Derek Raivio had schools like Texas and Stanford hot on his trail, but he could not pass up the chance to attend a top 25 caliber program in his native Washington State.
As a result, Raivio, a resourceful 6-1 155 pound point guard from Mountainview H.S. in Vancouver, Wash., gave an oral commitment to Gonzaga on Thursday night.
Raivio spent last Wednesday and Thursday in Spokane, checking out Head Coach Mark Few's West Coast Conference powerhouse.
And according to Derek's dad Rick, all of the pieces simply fell into place.
"Gonzaga is a program that Derek has followed closely for quite a while, and there's kind of a Vancouver connection to the school," Mr. Raivio said. "It had always been on his list, and he likes the playing style and the coaches."
Raivio has been invited to the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis this month, and in addition to the programs listed above, Arizona and other elite programs had planned to monitor the cagey scoring lead guard.
Raivio burst onto the national scene in late April at the Kingwood Classic in Houston, Texas, where he impressed while playing for Troy Berry's Portland Legends program.
This past season at Mountainview, Raivio averaged 23 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals per game.
Gonzaga has two key backcourt members returning this fall in senior Winston Brooks and junior Blake Stepp. That means that Raivio could be walking into a good situation when he arrives at GU in the fall of 2003.
"It's a perfect fit," Mr. Raivio explained. "We looked at some things, like playing time, style of play and how the coaching staff relates to the players."
"For me, I was looking at school, so I was pushing Stanford and Gonzaga, and Texas is a heck of a school as well," Mr. Raivio continued. "So we said let's look at the situation, and it couldn't be a better fit, because they [Gonzaga] will need a point guard when those guys are gone, and it's a situation where maybe in his freshman year he could be on a good team."
Mr. Raivio played college ball at the University of Portland, where he teamed with Darwin Cook to form a potent backourt punch. Cook went on to play in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets, while Raivio was a fourth round draft pick of the Lakers who went on to enjoy a fruitful 11-year career overseas.
"Gonzaga was sixth in the nation last year and they have a great coaching staff and program," he said. "What could be better?"
"You see the kids in the program develop, and they come back every year -- it doesn't stop when basketball is done," he continued. "You have John Stockton and Dan Dickau back in the summer, what great teachers for you."
After committing to Gonzaga, Derek Raivio went off to a team basketball camp at the University of Oregon.
His summer will only get busier in the next few weeks, with trips slated for Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Kansas City.
We will keep you posted on his progress this summer, so keep it here for the best coverage of recruiting on the internet.