Dawson Garcia, a 6-foot-10, 200-pound junior forward from Prior Lake (MN) High, is one of the state’s number two ranked player in the Class of 2020 and 27th in the country by 24/7 Sports.
Garcia is averaging 27.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game this season as the Lakers have gotten off to a 20-2 start, despite him missing the past eight games with an ankle injury. Garcia has scored in double figures in every game this season. He scored 44 points versus Shakopee and 40 against Eastview.
Gopher Hole caught up with Garcia recently about his junior season and the latest on his recruitment.
Gopher Hole: Great game for you guys tonight. You played two really good teams with a lot of size. Do you like going against guys your own size because, unfortunately, you don’t get to do that on a nightly basis?
Dawson Garcia: Yes, it is great. Summer prepares me for that very well, going in the adidas circuit, so I am kind of used to it, but it also helps when you play the smaller teams, too.
Gopher Hole: You played against a player you know well in Ben Carlson of East Ridge, who is your AAU teammate. You did a pretty good job defensively on him and he didn’t have a great game. Did you get to know his moves through AAU and was that why he didn’t have his typical performance?
Dawson Garcia: No, Ben is a great player. Everyone has an off night, here and there and tonight was one of those for him. He’ll be back. He’ll do a great job moving forward.
Gopher Hole: Obviously, you guys are hoping to make it to state this year. What is going to have to happen for you to reach your goal and make the state tournament?
Dawson Garcia: We are just having to keep playing like this. We have a target on our back now, obviously, beating the number one team in the state and just keep grinding it out in practice and practicing like we play every day.
Gopher Hole: You are in one of the toughest conferences in state in the South Suburban. Do you like having these tough games early on to get you ready for conference play?
Dawson Garcia: Yes. I love having those tough games early on. I like our schedule this year, how we have some more out-of-conference games, because last year was just a lot of conference games. I’m glad this year that we get to play some of the best team, like in this Breakdown tournament.
Gopher Hole: What is the latest on your recruitment? How many offers are you up to right now?
Dawson Garcia: I believe that I am up to 14 offers.
Gopher Hole: Are you still able to keep track of them or has it gotten hard?
Dawson Garcia: It is a little bit hard right now.
Gopher Hole: What is the latest offer you got?
Dawson Garcia: Ohio State.
Gopher Hole: Did you talk to many coaches who were coming to watch you at events like the Breakdown? I know that Ohio State among others was there.
Dawson Garcia: Iowa, Purdue, Ohio State. Minnesota may have come. I believe those are the schools. I might be forgetting one, but I remember all the coaches that texted me and I appreciate them coming out a lot.
Gopher Hole: I know that you have been busy with basketball, but did you have a chance to go to any college football games or make some visits to campuses this fall?
Dawson Garcia: I made two official visits to Baylor and Texas in the fall and I also made one earlier to Marquette that was an unofficial visit.
Gopher Hole: What do you gain from those experiences of going to the campuses?
Dawson Garcia: It was a great experience. Marquette was an unofficial, so I just met with the academic advisors. They showed me the new facilities. I watched the basketball practice and at Baylor and Texas, I got to hang out with the players some and that was a good experience, too and see the basketball as well and academics again and just see their whole setup.
Gopher Hole: Do you think that makes it a little easier to make your decision because obviously, you are going to pick from a lot of good schools, but do you think those visits help you learn things that you wouldn’t know if you hadn’t been to the campuses?
Dawson Garcia: Going on official visits helps a great lot. It helps me just kind of see where I best fit in. Also, the relationship with the coaches and where I would be living my next how ever many years I’m in college.
Gopher Hole: What things are you really working on to improve yourself as a player?
Dawson Garcia: Just keep staying in the weight room. Keep working on all my crafts and my jumper. My handles. My defense has improved a lot. I take a lot of pride in that now and just running this team and my leadership as well.
Gopher Hole: To be honest, you look bigger than even the last time I saw you. What are you up to height and weight-wise now?
Dawson Garcia:. I’m at 6-10 and 215 right now.
Gopher Hole: What were you at last year?
Dawson Garcia: Last year, I was like 6-9 and 195 or 200.
Gopher Hole: Have you talked to doctors about how much more you might potentially grow?
Dawson Garcia: I talked to them a little bit when I was 6-7 or so and they said I still have some growing left to do. I don’t know if that was up to 6-10. I don’t know if I still have a little bit left. You never know at this point.
Gopher Hole: Do you still like the recruiting process or are you starting to see how it could get overwhelming?
Dawson Garcia: No, I’m still enjoying it.
Gopher Hole: What do you think you like most about it?
Dawson Garcia: I just like to build relationships with such great guys and great guys that are intelligent about the game of basketball and they can share their pointers with me as well.
Gopher Hole: I know that you still have a ways to go before you pick as school, but what are going to be the main factors that are going to make you pick School A over School B and C?
Dawson Garcia: Just my relationship with the coaches and how I feel around the players and also the tradition of the school.
Gopher Hole: What is the feeling going to be that first game of college basketball when you walk onto the floor?
Dawson Garcia: It is going to mean everything because I grew up watching college basketball. You know, the NCAA. The March Tournament. I remember spring in elementary school, just sitting by the TV while my parents were out doing yard work and watching the games, I always thought to myself “What if that was me some day,” and it is starting to come true if I keep working at it.
Gopher Hole: Are there certain players either in college or in the pros that you that you watch to try and learn some things from?
Dawson Garcia: I try to model my game a lot after a Kevin Durant that goes hard like a Joakim Noah to the boards.
Gopher Hole: Do you watch more college or the pros?
Dawson Garcia: I would say that I watch more college.
Gopher Hole: Obviously, the homestate school is looking at you hard. What are you hearing from the Gophers?
Dawson Garcia: They are just saying “Why not just stay home.” I’ve been in Minnesota my whole life, so why not stay home and keep the program going in the great direction because the Gophers will have some ability to do some great damage in the tournament.
Gopher Hole: They have some a couple of local kids like Gabe Kalscheur and Daniel Oturu, who are starting right as a freshman. Does that make you look at them a little differently that if you do the right things that you could play right away?
Dawson Garcia: That shows a lot, especially they got a new assistant, Coach (Lyle) Lindsted. He has done a great job of recruiting me and I have a great relationship with Pitino, too, so I trust them that if I went there, I would definitely trust them.