability to run the floor, but who needs to add strength and bulk.
Referring to the strength he'd like to add, Poling said, "That's one of my main issues. That'll come with time; I'm still pretty young. That, and developing more of an outside game, a mid-range game, that's what I'm working on right now."
Gonzaga began recruiting Poling early. He saw games in person, including a stirring 64-62 victory over Oklahoma State at KeyArena last December won on a late, three-point bank shot by Adam Morrison.
Gonzaga now has five high-school recruits committed to enroll after this year's class, including a nationally recognized 2007 threesome of Austin Daye, Robert Sacre and Bainbridge's Steven Gray. Poling said knowing Sacre, an AAU teammate, helped, but didn't measurably influence him.
"He's not a kid who's going to wow you with athleticism, but he's going to be a great system guy," Stone said of Poling. "He's going to be a four-year college player. He's not going there thinking he's going into the pros [soon], although he could very well be a pro."