March. 2, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs mens basketball team holds up the WCC championship trophy after a game against the Portland Pilots at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga won 81-52. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
What if I told you, that two WCC teams are serious contenders for the services of a 2013 forward that could make an immediate impact as a freshman next year. Well, that player would be Jamal Aytes, a 6’6″ power forward from Jserra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California.
Although it is extremely late in the 2013 recruiting season, Aytes is taking his time to make sure he finds the best possible school to fit his skill set and future aspirations. The freshman to be has reportedly taken visits to Gonzaga and West Virginia recently, and is scheduled to visit the UNLV campus this weekend. Earlier in July he took visits to Boston College and BYU. It is rumored that the leaders for Aytes are Gonzaga, BYU, West Virginia, UNLV, and Miami. He holds offers from each one of those schools.
Admittedly, I don’t know much about Aytes’s playing style, but from all accounts he has a vastly skilled post game. His best asset is his great hands; Aytes can catch balls through traffic with relative ease and finish through contact. He is a fluent dribbler and can occasionally knock down a jumper from the elbow if the defense presents it. He isn’t a particular great leaper, which could be a problem at the next level. However, his savvy down low can easily make up for that.
Gonzaga and BYU are faced with the prediciment of replacing two all-conference forwards, Elias Harris and Brandon Davies. Currently, the Bulldogs and the Cougars are relying on freshman and/or players with little experience at the power forward position to contribute big minutes. Aytes could be someone that can help fill the void left by Harris or Davies in a significant way. This would be a huge pickup for either school, and could give one school an edge for next season in what is supposed to be an ultra competitive WCC.