Domantas Sabonis, son of former Trail Blazer Arvydas Sabonis, has reportedly agreed to become a Gonzaga Bulldog. Though there had been talk about the Oregon Ducks and Arizona Wildcats as well, the Bulldogs were the most aggressive in their pursuit of the forward and were met with a mutual interest.
Domantas presently plays for the Unicaja Malaga Junior team in Spain, where he rides the bench as their youngest player (17). By taking advantage of dual citizenship and joining the bulldogs, he will be able to enter the NBA draft after the completion of a year or two in school instead of otherwise waiting until 2018.
At 6’10”/209 lbs (208cm/95kg for you Europeans), he won’t be a physically dominant force right away. Domantas will need to bulk up if he wants to be highly competitive in collegiate basketball, but his exceptional footwork and generation transcending baby hook indicate noteworthy potential.
The Bulldogs did well for themselves this season, finishing with a 29-7 record and an 8th seed in the NCAA tournament. With the graduation of forward/center Sam Dower, the Gonzaga frontcourt needs depth. The 7’1” 300 lb soon-to-be junior Przemek Karnowski will remain starting center, leaving the power forward position a bit sparse, to Domantas’ advantage.
The prospect of a second generation Sabonis in the NBA one day is both intriguing and a real possibility if the report is accurate. We missed out on Arvydas’ prime due to cold war politics, and no one should heap the expectations of a second coming on this 17 year old, but it would be interesting to see if Domantas has even a touch of his Hall-of-famer father in him.
Domantas will finish out the season with Unicaja Malaga before returning to the country of his birth this summer. He was born in Portland during his father’s rookie year after all, and spent a reasonable chunk of his childhood stateside. Located in Spokane, Washington, Gonzaga is very close to the first place he called home.