It's been a whirlwind summer so far for Dawson Garcia on the hardwood.
The 6-foot-11 Prior Lake High School senior-to-be led USA Basketball to the gold in the FIBA 3-on-3 U18 World Cup in Mongolia in early June. He was named the tournament's most valuable player.
Team USA finished with a perfect 7-0 mark, beating Turkey 16-12 in the gold medal game.
"Words can’t express it right now," Garcia told usab.com after winning gold. "We put in all this work, and we’ve been away from our families for almost three weeks now; this is just surreal, surreal. This has been a great experience."
Garcia is ranked the No. 38 prospect in the country by rivals.com in the 2020 graduation class, and he's the No. 5 power forward. He's the No. 29-ranked prospect by 247sports.com and the No. 4 power forward.
Division I offers have been pouring in for Garcia from some big-time programs — Kansas, Indiana, North Carolina, Arizona, Texas Tech, Baylor, Xavier, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and more. There's also been a high level of interest from perennial powers like Duke, Kentucky, Gonzaga and Michigan.
Garcia will make his decision in time, perhaps in the fall. Right now, he's playing schedule is full of games and camps against big-time competition from across the country. He's played in American Athletic Union tournaments for D-1 Minnesota and was a part of an NBA Players Association Top 100 camp in Virginia along with training with USA Basketball in Colorado Springs.
At the top 100 Camp, Garcia was asked about the recruiting process and what programs are most involved with him.
"Honestly, all the schools that have offered me have been doing a great job of recruiting me so far, as well as the ones that are showing interest," he told insidethehall.com.
"I’m just trying to be the best version of myself. Come out here, show people what I can do and help my team win," he added.
In the first game at the camp, Garcia scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in just 22 minutes. He also made 3 of 7 three-pointers, showing he can play facing the basket as well as down low with his back to it.
“Any time a guy that's 6-foot-10 and a lefty can shoot it and has a great motor and toughness, he’s always going to be respected as a valuable prospect,” Rivals.com national analyst Corey Evans told the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky.
"And what makes him even more valuable is the fact that the 2020 (front court) class is very limited. So when you have a guy like Dawson, who's versatile, tough, consistent — it just makes him that much more valuable."
Garcia has been member of the Prior Lake varsity since he was a ninth-grader. He led the team in scoring this past winter, averaging 27.5 points per game, while pulling down 11 rebounds.
Prior Lake finished this past season with a 25-4 overall record (16-2 in the South Suburban Conference). The 25 wins were a program-best.
The Lakers also played in their first section final as a Class 4A program, falling to Eden Prairie in the title game.