Zach Collins has been overshadowed by his older, more recognizable teammates on the Bishop Gorman boys basketball team.
But college coaches certainly know about the 6-foot-11-inch junior forward.
Collins drew interest from nearly every major school in the West, and on Monday he ended his recruitment early, making an oral commitment to Gonzaga.
Collins’ commitment is nonbinding, and the first day he can sign a letter of intent is Nov. 11. Gonzaga’s coaches cannot comment until that time.
“I think it’s a good fit for me because growing up I’ve never been about scoring first and passing second,” Collins said. “I was always brought up on team basketball, get everyone better and win. I know what they’re about.
“I knew where I wanted to go, so why not do it now?”
Collins averaged 9.2 points and 5.6 rebounds as a junior for the four-time state champion Gaels playing behind McDonald’s All Americans Chase Jeter and Stephen Zimmerman. He pointed to Gonzaga’s emphasis on its post players as one of the program’s most attractive features.
“They use their bigs more than anybody in the country,” Collins said. “The fact they play two bigs all the time and their bigs get the most touches, I think I’ll be most successful at that school.”
Collins is comfortable inside and has range out to the 3-point line. His father, Mike, who is an assistant at Gorman and coaches the team’s post players, said his son’s versatility is his biggest asset.
“Zach likes contact. He likes to go out and get it and mix it up a lot,” Mike Collins said. “Between his IQ and his skill set and his toughness, that’s what sets him apart.”
Collins is a four-star recruit by every major recruiting service. Rivals.com has him No. 56 overall in the class of 2016, and Collins is No. 52 in the ESPN60.
Collins was recruited by several schools outside the region but made it clear he didn’t want to attend a school back East. In addition to Gonzaga, Collins made official visits to Cal, New Mexico, San Diego State and Utah and unofficially visited UNLV.
Zach Collins said he wanted to commit by the end of his junior year so he could enjoy the summer and give the schools who were recruiting him enough time to recruit other players.
“I think a lot of people who have seen us play and been to our practices know how good Zach is,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “I’m excited for Zach. He’s done a great job and gotten better each year. Zach can pop out and shoot, and he’s versatile enough to go inside and outside.”