New York point guard Zakai Zeigler reclassifies to 2021, commits to Tennessee | Zagsblog
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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.
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Thursday / December 9.
  • New York point guard Zakai Zeigler reclassifies to 2021, commits to Tennessee

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Zakai Zeigler, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound point guard from Immaculate Conception (N.J.) and the New York Lightning, has reclassified to the Class of 2021 and committed to Tennessee, he told ZAGSBLOG.

    The Long Island native also considered Minnesota, Wichita State, Boston College and Bryant.

    “I will be taking my talents to the University of Tennessee,” he said ahead of his public announcement Friday.

    “Just the culture and background of Tennessee. They produce a lot of pros and coach Rick Barnes is a legend and he has shown that he can send guards at my size to the NBA and the pro level.”

    Barnes and associate head coach Mike Schwartz scouted Zeigler at the Peach Jam last month, where the Lightning reached the quarterfinals. He then visited the campus last week.

    “I really enjoyed it, seeing all the coaches and stuff,” he said. “They emphasized what they can do for me and how they can get me to the next level and what I should do and what I can improve on as a player. That’s what I liked a lot. A lot of schools were telling me all the good things about me but they were telling me what I could improve and what I could do better.

    “They were telling me that little things like diving for the ball and getting my teammates together when things go wrong, little things like that.”

    Originally a member of the Class of 22, Zeigler will reclassify to 2021 and join the nation’s No. 4-ranked recruiting class per 247Sports.com. That group also includes five-stars Kennedy Chandler and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, four-stars Jonas Aidoo and Jahmal Mashack and three-stars Quentin Diboundje and Handje Tamba. The Vols also added Auburn transfer Justin Powell.

    “I think the most important part of Zakai’s game that I love is he’s mentally tough,” said Lightning coach Shandue McNeil. “He’s one of the mentally toughest kids that I’ve ever coached.

    “He’ll be a very dynamic and exciting player, very disruptive on defense and very exciting on offense. He has the ability to get in the lane and score at all three levels and he’s a big shot-maker and taker.”

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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.