The Gonzaga Bulldogs coaching staff is out and about, trying to find the next great Zags on the recruiting trail.
Among their latest stops is Prolific Prep High School in Napa, California, where they can take in a pair of top 20 prospects in center Yves Missi and combo guard Paul McNeil.
McNeil is currently ranked No. 25 in the class of 2024, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and he’s moving over to Prolific Prep after an excellent start to his high school career in the state of North Carolina.
“I love, love love love Paul’s game,” Jason Jordan, the lead recruiting analyst at Sports Illustrated, told me on the Locked on Zags podcast. “He won Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of North Carolina. In the history of the Gatorade awards it’s only happened twice where a sophomore won. I’m here in North Carolina and I can tell you he deserved to win that award. And North Carolina is a hotbed for recruiting so that should say a lot.”
Jordan went on to describe McNeil as a shifty guard, a rarity for his size (6’6 with a 6’9 wingspan). He also has elite shooting efficiency, and is only going to continue to rise with his new team making national headlines.
“I think his stock will only rise at Prolific because Prolific is a national powerhouse,” Jordan continued. “And I think his stock is gonna rise even more at Prolific but like you said, he’s not hurting for offers. I think he’ll ascend in the class after this season.”
McNeil of course has attention from UNC, but also has offers from Florida State, Clemson, Indiana, LSU, and Tennessee, with Kansas and Kentucky expressing interest as well.
Missi is the other prize at Prolific, and it’s not hard at all to see why Gonzaga would show interest in the agile big man, who is currently No. 20 in the class per 247’s composite rankings.
“I mean, he’s a joy to watch,” Jordan said. “It’s a coach’s dream, right? High energy guy, but super skilled. He’s got great timing on his shot blocking. He’s a really capable rebounder. Where he thrives on the offensive end is his ability to knock down like mid range jump shots. And to finish with both hands. He’s got a really capable jump shot.”
Gonzaga’s track record with talented bigs, particularly bigs with the ability to step away from the rim, is historically excellent. That alone should make Missi an intriguing target for Mark Few and his squad, and Missi’s projection is still through the roof – making him even more enticing.
“He’s a guy who, he’s just starting to tap into his potential too, which is kind of scary,” Jordan continued. “So that’s why people rate him so high, because they project him to get there in the near future. But he’s the guy who can still develop a lot. And to your point, I think that will stand out, a program who is able to develop his particular skill set, and that can show him tangible evidence of being able to do that.”
Missi already has offers from Baylor, Kansas, Michigan, UCLA, and Ohio State, while Kentucky is known to be interested as well. So Gonzaga will have to act fast if they want to get this high-upside, rim-running big man into the Zag development machine starting in 2024.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.