Michigan recruited Kevin Pangos and Trey Burke, a guard from Ohio. After Burke committed to Michigan before Pangos took his official visit there, Pangos ended up signing with Gonzaga.
PITTSBURGH — One of the key matchups in Saturday’s Gonzaga-Ohio State game is at point guard, where there’s a bit of a triangular relationship between the Zags, Buckeyes and Michigan.
Two years ago, there was a bright point-guard prospect at Columbus (Ohio) Northland High School named Trey Burke. He was a former high-school teammate of current Buckeyes All-American Jared Sullinger, so a lot of OSU fans assumed he was headed to join Sullinger.
But the Buckeyes didn’t recruit Burke. Meanwhile, Michigan was recruiting both Burke and Kevin Pangos of Newmarket, Ontario.
Pangos’ father Bill explained to The Seattle Times in January that Kevin had taken an unofficial visit to Michigan and was due to take an official one the next weekend. Then Burke committed to the Wolverines earlier in the week.
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“Coach (John) Beilein needed one guard, and the first to commit was the first he was going to take,” Bill Pangos said. “Kevin didn’t want to commit until he had his official visit.”
Burke has gone on to lead Michigan in scoring his first year at 14.8 points a game. Pangos leads the Zags at 13.8.
Saturday, Pangos meets sophomore Aaron Craft, the Big Ten defender of the year, a player some analysts call the best on-ball stopper in the country.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Pangos said. “He’s so active, pressuring, getting in gaps, doing whatever he has to do.”
A hair affair
The Zags have been letting facial hair grow until they get eliminated in the tournament. That has yielded, in some cases, sketchy beards.
“Mine doesn’t grow the nicest; what can I do?” Pangos said, grinning. “I tried doing this one time, and it was just as bad as this one.”
And what’s more …
• Three players in this game have been getting more grief than usual from teammates for being named by Cosmopolitan Magazine to a list of 24 “hottest players in the tournament.” That includes Craft and Sullinger from Ohio State, as well as the Zags’ center, Robert Sacre. Wrote Korin Miller of Cosmopolitan on Sacre: “We’ve always had a thing for guys with tattoos.”
• Gonzaga players in their locker room Friday during a media availability were paying rapt attention to a TV monitor showing the Alabama-Creighton game, in which former GU guard Grant Gibbs helped the Blue Jays to a one-point win with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists. Said forward Elias Harris: “I thought he fit well (at Gonzaga). Maybe he was impatient a little bit and wanted to play more. But he was a great dude, and best of luck to him in the tournament.”
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org