Friday, May 6, 2011

KU hoops commit Zach Peters to also tackle football in senior year of high school

Team Texas player Zach Peters, right, spins for a shot over Galveston Hornets player Sam Kinlaw during the Kansas City Classic AAU basketball tournament on Saturday at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee.

Team Texas player Zach Peters, right, spins for a shot over Galveston Hornets player Sam Kinlaw during the Kansas City Classic AAU basketball tournament on Saturday at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee.


Prestonwood Christian Academy’s football team will boast one of the tallest wide receivers in the state of Texas this fall.

Future Kansas University basketball power forward Zach Peters, a massive 6-foot-9, 240-pound junior who last played football his freshman year, has decided to play two sports his final year at the Plano, Texas, high school.

“I was thinking about my senior year and everything ... I love football. I regret not playing. I don’t want to regret not playing football my senior year,” said Peters. He averaged 15.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game this past season for 26-11 Prestonwood.

Peters, who is’s 97-rated player in the basketball recruiting Class of 2012, earned first-team TAPPS (Texas Assn. of Private and Parochial Schools) basketball all-state honors.

“It’s just as easy getting hurt playing basketball as football,” said Peters, who was given the OK from his future college coach to be a dual-sport athlete again. “Coach (Bill) Self played football. He said (to) play football.”

Peters — he played in a couple spring events for Texas Titans’ AAU basketball team — said he will skip the summertime AAU circuit and practice both basketball and football leading up to the start of the 2011-12 school year.

“I played AAU the last eight years. This summer I decided not to. I felt it would be better to work on little things so I could become a better player and get my body where I want it to be,” Peters said, noting he was planning on making at least one trip to Lawrence.

“I should be up in June to come up randomly and play at night with the guys and work out,” Peters said of unsupervised pick-up basketball action. “There are some things I need to work on and I feel I’ll get more accomplished working out rather than playing (AAU).”

Peters said he remains committed to playing just one sport in college — hoops.

“I’m definitely going to KU to play basketball,” said Peters, who along with future KU target Julius Randle (15.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg), helped Prestonwood to a runnerup finish in the state tourney this past season.

“Zach works extremely hard. He’s one of the hardest workers we’ve got definitely,” Prestonwood coach Brad Freeman said. “He is really big, strong. He’s so big that right now the main thing is not getting too big.

“I don’t know of many kids who have that problem,” Freeman added, referring to high schoolers already having bodies suitable for the college game. “You don’t want to be too heavy. It’ll slow you down. Some kids just have it naturally.”

Peters has needed a durable body to fend off opposing teams who have double- and triple-teamed him.

“He plays well (with his) back to the basket, but we pop him out some,” said Freeman, who will not be returning as coach for Peters’ senior season. “He can handle the ball out on the court as well. At 6-9 ... in high school you will play inside. Coach Self told him, ‘Play where your team needs you.’’’

Peters acknowledged that when three opposing players are on him, “it is tough getting position and stuff. I’m starting to learn how to do some different things. I had to step out a bit. I actually shot a lot of jump shots.”

He’ll likely have to deal with just as much attention from foes his senior year.

“They send two to three guys inside. It makes it tough,” Freeman said. “He will not see that on the college level. You do that and those other Div. I athletes will tear you up.”

Peters, who orally committed to KU on April 21, 2010, will sign his letter of intent with KU in November. KU coach Bill Self cannot comment on prospective players until the school receives the signed letter of intent. Peters, who first started being recruited by schools when he was in seventh grade, had North Carolina, Kentucky and Texas on his original list.

He said no schools have tried to recruit him since he orally committed to KU.

“They (college coaches) come to see Julius,” he said of the 6-8, 235-pound Randle, the No. 3-ranked player in the Class of 2013, “but they know where I am going and have not tried to recruit me.”

Randle, who already has been compared to Chris Webber, recently told that he has a list of KU, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Duke and Kentucky.

“That’s all I can think of right now,” Randle told the website. “I have a lot of respect for every school. All of those schools are big-time programs. They’re all on the rise or at the top right now. It’s just a great honor to be offered by those schools, and having other schools recruiting me, it doesn’t really matter,” he added.

Peters’ new coach: Prestonwood’s new basketball coach is Chris Mayberry, who coached the past nine years at the First Academy in Orlando, Fla., the Dallas Morning News reports. Mayberry led First Academy to the state title game last season and made the state Final Four three times.

GWU to turn to Lonergan?: George Washington University will name Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan as its new basketball coach, Comcast SportsNet’s Chick Hernandez reported Thursday night. The Washington, D.C., based website indicated Lonergan will be introduced as GW’s coach Monday. GW fired Karl Hobbs last month after 10 seasons as coach. KU assistant coach Joe Dooley reportedly interviewed for the post at his alma mater this week. A University of Vermont official told the Burlington Free Press that Lonergan hasn’t resigned from UVM or signed a contract with George Washington, but the official suspects it could be done as soon as today. Another UVM source said Lonergan flew to Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning. ESPN’s Andy Katz also reported that Lonergan is GW’s choice.


Ethan Berger 2 years, 11 months ago

Future Antonio Gates? Will he he a great basketball player to be a great nfl tightend? Ahh who cares, have fun man!


William Blake 2 years, 11 months ago

Might Zach be a 2-sport KU recruit? I have the same notion as JCAR... he sounds like a potential great at TE.


IrishDaddy 2 years, 11 months ago

Bottom line - we know how huge football in in Texas, kid probably feels that being a pigskin stud will dramatically increase his chances of making it with one of the little hottie cheerleaders.


JayhawkinNE 2 years, 11 months ago

I know this comment has nothing to do with the article...but thinking football. Was just looking at the rivals website. Has anyone noticed but me that KU is the only Big 12 school without a football commitment? Most others have 3 or more while Texas and Texas A&M have 17 and 20 already. Is it too early to be concerned? Thoughts?


Justin Carlson 2 years, 11 months ago

Just my thoughts.......He is playing football because A. The no regrets! 40 year old man I wish I would have played football my senior year! or B. He may have a few sniffs from football coaches as a tight-end esp. if he has great hands and decent footwork.

I don't know this kid at all but the chances of an NFL career as a tight-end with basketball skills sounds pretty good to me.

Does he have so speed and good hands? If he does NFL wil come knocking!


Studogg 2 years, 11 months ago

Ostertag played on the '91 and '93 Final Four teams. R u really a KU fan?


DWWChiefsfan 2 years, 11 months ago

I saw Prestonwood Christian play in the TAAP state playoffs. I told Zach that "they are going to love you in Lawrence." I was impressed how well he ran the floor. He will also throw it up from anywhere on the court. His strong points were size, speed and strength. His weak point was shot selection. I loved watching him play and really look forward to seeing him at KU.

Having said that I certainly hope that it is a package deal with Julius Randle who is just a Sophomore. I know UNC is really on his doorstep. He was a latenight last year at Lawrence as was the entire Prestonwood team. Randle can take his game to a very high level and watching he and Peters on the court together was incredible. Both are very fast and both can jump. Randle was first team all DFW area as a Sophomore. By the time he gets to college he will be in a world of his own.


orbiter 2 years, 11 months ago

yeah, msthompson37, Ostertag was a terrible player to have on your team: 2 final fours, KU+Big 8 block records, over a decade in the NBA. Terrible, terrible player.


msthompson37 2 years, 11 months ago

6-9 and 240 and averages 15 points and 9 rebounds a game? That is hardly dominate for this size.another ostertag i'll bet...


2 years, 11 months ago

A mostly unrelated though interesting article regarding the upcoming NBA draft and how the looming lockout could affect early entry hopefuls:

Not a big fan of Calipari, however he has a germane comment in the story:

“The lockout really kind of screws everything up because … what if the lockout goes the whole year?” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “What kind of mistake did you make?”


William Blake 2 years, 11 months ago

"Prestonwood’s new basketball coach is Chris Mayberry, who coached the past nine years at the First Academy in Orlando, Fla."

More east coast invading the midwest.... I'd like to know where Chris Mayberry went to college because he will carry lots of influence with Randle.


IrishDaddy 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm excited, the kid has all the makings of the next Clyde Lovellette.


dochambers 2 years, 11 months ago

Tony Gonzalez didn't do too badly at playing two sports...even in college. Go for it, Zack!


Tony Bandle 2 years, 11 months ago

If Trevor Lacey comes to KU, we can sport a lineup of Trevor, Tyshawn, Thomas and Travis and call them "The Killer Tees!!!"

And we can balance them with Jordan, Justin, Johnson and Jeff and call them " The Joltin' Jays!!!"

And what this has to do with the article about Zach, I have no clue!!!!


KGphoto 2 years, 11 months ago

6'9" 240 with a year of high school left. What is he 17? I could easily see him stretching out to 6'10". If he stays 4 years at KU with Hudy and Danny, he might end up a lean, 6'10" 260 pound, uber-skilled man-wall.


phog1004 2 years, 11 months ago

Ha!! At 240, it sounds like he already has plenty of muscles....why would he want anymore from a Zebra???


nuleafjhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

This story makes me very nervous. It reminds me of something I heard from IrishDaddy (whose real name is Richard O'Noggin) while he was incessantly ranting about his beloved UCLA Bruins 1969 Water Polo National Championship team. What he left out was the fact that an un-named member of said team actually FORGOT to thoroughly dry his swim trunks after the meet and was personally responsible for introducing zebra mussels into every body of fresh water in North America. Thanks UCLA. SO, Zach, after football practice - PLEASE dry off thoroughly after your showers. You won't do any more zebra mussel harm, but damp body parts just lead to bad things.


hawksfan08 2 years, 11 months ago

Seems like a risk, both from a development standpoint and from an injury standpoint. However, he should come out of it in better shape and with a more college ready body. Football weight rooms in Texas are insane. Plus you can't fault a kid for enjoying his senior year.


Tony Bandle 2 years, 11 months ago

Zach...listen to me very carefully.

I was an All-State Defensive End as well as a two year starter on the varsity basketball team. The chances of getting hurt in football are about 100 times more than the chances of getting hurt in basketball. I was very, very lucky because fellow teammates dropped like flies in football while injuries in basketball were relatively minor.

Just football practices alone with drill and multiple contact reps is enough to give pause.

I'm just saying and I won't try to talk you out of it because, unless you've actually played football, people can't even imagine the speed, the confusion, the sheer ecstacy this violent sport can bring.

My only advice to you if you go through with this is never, never, never go less than 100%. In drills, practices and games, always hit the other guy as hard as you can. It will help protect you.


DrPepper 2 years, 11 months ago

I love Zack updates. Smart move to stay out of AAU now as it gives him loads more time to do much more constructive (or just plain fun) things. His rating will continue to drop since he is already committed and that doesn't amount to anything. I love it that he is going to get to enjoy his senior year to the fullest.


Robert Brock 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't think that this kid will ever play hoops at KU. Sounds like he is burned out on basketball.


Jonathan Allison 2 years, 11 months ago

Sorry GWU, you've made a bad mistake. But thanks! We love having Dooley on staff at KU and hope that he stays forever! He's easily our top recruiter of the Bill Self era as he's created a pipeline from the east coast to KU.

I think that it's cool that Zach has elected not to play AAU this summer but instead to workout and drill and focus on his areas of improvement.

AAU is just a show anyway, for kids who want to prove themselves in front of scouts and analysts by getting huge stats.


Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 11 months ago

",,, Peters, who was given the OK from his future college coach to be a dual-sport athlete again."

I had no idea that a kid who is a junior in high school has to consult the coach of the team he will be playing for in two years on issues like this. Maybe he didn't have to but thought it should be a disclosure thing, just in case he does get injured. Either way, sounds like Zach likes the physicality of foosball!

I'm envisioning a hybrid between a Blake Grifin and Hansbrough (the sane side). Would be nice if TRob is able to play along side Zach.


Jayhawk444 2 years, 11 months ago

He's saying he has regretted not playing football for two years and doesn't want to continue to regret that for the rest of his life. I respect that. There are no guarantees for anything - he may never set foot on the AFH court for any number of unforeseen reasons. So live life to the fullest. Carpe diem. Play football if you want. And hopefully everything works out and 10 years from now your name appears on a banner hanging on the south end of the fieldhouse. But leave no regrets.


JHawk252 2 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how fast he runs the 40-yard dash. I'm guessing speed isn't the most important part of his football game.


Jack Wilson 2 years, 11 months ago

I will suggest to Mr. Peters that it is not just as easy to get hurt in basketball as in football.

While this would be his last chance to put on the pads, one season of football is not worth the risk given his future in basketball.


DSommersby 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, it is not a conventional move for Peters to pick up football again going into his senior year, but I am cool with it. Self supports it so why not. It can only help his toughness and if he is yearning to play then go for it. Play tough.

I feel for Coach Dooley, but selfishly happy if he stays on with KU. He will get his shot somewhere. Lets get some more hardware and another National title here soon to send Dooley off to some new gig in a couple years.


Mike Schell 2 years, 11 months ago

Good luck playn football next season Zach With that said we all hope u don't get hurt! Rcjh


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