Hunter Sallis announced his commitment to Gonzaga on Friday Morning. Here is what the Bulldogs are getting in the 6-foot-5 guard.
Sallis is the perfect fit for Gonzaga. He can score from all three levels and has developed his outside shot to well beyond the 3-point line. He can create his own shot and can get to the basket virtually at will. Gonzaga’s tempo and style of play will only benefit Sallis on the offensive end. He has an innate ability to get by defenders and see the help coming while finishing at the rim.
Length and quick-twitch muscles make him a lethal on-ball defender. At 6-5, his wingspan alone gives him an advantage as a defender. Couple that with his quick hands and natural defensive instincts, Sallis could quickly become an elite defensive player for one of the country’s best programs.
He is a worker. Part of what makes Sallis good is his gifted basketball ability. Not many have the given gifts Sallis does when he steps on the court. He doesn’t just rely on his natural gifts. Sallis works on fine-tuning his game every day. He’s known to get a private workout in after games and after practice.
It just fits. Gonzaga is tucked away in Spokane, Washington and Sallis fits the program and culture the Bulldogs have built there. Like Sallis, the program is a confident, extremely well-coached and sometimes quiet one that doesn’t get the fanfare other blue-blood programs might see. Gonzaga’s ability to develop players physically and off the court certainly will benefit Sallis, who needs to get stronger to reach his ultimate goal as a player. One would have to think those qualities of the program are what attracted Sallis to choose Gonzaga.
Intangibles certainly help. Sallis isn’t just good on the court. Although he isn’t the most vocal on and off the court, he is a leader. It isn’t all about Hunter when he steps on the court, which is in the mold of some of Gonzaga’s best players the program has seen. He cares about his teammates, even the younger players in the Millard North program, and takes time with almost anyone that wants a picture or even autograph.
His basketball bloodline is thick. His mother, Jessica Haynes, was a standout at Omaha Central and went on to play collegiately at San Diego State. He is also related to Ron Kellogg (Omaha Northwest), who played collegiately at Kansas and is regarded as one of the best shooters to come from Nebraska. Not only is he related to Kellogg, a former second-round NBA Draft pick, he’s a relation of Brooklyn Nets and NBA star James Harden.