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Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Zags' latest recruit? 10th grader-to-be

Seattle Times staff reporter

Gonzaga, which lately has been locking up recruits early, has landed a prospect who tops the timeline of all others and is among the earliest ever in college basketball.

The Zags have received a commitment from 6-foot-8, 220-pound Brock Osweiler of Flathead High School in Kalispell, Mont., who just finished his freshman year. Osweiler, a rugged prospect with skills, can't sign a letter of intent until November 2008 and is recruitable until then.

Osweiler averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds for a team that finished fourth among Montana's big schools. The Zags are known to have liked his toughness.

John Osweiler, his father, said he and his son visited Gonzaga unofficially last week, when the scholarship offer came.

"Hearing what they had to say about the future of the team, Brock was 100 percent committed," the senior Osweiler said. "A lot of people over here say, it's too early and all this other stuff. Actually, it goes back a long time. He has followed the Zags for a long time.

"He's been over there, looked around, we've checked it out very thoroughly. He feels it's going to be an excellent fit for him. We've had a lot of conversations, pros and cons. There really wasn't much con."

Osweiler's commitment beats that of Gonzaga forward David Pendergraft, who decided on Gonzaga in November of his sophomore year. Since then, the Zags received a commitment last summer from guard Steven Gray of Bainbridge, before his junior year.

Osweiler acquitted himself well at Nike's recent Hoop Jamboree in St. Louis, playing on the perimeter more than he does with his high-school team. He also plays quarterback for the football team.

The coach at his 2,400-student high school, Fred Febach, said he doesn't think the early scholarship will cause Osweiler to coast.

"You don't want him to become complacent," Febach said. "I don't believe that will happen. I think it may create a little more pressure; he's going to be carrying a bull's-eye. Kids on opposing teams will say, 'He's going to Gonzaga, I'm going to flat get after him.' "

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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