By: DAVE SPAHNSpecial to ZAGSBLOGCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The top spot in the 2015 class nationally has been up for grabs this spring.
Multiple names have been thrown around as contenders, with Ivan Rabb Jr., Diamond Stone, and Malik Newman all mentioned at the top of recruiting rankings.
Now it’s time to throw Stephen Zimmerman into the conversation.
The 7-footer from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman has been as impressive as any player at the NBPA Top 100 camp this week, displaying elite athleticism and agility for a kid his size. He’s been a defensive force all year long and continuing his work against older, stronger competition the past two days.
“There’s a lot of amazing players here. So many big names have come through this camp in the past,” said Zimmerman, currently ranked No. 2 by Rivals in the Class of 2015. “I want to be one of those names.”
His progression over the past few years has been nothing short of incredible. Zimmerman started playing basketball when he was 11 years old and already understands some of the intricacies of the game better than those who learn at a younger age.
He runs the floor as well as any big man in the country, rebounds in traffic despite his skinny frame, can step out and hit mid-range jumpers, and understands the pick-and0-roll very well for his age.
“I started really playing basketball when I was 11,” explained Zimmerman. “I didn’t watch basketball or anything until I was 13. I never had a dream school growing up, and I never really had a favorite NBA team, either.”
College coaches have frantically begun recruiting Zimmerman, giving the Las Vegas native a lengthy list of schools. Duke, UNLV, UCLA, Kansas, UConn, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Florida, Memphis, UTEP, Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee and Notre Dame all have a spot on his list, as well as many other schools not listed. He specifically stated a few criteria that will go into making his college decision.
“I’ll definitely look at how a school uses their big men. I want to see if they can really teach their big men how to improve on the things they’re not good at yet,” Zimmerman stated. “History will also be a big thing. I want to play on a team that knows how to win.”
Zimmerman claims to be open to all schools at the moment and has no favorites or timetable for a decision.
He noted his interest from Duke as “such a blessing.”
“They’re a great academic school and obviously have a great history,” Zimmerman said. “They use their big men well, and they really develop their players to make them perform at their peak.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.