Canada's best high school point guard, Kevin Pangos, has committed to playing basketball for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. "I want to go tomorrow, I'm that excited," said the 17-year-from his home Holland Landing, Ont., about an hour north of Toronto.
Pangos, who gave the Bulldogs his verbal commitment on Tuesday night, had fielded interest from multiple NCAA Division 1 men's basketball coaches. He said Gonzaga was the exact right fit, for its academic focus, cozy campus, and most importantly, head coach Mark Few's vision for him on the court.
"They had a plan, and I contributed big time to it," he said.
As an added bonus, he'll know a few teammates when he gets there. Gonzaga has three other players from Canada -Robert Sacre, Kelly Olynyk, and Manny Arop. Pangos has played with all three on various national squads.
Heading into his senior year of high school, Pangos - who is the son of long-time York University women's basketball coach, Bill Pangos - had generated substantial buzz for his shooting and passing abilities, as well as a Steve Nash-like ability to see the court. He was selected to run the point in the Jordan Brand International Game, which showcased the world's best 16-and-under players and took place at Madison Square Garden. He helped his Canadian cadet team to a bronze medal at the world championship in Germany, taking individual honours for best point guard.
Prior to that, he took MVP honours for the Canadian club team that won the Victor Rho Milan International Tournament in Italy in May of last year. That summer, he made a trip to Italy for an exhibition tour with the Canadian senior men's team, despite being just 16.
Pangos, who opted to finish high school in Canada instead of following many of his Canadian basketball peers to prep schools in the United States, said he's just relieved and excited to have made this next phase official.
"I didn't want to drag it out any longer. Gonzaga has always been on top of my list."
To celebrate, he said he plans to get back to work by kicking some butt - literally.
"My trainer has me doing Kung Fu. It's my first time. He says it's great cross-training."