Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
7-foot-1 big man Saba Gigiberia drawing high-major coaches, setting up visits
By ADAM ZAGORIA
When perennial high school powerhouse Findlay Prep (NV) shut down operations last spring, Saba Gigiberia needed a new home.
The 7-foot-1, 236-pound native of the Republic of Georgia ultimately landed at Prolific Prep in Napa Valley, Calif. Now he’s on a team with high-profile Class of 2020 players like Nimari Burnett and Jalen Green.
“Findlay shut down, they were not having [a] team this year so I had to transfer somewhere,” the big man said by phone this week.
Gigiberia, 17, began playing basketball in Georgia when he was 12. He then moved to Spain to pursue a basketball career when he was 14, and finally to the U.S. when he was 16.
Now he has seven scholarship offers from some of the biggest basketball programs in the land: TCU, Georgia Tech, UNLV, Boise State, Illinois, USC, and Vanderbilt. He said he’s also waiting for an offer from Kansas State.
He currently has an official visit set to TCU (Sept. 27-29).
“I have been talking to coaches for two months, three months, and I was on an unofficial visit, too,” he said. “And I know them pretty good. “And I saw the situation on my unofficial visit and I liked it. And I like how they treat their players and that’s why I decided to take official visit there.”
He said he plans to wait until the spring signing period to see what other offers come his way.
“I’m trying to use all my five visits,” he said.
Gigiberia says fellow Georgian Zaza Pachulia “is like my idol because he’s one of the best players from Georgia and I know him really good because he was always giving me some advice.” Pachulia is now a consultant with the Golden State Warriors after a 20-year NBA career.
Prolific Prep coach Joey Fuca says “the biggest thing that stands out about [Gigiberia] is how hard he plays on both ends of the court.
“He’s really improved over these last six months on adding a three-point shot to his game. And he’s keeping expanding what he can do on the court. He’s always been good with his back to the basket, turn face game in the post. But now he’s good and we’re really comfortable shooting the three from the college line.”
Gigiberia wants to be a modern big man who can play inside and out.
“I can play well inside and outside,” he said. “For my size, I can shoot threes and coaches at Prolific Prep they let me shoot it because they saw that I can make it.
“I take more rebounds and then go and finish them. I like passing more than scoring because I don’t like players who are selfish and I’m trying to share the ball.”
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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.