Gonzaga University’s men’s basketball team added two more big men to the fold Wednesday when 7-1, 300-pound Ryan Edwards out of Glacier High in Kalispell, Mont., and 6-8, 200-pound forward Lucas Meikle (pronounced ME-cul) from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Wash., signed letters-of-intent to join the Bulldogs next fall.
The Bulldogs currently have a pair of 7-footers who will return next season in 7-0 Kelly Olynyk and 7-1 Przemek Karnowski. Olynyk will be a senior next fall while Karnowski will be only a sophomore. Sam Dower, a 6-9 center, is another big who is a junior this season.
Edwards averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds last season in helping Glacier to the Western League title. The Wolfpack advanced to the semifinals of the Montana State AA Tournament before losing to eventual state champion Flathead 63-58. Edwards had 23 points and 10 rebounds against Flathead. He earned Class AA All-State honors.
He averaged 13.3 ppg, and led the state with 10.7 rpg and 3.0 blocks/game as a junior with season highs of 24 points, 20 rebounds and 9 blocks.
“Ryan is a big guy that has great hands and a really good skill set. He shot about 78 percent from the line, so when he gets fouled he can make free throws. He needs to change his body and has had a personal trainer since July so he is working on that. It’s hard to find a guy who is 7-foot with good hands and a soft ball,” Gonzaga head coach Few said.
Assistant coach Ray Giacoletti said Edwards reminds him of former University of Washington standout Todd MacCulloch who Giacoletti recruited when on the staff at Washington. McCulloch played four seasons in the NBA.
“Ryan never played AAU ball. He reminds me of McCulloch in that regard. Ryan is probably further ahead at the same time in their careers because Ryan’s skill package is probably a little bit better,” Giacoletti said.
Entering the current season, Glacier has won back-to-back Western League titles and has made four straight State AA Tournament appearances under head coach Mark Harkins. His sophomore season Glacier lost its first two games at the State AA Tournament, including a season-ending 46-44 overtime contest to Missoula-Sentinel.
Meikle averaged 14.0 points and 10.0 rebounds for Bellarmine Prep as a junior, the Lions advancing to the Washington State 4A Tournament semifinals and placing fifth. The Lions opened State 4A Tournament play with a 66-50 victory over Mount Rainier in their first State appearance since 2008. Meilke suffered a concussion early in the first quarter in the placing-game setback to Union. He was named to the All-Tournament team, was a first-team All-Narrows League selection for the 24-5 Lions and was named to The News Tribune’s (Tacoma) All-Area squad.
“Lucas is a skilled four-man who is able to trail the break and shoot the three,” Few said. “His best days are ahead of him once his body matures physically. He’s skilled and a hard worker, two great attributes.”
Meilke was also recruited by Pacifci-12 Conference schools University of Washington, Washington State University and the University of California among others.