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'It was the little things that stuck out with Virginia': Lake City's Blake Buchanan chooses Virginia over Gonzaga

Buchanan is the country's 15th ranked center for the class of 2023 and the top recruit for the state of Idaho.

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — The 15th ranked center for the class of 2023 and the top recruit in the state of Idaho is just a few miles away from Spokane out in Coeur d'Alene.

Lake City's Blake Buchanan had offers to play at the next level from top programs across the country, and yes, that includes one very close to home in Gonzaga. 

"Gonzaga. That was the big one. My top two was Gonzaga and Virginia," said Buchanan.

Blake Buchanan narrowed down his choice to two programs before committing and for a home grown kid, being offered by the Zags was quite the opportunity.

"That was awesome, I think when I got that offer, just because they're such a big name around here and that was a good feeling, just to say I could play at that level," said Buchanan. "That was pretty cool and just for the people around me like the little kids and older people who got excited for me and said 'oh, we can come watch you!"

But, on July 3rd, Buchanan chose to commit to Virginia instead of with the Bulldogs. A multitude of reasons went into the big decision.

"They've been recruiting me for probably a little over a year now. They started recruiting me June 15th, when that was the first date they could," said Buchanan. "The head coach was the first coach that reached out to me. So, I thought that meant a lot that's coming from the head coach."

The head coach in reference is former Washington State head coach Tony Bennett.

Bennett was able to relate with Buchanan through his time in Pullman and his staff showed Buchanan more interest from the start. The early interest shown along with playing in ACC and academics sold Buchanan on going to Charlottesville instead of staying close to home.

"You know, they offered me late, they kind of got on me a little later. They were kind of recruiting me, but they weren't recruiting me heavily. It would have been great playing here, you know,  being the local kid, having my family come watch. But, I think one thing with Virginia is I'm going to be able to mature better going somewhere away from home, I gotta learn different things without my family," said Buchanan. "So, it was hard, but I just think it was the little things that stuck out with Virginia and that's why I picked them." 

A tough decision for anyone, let alone an 18-year-old. Buchanan was relieved to finally know where his future is headed.

"It's super exciting! Just knowing I don't have to worry about playing good in front of coaches and just have it all off my chest," said Buchanan. "I just gotta go play my senior year, not have to worry about it, just say I'm committed to Virginia." 

For that senior year, Buchanan is on a loaded Lake City team, which will be a heavy favorite to win a 5A State Championship. 

"Our goal is to win a league title, district title, and state title. I think we can do it," said Buchanan. "We bring back everyone, we've got an amazing staff, we've got an amazing team. We're all just going to have fun, there's going to be a lot of hype around our team, I think. I think we're going to embrace it. But, we're just going to embrace it and do what we do and show everyone who we are."

   

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