Maarty Leunen, the versatile 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward from Redmond, Ore., just got back from his second official visit. Over the weekend, Leunen took in the sights and sounds of Spokane and Gonzaga. And the feelings he brought back from his trip can only be described in a distinctly positive manner.
"I had an awesome time there, hanging with their guys mostly," said Leunen. "I know most of them like Derek Raivio and Blake Stepp. (Gonzaga verbal commitment) David Pendergraft also stopped by. I'm really comfortable around all of them."
Previous to the trip, Leunen had concerns regarding whether or not he would be
comfortable at a smaller campus atmosophere. Those concerns were quickly put
to rest during his visit to Gonzaga.
"It's a smaller place, but there's nothing wrong with that," said Leunen. "You
still get the same atmosphere as you do with a bigger campus."
And while Spokane is no Los Angeles, Leunen was also surprised and pleased with
how large a town Spokane really was and what there was to do there. "It was cool, it's big," said Leunen. "You wouldn't think that it's big but in the city it was."
Of course, playing ball was on the schedule at hoops-crazy Gonzaga and Leunen
got to scrimmage with the Zags players twice during the trip. During one of
the sessions, a special visitor showed up -- which goes to show that Los Angeles
isn't the only home to NBA Hall-of-Fame players.
"We scrimmaged, and John Stockton scrimmaged with us," said Leunen. "He really gets up and down the court and pushes the ball really fast. It was fun playing with him and watching him play. He just knows the game."
Basketball wasn't the only sport Leunen spent time playing over the weekend
either. "They also took me golfing," said Leunen. "I went with Blake Stepp, Shawn
Bankhead, and Colin Floyd. It was cool hanging with them."
Of course, the question begs - who won? "It was close," said Leunen. "Floyd is good. He shot a 38."
As for Leunen's own score..."Me and Blake ended up not keeping track," said Leunen. "It was getting ugly."
The good feeling Leunen takes away from the Gonzaga visit only makes things
tougher for him as now the Zags have left an indelible positive impression on
him. "It does (make things tougher) because it's another good visit that I had," said Leunen. "I have strong feelings for the program and their players."
Next on tap for Leunen will be the two Oregon schools. Oregon is first,
starting this Tuesday (Oregon State follows over the weekend). While Leunen
knows practically everything there is to know about the Ducks, he's still
looking forward to the trip.
"I'm just excited to go down there," said Leunen. "It will be good to see the
campus again and the facilities."
Leunen is rated the 95th best player in the country in the 2004 Rivals150 list.
Jed Tai is a senior writer with Hoopville.com