AP NEWS

Mali center Oumar Ballo orally commits to Gonzaga

February 24, 2019

Gonzaga’s next recruiting class keeps getting bigger in numbers and size.

Oumar Ballo, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound center from Mali, orally committed to the Zags on Saturday night shortly before the start of the Gonzaga-BYU game, according to a source. Ballo visited campus earlier this week and watched Thursday’s victory over Pepperdine. He left Spokane early Friday.

Gonzaga had been considered the frontrunner for Ballo, who reportedly has a 7-6 wing span. Arizona and Baylor were among the other programs interested Ballo.

Ballo is approximately 16 1/2 years old but plans on reclassifying to the 2019 class. He’ll reportedly enroll at Gonzaga for summer school. Ballo put up big numbers at the FIBA U-17 World Cup last summer, averaging 21 points and 17 rebounds.

Ballo joins three other forwards in the incoming class: Gonzaga Prep’s Anton Watson; Drew Timme, from Richardson, Texas; and 6-10 Russian native Pavel Zakharov, who plays for Montverde (Florida) Academy’s Center for Basketball Development (CBD) team.

GU’s incoming class also includes Kittitas guard Brock Ravet and Lithuanian wing Martynas Arlauskas.

Ballo and Zakharov recently attended the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, held during NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Zags could need to replenish a significant portion of their frontcourt with juniors Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke and Killian Tillie all considered potential NBA Draft candidates.