Potential Hoya: Zach Norvell
After two consecutive years of bringing in premium frontcourt talent, John Thompson III and his staff are focusing on bringing in some high-quality guards in the Class of 2016. Georgetown already has one commitment from 6-foot-3 guard Jagan Mosely, but the team is not satisfied with just one guard in the class. In addition to Seventh Woods, Curtis Jones, and Bruce Brown, the team has been recruiting rising senior guard Zach Norvell of Simeon Career Academy in Chicago.
Weight: 180 pounds
Year: High School Senior
School: Simeon Career Academy(Ill.)
Recruiting Profile: Class of 2016
ESPN: 4-star recruit, #76 prospect
Rivals: 4-star recruit, #94 prospect
247Sports: 3-star recruit, #128 prospect
Norvell is a prototypical pure shooting guard. The left-handed senior is a threat from long-range, either on the catch or off the dribble. He scored 53 points in a single game at the Las Vegas Classic, hitting 14 three-pointers, including 11 in the first half alone. In addition, Norvell has shown the ability to slash to the rim and score in the paint. He is lauded for his aggression and willingness to attack on offense.
Still, Norvell is not without question marks. Although he is generally regarded as an effective outside shooter, he shot only 25% from three-point range during EYBL play this past summer and needs to improve his consistency as a shooter. In addition, Norvell is not an elite athlete along the lines of Seventh Woods or Bruce Brown, which is part of the reason he is not more highly regarded in the recruiting rankings.
It is clear, however, that Norvell has a natural knack for scoring and could be an extremely effective piece at the college level. He has great size (Rivals lists him at 6-foot-6) and length, which should help offset his lack of explosive athleticism. There is always a place for a shooter, especially if that shooter has Norvell's size.
Georgetown got involved fairly late in Norvell's recruitment, extending a scholarship offer in late July of this past summer. Still, there is at least some degree of mutual interest, as Norvell has mentioned Georgetown among the schools that he is interested in even before he received the offer.
In another promising development, Norvell will be on campus this weekend for an official visit, making this the third consecutive weekend that a top-100 guard has been on campus (Jones visited over the weekend of Sept. 4 and Woods visited last weekend).
Gonzaga and Oregon are also in the mix for Norvell's services, and the guard visited Spokane last weekend. In addition, his home state school Illinois has been mentioned in the past, and his list of offers also includes Oklahoma, Memphis, and Florida State.
While these are well-respected schools, they are not the same level of competition that is currently vying for Woods, Brown, or even Jones. In addition, Norvell's willingness to come to campus on an official visit less than two months after receiving a scholarship offer is certainly a promising development.
Norvell would fit into John Thompson III's recent trend of recruiting long, skilled players. As a freshman, he might be able to play some of the minutes vacated by star senior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, and later in his career he would presumably take over some of the minutes vacated by sophomore wing L.J. Peak.
Offensively, Norvell would help spread the floor around Jessie Govan, Isaac Copeland, and Paul White. Although his athleticism is not elite, he is well-regarded in terms of his ability to score and distribute the ball in transition, which would play well into Georgetown's increasingly fast-paced tempo.
Because the Class of 2016 is very much up in the air, it's not clear who Norvell would be competing with for guard minutes during the early years of his career. Still, Norvell is a high-quality prospect who could certainly be a valuable contributor for the next four years.
Georgetown is now in the mix for four top-100 caliber guards, which is an extremely promising sign for the team's future. Still, none of this means anything until somebody commits, and I think there is a decent chance that Norvell could become a Hoya. If he does decide that he wants to commit to Georgetown, I think the staff should take him rather than wait around for his more-highly rated classmates.
If Norvell were to commit, I would still go after Jones, Brown and Woods, and take whichever one is willing to commit, if any of them are. In my opinion, when this type of talent is involved, it's permissible to sign three guards in the same class and worry about roster balance later, especially when you consider that Georgetown has had trouble bringing in top guard recruits recently.
Still, we are a long way from worrying about this problem. For now, my verdict is that I would be excited to have Zach Norvell as a Hoya, and I view him as a solid potential four-year player who could contribute a great deal to the program.