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.


Mike Schell 7 years ago

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

JJHAWK 7 years ago

Remember the old chant "Kill Vernon Kill"

2-ways have been at KU before. And our football player in 1988 who has his career game in the National championship game.

DSommersby 7 years 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.

Jack Wilson 7 years 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.

Ken Sedgwick 7 years ago

Why dont you suggest it to Coach Self?

kranny 7 years ago

The biggest risk in life is to never take one. Go for it Zach, have some fun. You're only 17/18 once.

Joe Baker 7 years ago

You're worried about Zach? I'd be more worried about the opposing team. Good grief he's a man among boyz.

Look at this freakin' arms or biceps.

waywardJay 7 years ago

It's a chance even getting out of bed, Elitist. Sure, He could easily get hurt in football, but honestly. It's his choice, and I wish him luck.

I would hope he would inspire you.

Perhaps you too, could try something different, like being objective instead of using your "superior" basketball intellect to demean our Potential NBA Caliber players.

Bruce Brock 7 years 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.

Jayhawk444 7 years 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.

Martin Rosenblum 7 years 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.

Joe Baker 7 years ago

That's a great analogy between Griffin and Hansbrough. He'll be much better than TH and stronger than Griffin his freshman yr. If he works on his game, he could be extremely dangerous his soph-senior yrs.

I'm excited about Zach's potential.

My best impression was when he made his announcement to attend KU, he was given a standing ovation by the audience and coaches. He sat and hesitated to get up and asked, "Do I stand." He's going to be a great rep for KU on the hardwood.

Rock Chalk Zach and can't wait to see you in the Phog during the Red/Blue game.

Robert Brock 7 years ago

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

kufankam 7 years ago

what makes you think he is burned out? i happen to think it is a genius move to skip the AAU circuit. the only advantages AAU offers is to get noteriety and to play against the top (undisciplined) talent. he has already committed to KU - so he doesn't need any pub. he wants to fine tune his "fundamentals" and that wont happen playing AAU. we are talking about 40 minute games that have scores like 95 - 85... not your best ball is being played there. i think it is a very wise move on his part. another player to do this recently - steph curry. out of that logic (skipping AAU), came one of the most fundamentally sound players in a while. i say great move on zach's part.

Robert Brock 7 years ago

I have watched this kid since he was in the 8th grade (when he developed his big-time reputation). Additional spring and summer ball would have further exposed his problems. Let's just say that there is plenty of room to add Perry Ellis. My opinion...

Robert Brock 7 years ago

KU wants Randle. I trust that Self does too.

kufankam 7 years ago

i hear what you're saying. however, same things were probably said about steph curry. that playing against the AAU crowd would have exposed his game, lack of size, lack of strength. the thing is, that summer ball translates more to the NBA individualized game than in college. AAU is not a place to fine tune your fundamentals. AAU is a place to show off your offensive abilities. i am not knocking josh, but look at selby... he tore AAU up and was heralded as the number 1 player in the country. no one would say he had any weakness exposed. when he got to KU, he struggled greatly playing in the structure of a system (albeit, he had some tough circumstances). that is because AAU is not a good indicator as to what type of collegiate these kids can be. it is simply a good indicator of what kind of NBA player they can be.

Jonathan Allison 7 years 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.

DrPepper 7 years 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.

Tony Bandle 7 years 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.

Tony Bandle 7 years ago

drgnslayr Let me the high quality of your responses, I'll bet you were a middle linebacker or strong safety!

Tony Bandle 7 years ago

I was a defensive end as well. We defensive guys always were the smart ones!! :)

dylans 7 years ago

Didn't Michael Lee and Aaron Miles play football together? Who says you can't do both. At any small high school the athletes usually play both sports.

Mike Kendall 7 years ago

Oakville---love your post. So true in what you said. I didn't play football in High School but saw so many good basketball players get injured and miss a whole complete basketball season. Football is what it is---Frank Gifford has said in the past that the game of football is a violent sport. In the town I live, there has been several good basketball players that played football and ended up getting injured and jeopardized their basketball future careers. There is a risk--but Oakville, you give sound advise. Hope he reads your post and follows directions. Rock Chalk!

hawksfan08 7 years 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.

nuleafjhawk 7 years 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.

7 years ago

I am elated to see someone had the courage to divulge this chronicle. The only thing I would add is that Richard prefers to be addressed as Dick. He insists this diminutive, shall we say, more vividly captures his true essence.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

KGphoto 7 years 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.

Tony Bandle 7 years 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!!!!

dochambers 7 years ago

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

jaybate 7 years ago

Chicago paper reputedly standing pat on story about UK program, a recruit and $200k, or so I recall. :-)

Jonathan Allison 7 years ago

he got his bachelors degree at a tiny Christian college in Tennessee, Bryan College. He got his Masters in Sports Management at United States Sports Academy in the Alabama panhandle.

He most likely has many many ties in the SEC. Julius Randle at this point is only listing Kentucky out of the SEC. But I wouldn't discount the potential for Mayberry to have connections at other southern schools, e.g. UNC, Duke, NCSU...

7 years ago

Degrees: BS, Physical Education - Bryan College MS, Sports Management - United States Sports Academy

7 years 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?”

msthompson37 7 years 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...

msthompson37 7 years ago

Okay I can agree on that phog1004. I was hoping a christian laettner type player but then I saw his numbers and was scared a bit. let's hope for the best.

jaybate 7 years ago

Let us hope he is as fast as Tyrel Reed, who, even with a foot injury requiring post season surgery proved faster and a better defender and jump shooter than Josh Selby. :-)

And with any luck at all Zach will have bigger hands and vastly more strength than the Twins, who literally could not get up and dunk their freshman seasons. :-)

And seriously, who among our recent big men since, say, Kaun might have had the physical and mental toughness to play Texas high school football? :-)

Worrying about a recruit like Zach in the age of XTReme Muscle would have been like worrying about a recruit like Keith Langford back when "athleticism" used to be all important.

jaybate 7 years ago

P.S.: What we need to go with Zach are some perimeter players that were born big and with no back Charles Barkley.

Rock Chalk!

orbiter 7 years 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 7 years ago

final fours? i never saw ostertag on the court playing on a final four team at KU. blocks don't mean much if you can't shoot.

7 years ago

The 1991 Final Four came the season before Ostertag arrived at KU, however he played in the 1993 Final Four.

msthompson37 7 years ago

Ok ostertag played 1993 final four.

DWWChiefsfan 7 years 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.

DWWChiefsfan 7 years ago

He runs the court like he is 6'4" or 6'5". The first time you see him you will be impressed with his movement and endurance. I enjoy watching him play.

Prestonwood is going to be a machine for the players that they will turn out. A year ago they won their division (whatever the biggest divison 4A or 5A, I don't know). This year they got knocked out in the Semi Fianals. Next year they have both Zach and Julius back. They also have a guard that made 2nd team TAAP.

Studogg 7 years ago

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

Justin Carlson 7 years 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!

JayhawkinNE 7 years 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?

Mike Kendall 7 years ago

Ha, ha, Irish Daddy. Thanks for a good laugh!

Ethan Berger 7 years ago

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

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