Tuesday morning, Lehi coach Quincy Lewis texted The Spectrum to say Noa Gonsalves committed to the Dixie State men’s basketball team ahead of his senior season.
Gonsalves, however, didn’t announce his decision until almost 12 hours later, and there’s a reason for that.
“Noa’s a very low-key guy,” Lewis said. “He wasn’t even interested in putting it out on social media.”
Gonsalves tweeted that he had he accepted the scholarship offer late Tuesday, and will join the Trailblazers’ ranks in 2021 after his senior season at Lehi.
His commitment is more than that, however.
It’s a sign of the times on the recruiting front for DSU, where the move to Division I is allowing the coaching staff to bet on itself in one of the biggest aspects of college basketball.
Getting to know Noa
Talking to the Trailblazers’ staff through a Zoom call, Gonsalves met the DSU coaches face to face for the first time and was sold.
But, there was another factor that sold him on Dixie State.
“I just love the coaching staff,” Gonsalves said. “I just love the area, too. I’ve been going down there for years.”
Gonsalves might have fallen in love with southern Utah, but its easy to see why Dixie State fell in love with the 6-foot-1, 165-pound guard.
The last two seasons, Gonsalves has averaged double figures in points as a sophomore and junior. Last season as a junior, he averaged 19 points per game and five rebounds per game.
Gonsalves said he described himself as someone who likes to score the ball, but also help his teammates. Lewis, even though he’s been coaching Lehi since May, said he describes Gonsalves’ game as a much different entity.
“Chaos,” Lewis said. “His game does not get stopped pretty easily.”
Gonsalves also shot 43 from 3-point range, 86 percent from the free throw line and 51 percent from the floor as a whole in his junior year. He also averaged two steals per game on defense.
His offensive capabilities are well documented, but Lewis said his capabilities as an athlete help him all over the floor. This will serve Gonsalves well as he said he’s going into college to try and earn playing time as a freshman.
That could change, with redshirt players, injuries and returning mission players entering the fold, however Lewis said Gonsalves’ low-key demeanor is what can help him the most in college.
Lewis, who coached at BYU under Dave Rose, said he’s seen high school players show off their offers for attention and end up going to a school that doesn’t fit them well. Lewis is confident that, had Gonsalves played out his senior year, there’s a chance he could hold offers from schools like Utah State or Weber State.
In terms of Dixie State, Gonsalves is a quiet persona that Lewis said can pick up the mental aspect of the college game quickly.
“To me, that’s what makes Dixie make a lot of sense for him,” Lewis said. “This is a good fit for him.”
DSU’s recruiting status
Gonsalves’ commitment is also a sign of how convincing Dixie State can be now as a Division I school. Prior to committing to DSU, Gonsalves was committed to the junior college route at the College of Southern Idaho.
This isn’t a new for Trailblazers, either.
Eight players on DSU’s roster also took that junior college route, which is an avenue for players to improve, get acclimated to the speed of the college game and just add muscle to their body frame.
“Noa accepted the CSI offer because, at that time, he was like if I’m going to go junior college, this is the place I want to go to,” Lewis said. “The way he looks at Dixie is he’s got four years of school paid for.”
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This is a sign of the times for DSU.
Taking a peek at their roster, the Trailblazers have five freshmen on their roster this upcoming season and 10 underclassmen in total. This includes preferred walk-ons from Desert Hills and Dixie High, Mason Chase and Noah Lemke, respectively.
When he got his offer, Gonsalves said he was relieved. Especially as he could play Division I ball right away for a coaching staff that said it could envision him fitting well.
“They said they needed a guard for next year,” Gonsalves said. “They think I would fit best for them. That was really exciting to hear.”
The ‘Blazers have a pretty evenly split roster when it comes to experience and youth, but the coaching staff is betting on itself to develop players like Gonsalves, as well as other freshmen, instead of finding players from the junior college route that can play right away.
DSU can do this, however. With eight upperclassmen, including seniors Dason Youngblood and Hunter Schofield, there are only a few player roles the ‘Blazers need to hammer out before the season starts in late November.
One role the team has to replace is do-it-all point guard Jack Pagenkopf, which is easier said than done. However. A mixture between senior guard Jamar Reyes and junior college transfers Brock Gilbert and Cameron Gooden can combine to fill that hole.
The present is set but the coaching staff is betting on itself for the future. But, in its transition to Division I, in a conference like the WAC and with its experienced coaching staff, Dixie State can afford to do this.
Chris Kwiecinski covers Region 9, Dixie State and Southern Utah athletics for The Spectrum. Follow him on Twitter @OchoK_, and contact him at [email protected], or (435) 414-3261.