Kentucky Visit Could be 'Over the Top' for Zimmerman, Enjoyed Kansas Trip; Targeting February Decision | Zagsblog
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Wednesday / March 22.
  • Kentucky Visit Could be ‘Over the Top’ for Zimmerman, Enjoyed Kansas Trip; Targeting February Decision

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    Stephen Zimmerman will be on hand Friday night for Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness and his mother hopes the reality meets the hype.

    “The only phrase that I can think of is ‘Over the Top,'” Lori Zimmerman told “Coach Cal promised us it’s just over the top and the fans are over the top. So, I guess I kind of expect the super experience.”

    The 7-footer from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman will be at Kentucky this weekend along with fellow 2015s Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, Carlton Bragg, Malik Newman and Kentucky’s lone 2015 commit, Charles Matthews. Also, 2016 star Tyus Battle of New Jersey’s Gill St. Bernard’s will attend.

    Zimmerman was at Kansas last weekend for Late Night in the Phog and heads to UCLA Oct. 24 (as does Ingram) and Arizona Nov. 7. He postponed his North Carolina visit and may visit March 7 for the Duke game.

    “We’ve kind of come to an semi-agreement on the Duke-UNC game right after our season (March 7),” she said. “But it’s really up to Stephen. If Stephen feels like he needs to take it sooner so that all the visits are close together and that one won’t stand out in is mind being so far apart, then we may look at that to, but definitely right now they are still in there to be rescheduled.”

    As for Kansas, they had a blast.

    ” It was great,” she said. “Probably the loudest place I’ve ever been. I guess with the weather and the Royals playing and there was an accident, it wasn’t completely full. They say it’s a lot louder, but it was pretty loud. And the fans love their basketball and love their Jayhawks. It was fun watching the players have fun with it and watching Coach [Bill] Self being funny. It was an experience.”

    SelfSelf dressed up as Draft Night Andrew Wiggins.

    “We all laughed and we were making fun of him the next night at dinner,” she said. “It was great. I didn’t know he was so funny. I didn’t know he had such a great sense of humor.”

    Zimmerman and the other recruits at Kansas watched some of the Kentucky NBA Combine last Friday.

    “We did actually catch some of it,” she said. “We were out to lunch with Coach Self and some players and they had it on at the restaurant we were at, and all of us were kind of watching it while eating and talking about it. We DVR’d it, we just haven’t had a chance to watch it since we’ve been home, but we probably saw a good 45 minutes to an hour of it.”

    Asked if Self asked them to change the channel, Lori said, “No. No, he was watching and talking about it with everybody. It kind of impressed me because [Self] wasn’t critical of it. I wouldn’t say that he was a big fan of it, but he wasn’t critical of it at all. He even mentioned he saw why they would possibly do it, it just wasn’t his thing.”

    Asked her own thoughts on the combine, Lori said: “I thought, you know the way Coach Cal explained it to me, it kind of made sense. He’s got 10 players that need time. They’re all not going to get equal time. If the combine get’s them in front of scouts for some equal time, then more power to him. To me he’s just a marketing genius.”

    Before leaving Kansas, Self and Zimmerman had a one-on-one.

    “Sunday before we left we had a private breakfast with Coach Self,” she said. “He just wanted to know Stephen’s feeling about the visit and wanted to make sure Stephen was happy with everything. Wanted to know if he had any questions. If there was anything that they could have done better. Wanted to know if we had any questions, things like that.”

    And could they have?

    “I don’t think so,” she said. “It was first class from the first day until the last minute.”

    Lori said that while some recruits are ready to commit on every visit, her son is more circumspect.

    “Stephen and I break it up and use his dad as the third party,” she said. “I go in with my academic questions and Stephen’s really focused in on strength and conditioning program and how the coach interacts with the players during practice. His dad looks over everything and is kind of a, he’s kind of our bulls–t meter. Stephen and I kind of get swayed one ay or the other and his dad puts reality on everything.

    “I am really proud of Stephen. A couple of the boys during madness were like, ‘Oh we’re so going here. Come on, dude, we’re going to commit.’ And Stephen’s like, ‘You’re going to say that next week, you’re going to say that the week after. Just calm down.’

    As for when he may commit, he’s looking at a February decision but won’t sign an NLI, as discussed here.

    “Looking at later,” she said. “Probably after our high school season which ends in the third week of February. I would be surprised if it was too much after that.”

    She added: “If it’s any later than February, then that would probably be the reason. I just don’t think I want to put that much pressure on him, going into his last season and all the chances for records that he has to break during our season. He just needs to have kind of an open mind and finish out the season, then if you still have some thinking to do about where he wants to go, then he will have time to do that.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.