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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Finally, Zach Peters arrives at KU

Hoops signee hits town 26 months after committing

Kansas freshman Zach Peters poses for a photo inside Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas freshman Zach Peters poses for a photo inside Allen Fieldhouse.

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Zach Peters, the tall Texan who orally committed to play basketball at Kansas University two years and two months ago, has finally arrived in Lawrence to begin his college career.

“It did seem like forever to get up here. Getting here ... it’s been awesome,” said the 6-foot-9, 236-pound forward from Plano’s Prestonwood Christian Academy who chose KU over Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky and many others way back on April 21, 2010.

“Finally feeling like a Jayhawk the first day was an incredible feeling. Getting my codes to get into the gym to work out on my own ... that was surreal. Going into the locker room and seeing my name on my locker ... it’s amazing. I’m really excited about this year.”

Peters checked into his apartment at Jayhawker Towers on June 1. He actually could have sped up his arrival at KU by a year.

A good student, he needed just a couple hours of classwork last summer to graduate high school and be immediately eligible for the 2011-12 collegiate season.

In no hurry, Peters decided to remain in Plano for what turned out to be a memorable senior season, one in which he earned first-team all-state honors for a state-championship basketball team and second-team all-state mention at receiver for a football team that reached the state semifinals.

“It was a lot of fun. I met a lot of new people last year. I got closer with some of my friends,” said Peters, who averaged 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds in hoops and caught 13 TD passes for more than 1,000 yards on the gridiron. “One of those things people always talk about ... they say the time of your life is your senior year, then you go on to college. It’s one of the things I felt I needed to do. Experiencing it was awesome — the perks of being a senior and all the experiences that come along with it.”

Peters felt comfortable making a comeback in football. He returned to the sport he retired from after his freshman year.

“I’m extremely happy I played football. It was a great experience. I had the time of my life,” said Peters, who dove to catch a game-winning touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone with four seconds left in a victory over rival Trinity Christian.

“It’s one of those things I can look back and say, ‘Hey, I did that. I didn’t miss out on that.’ I never even got close to getting hurt. I don’t even think I got one turf burn all season.”

Not burned out at all after football season, Peters and fellow major-college recruit Julius Randle helped Prestonwood to the second state hoops title in Peters’ four-year career.

“I love football, but basketball always has been my first love and always will be. I mean, my dad played basketball,” he added of Tim Peters, who played at Eastern Illinois. “If a basketball game is on, we watch basketball over football. Because we live in Texas, football has always been so high, it got in my blood a little bit, but basketball ... it’s always been there.”

Which brings Zach to KU. He has high goals for a freshman class that includes eight players counting red-shirts Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor and 10 including walk-ons Evan Manning and Tyler Self.

“I like all the guys. I think there’s eight of us, a ton of freshmen,” he said of scholarship players McLemore, Traylor, Peters, Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas, Andrew White, as well as Anrio Adams and Milton Doyle, expected to come aboard when they are cleared academically. “We are extremely underrated — actually very underrated. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

Peters enters as Rivals.com’s No. 137-rated player in the class of 2012.

“I didn’t play summer AAU my senior year and didn’t go to any camps,” Peters said of the summer of 2011 in which he prepared for his return to football. “I don’t care about rankings. They don’t say who I am as a person or who I am as a player.”

He hopes to battle for a rotation spot his freshman season.

“As far as positioning, I’ll probably be a small forward,” Peters said. “I’ve got a good mid-range game. I can shoot the ball. I can see myself on the perimeter a lot, but also being able to go down low, a versatile small forward. I’ve got pretty good ballhandling and passing for a big man, so ...”

He knows he has a lot of work ahead of him to claim a spot in the rotation.

“That’s up to me,” he said. “It depends how hard I work this summer and how I show up (at practice and games in preseason).”

KU coach Bill Self has high hopes for Peters.

“He’s a legit 6-9, 240 player that can really shoot the basketball. He’s big and rugged. We can play him to where he’s big enough to defend the 5 (post) or skilled enough to play in at the 4 (power forward),” Self said. “Guys that can really shoot are usually great passers. I think he will be that. He’s going to be a guy that can do a lot of things. We know he’s a big guy that can stretch it, but he likes to hit you, and certainly contact and physical play will not be an issue with him early in his career.”

Self does not care about national rankings of players.

“He didn’t play summer basketball, so his stock has fallen from the national rankings,” Self said. “All that did was motivate this kid. Zach is a potential top-20 player in the country. I think he’ll come in and have a great impact right off the bat.”

Comments

Dirk Medema 2 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like one of those posters that is going around facebook (?). Rankings see him as #137. He sees himself as a 3. Coach Self sees him as a 4/5.

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hawksince51 2 years, 3 months ago

It does not seem likely that he will play the 3 in the Self system. Small forward is a disappearing concept. A mid-range jump shot would be very useful at the 4 however. Really looking forward to see how the team develops over the next couple of year.

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truefan 2 years, 3 months ago

I think at best he can be allowed to play the 4 spot like the Morris twins which is to say face-up 4 with the green light to shoot from three. Maybe he'll surprise us all at play SF, but I don't see it either.

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Steve Reigle 2 years, 3 months ago

He's almost exactly T-Rob's size. I see this young man stepping into T-Rob's position alongside Withey. At the same time, he can step outside and be effective, too. It will be fun to watch him develop.

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baldwinjhawk 2 years, 3 months ago

This kid is Legit! Saw him play last season at prestonwood. He bangs down under the basket like a football player.

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Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 3 months ago

Hey Zach- Welcome to KU, and I hope that you get to work all your dreams into reality. From all I've heard, you are a great addition to the Jayhawks. They will work your tail off, but you will learn and grow from it. Good luck, and have fun!

Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!!!

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Allan Olson 2 years, 3 months ago

Zach may be the perfect big man to drain that passing rotation created shot [or pass] from the top of the key. If he's that guy, he'll see mucho playing time in Coach's system.

This young man is joining a talented and team oriented freshmen bunch. So far, no divas among them. Major kudos to the coaching staff for character and maturity they've assembled.

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april28 2 years, 3 months ago

He's the dark horse of the class. I think that he might end up being a star at KU.

While KU went to the NC game with basically 5 players, one advantage of depth is being able to coach match-ups a little better. Though they are all freshmen, this class will give Self some options.

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Jason Keller 2 years, 3 months ago

Can anyone remember the last time KU had this many guys at 6'8" and above? I feel like we have quite a few; Whithey, Ellis, Traylor, Lucas, Peters. That is really a lot of size.

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Jason Keller 2 years, 3 months ago

Jesus I even forgot Kevin Young and Wesley, sorry guys these freshman have me flustered. My god that's 7 people at 6'8 and above. I bet the average height on this team is taller than any other team Self has had.

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DCLawHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

I recall that Self's Illinois team that beat KU in the tourney had a whole bunch of tall guys, but I don't know whether that team had 7 guys at 6' 8" and above. I suspect that this KU team may look more like that Illinois team than like any of the recent KU teams under HCBS.

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ferdthemooncat 2 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like coach and player are in for at least one interesting chat.

Here's hoping Zach can help recruit Randle here.

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Robert Brock 2 years, 3 months ago

Randle is leaning to Carolina and he is not a "ball hog"; when you have a huge player advantage like Randle has, you feed the rock to that guy.

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Vernon Riggs 2 years, 3 months ago

What I have seen of Shepherd, I like him better than Randle. He is a better passer, better defense and more upside.

And with only four scholarships if Milton is on board, Chris Walker may be the best Big to grab in 2013.

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KUfanInFlorida 2 years, 3 months ago

Don't forget about Austin Nichols. He is very talented big as well. I think all of the recruits that you've mentioned have Jayhawks on top of their list. There is a good chance we'll probably land 2 of them.

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Vernon Riggs 2 years, 3 months ago

With/If Milton on scholarship and with Greene and Frankamp verbally committed, we only have two scholarships left. That would mean if we use on two bigs, one of the combo guards would have to step up and take over the point with Naadir. We wouldn't have space left for Barber a true point.

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Danny Hernandez 2 years, 3 months ago

Why no recent photo of Perry Ellis yet? He's already enrolled!

Good stuff about Zach. He's really waited a few years to get here and now he's got the code to the gym. Must be an Awesome feeling really being part of the team. Just wait until he runs out of the tunnel for late night!

Welcome aboard Zach

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jhox 2 years, 3 months ago

The couple of times I saw him play on TV, he appeared to handle the ball well enough to play the 3, and he ran the floor very well also. But at his size I doubt he'll have the quickness Self would want in a 3. Still, I believe he is coordinated and athletic enough to play a little 3 if necessary.

Skill wise, the former Jayhawk to came to mind watching him, was Mark Randall. I believe he'll have a really nice career at KU.

Now if he can just convince Julius Randall to come join him in Lawrence, we'll be in business.

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DDDHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Welcome, Zach! And thanks for committing to be a Jayhawk so early! Your fans here appreciate it! Can't wait to see you in action.

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Millsey20 2 years, 3 months ago

+4

Although I question that ALL the people here appreciate that he committed early... I personally LOVE it. Yes, I'm afraid of the Royce Woolridge effect... but it makes me root for a kid much, much more when I know he wants to be a Jayhawk and he values the tradition and being at KU so much.

I hope Peters can have the same effect on the court that modern TE's have on the football field. Too strong and physical for a skinnier or shorter guys to handle him down low... and too athletic and skilled for big strong guys to keep up with him.

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REHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Welcome to the program, Zach. Thanks for the early commitment Track down the facilities of Andrea Hudy, and get an immediate advantage over most 6'9" recruits who aren't blessed with the Kansas training staff.

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lothario64118 2 years, 3 months ago

Question to all: With the way Self develops players, and with the group coming in, they appear to be very talented. When these guys are all sophomores and with the addition of the 20123 class is KU possibly...possibly looking like the 2006 Florida team?

I'm not going off of player rankings but KU has some really talented players coming in. I think KU is going to explosive. I hope they all get along on/off the court and really gel together. Play enormous D and score (jump shots, 3pt's, and overall great scoring abilities away from the basket). We know they will be able to in the paint. (I hope!)

Thoughts?

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Jason Keller 2 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, but here is the thing. When a team is loaded with talent, it makes it harder to bring talent in. In general, kids want to go somewhere they can play. They want to see guys graduating or going to the NBA, they want to see spots to fill. Like this year, T-Rob left and now we are absolutely loaded at forward; Ellis, Traylor, Lucas, Peters..... so I wouldn't expect a huge haul at forward for the 2013 class. Next year, Travis and Elijah are leaving but still in the lineup is Mclemore, Tharpe and White, that could make it hard to recruit elite guards. Although, I really like the one guy that already committed.

My point is that when teams get stocked with pretty talented guys that are going to do 3 or 4 years, it can really hurt recruiting. I guess who cares though, we already have the guys we want.

This years roster is only one piece away from being Self's ideal roster. He has always liked depth and the only position we don't have depth at.... Center. There isn't a single guy on this team who could come close to stepping in for Whithey but our depth at power forward will help curve this. I think Lucas or Peters or maybe even Ellis could defend the 5 if they had to.

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Alex Resnik 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree that we don't have depth at center. But remember, we won a title in '08 with Jackson and Aurthur at PF and Kaun at C with Cole adding in a few minutes here and there. We have depth (young depth) at PF so i think we will be just fine for the years to come.

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Benz Junque 2 years, 3 months ago

If our biggest problem is that we lose some incoming recruits because we already have so much experienced talent on the roster, that is a nice "problem" to have.

KU will have a better offensive team this year than they had last year, with more scorers top to bottom in the rotation. Next year is going to be a ton of fun to watch as we have the groundwork for an amazing 3 year stretch already laid. With this recruiting class and what we already have signed for the Class of 2013, KU will be a legit Final Four contender.

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Mike Bratisax 2 years, 3 months ago

I'll be dead long before the 20123 class : )

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dwill33 2 years, 3 months ago

Peters says he thinks he will play the 3 (small forward) and Self says he will play the 4 or 5. Typical big man haha. Best of luck to Zach though. I think he will be a big surprise when basketball fans see him play in Phog Allen.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 3 months ago

WOW...this kid is going to be 6'-10" and 250 lbs by the start of his sophomore year...if he thinks he's going to be playing anywhere away from the basket, I think he will be in for a surprise!!!

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 3 months ago

TRob never grew to be 6'10". He is 6'8-3/4" with shoes on, as measured at the NBA combine..

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AsadZ 2 years, 3 months ago

“I don’t care about rankings. They don’t say who I am as a person or who I am as a player.”

HEM will disagree but I already like this kid.

Zach, Welcome to greatest College BB in America. Jayhawk nation is already in love with you on your early commitment.

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bennybob 2 years, 3 months ago

Isn't that the definition of a prospect ranking?

people giving their educated opinion on who you are as a player?

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John Boyle 2 years, 3 months ago

not always that educated of an opinion, especially when the kid didn't play AAU ball in the summer. Out of sight out of mind sorta thing.

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Mike Bratisax 2 years, 3 months ago

He didn't play AAU his senior year..he was already out of the top 100 before he quit AAU.

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John Randall 2 years, 3 months ago

When you consider the players two years down the road who were top-ranked by recruiting services, there is less than 50% success rate, with a lot of other players never ranked as highly catching up because of work ethic and buying into team concepts. For ego freaks or even kids who have their head only sort of straight, too high a ranking can be the kiss of death. There will be at least a dozen each year who have already peaked out and fall by the wayside while others continue improvement.

Rivals (or whoever) rankings fill a need – something for hungry fans to salivate over while the best recruiting coaches sift out who is likely to become a contributor.

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bennybob 2 years, 3 months ago

So its just coincidence then that all the coaches considered to be the best recruiters in the game continuosly target the kids ranked highly by the ratings services?

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Mike Bratisax 2 years, 3 months ago

Okay..why do coaches go after the top ranked players? There are always exceptions but rankings are generally a pretty good guide.

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Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 3 months ago

Who's in charge of keeping Charlie Weis away from him?

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Brak 2 years, 3 months ago

What are you talking about, he is exactly what the football team needs. A 6'9'' kid that can jump and catch a ball, just put him in when we're in the red zone and and let him box out and jump up and grab it. He could be the next Gronk.

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JHawk74 2 years, 3 months ago

In Bill Self's offensive if you can shoot the 3 pointer you will get your chance even if your a forward or a center. I'm glad to hear that Peters can shoot from outside. We can always use players that can shoot the ball from the outside no matter what position you play on offensive.

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John Randall 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm really offended when 'offensive' is used as a noun ... unless you are carrying a military approach onto the basketball court.

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Vernon Riggs 2 years, 3 months ago

The Jayhawks ran a delayed break with the 5 trailing with Cole and Sasha. They still run it with Jeff. But Jeff never looks to shoot. The 5 work get the ball two or three steps in from the top of the key if there wasn't an easy break. The offensive play would start with a pass to one of the guards if the 5 didn't shoot.

KU62 - I changed my sentence to please you.

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Eric Baker 2 years, 3 months ago

First team all state in basketball is very impressive, especially in a state as big as Texas. And second team all state in football in TEXAS is excellent. What an awesome athlete! Can't wait to see him play, I think he's going to be WAY better than people are expecting.

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jaybate 2 years, 3 months ago

Earth to board rats: now hear this.

Zach said nothing about playing the 3!

Zach said he can play small forward and away from the basket.

The high low in Self basket ball is really two forwards--one big that operates more around the basket and guards the opposing big forward/center and one small that operates all over the floor and guards the other team's smaller big.

4s play away from the basket at high post top of key and in pick and roll on the wings.

Guys like Cole and Withey and Kaun are traditional centers with back to basket skill sets and lesser mobility. They play the big forward--the 5.

But guys with face the basket games and back to basket games like Darrell Arthur, Julian Wright, Thomas Robinson, and Kieff Morris also play the big forward--the5--when a back to basket center does not.

Zach apparently thinks he will play more 4 than 5, not shooting forward on the wing full time.

Zach's good touch will make pick and roll unstoppable at 4, or 5, with BeMac. Same with Travis, if he finds his trey

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Vernon Riggs 2 years, 3 months ago

He may also be the trailing delayed break option. He will get the opportunity to have the ball 1 or 2 steps off the free-throw line for a shot or to kick back to the guards to begin the side-to-side passes of HCBS's High-Low offense. I haven't seen a Pick-n-Roll or Pick-n-Pop option from that delayed break.

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DCLawHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

HCBS said, "Guys that can really shoot are usually great passers." Sure sounds to me like Zach Peters will be the Hi in the Hi-Lo.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Aloha and welcome to KU, Zach. Add me as another of the Jayhawk faithful who believe the recruiting gurus have been undervaluing your abilities due to your lack of exposure on the AAU circuit. Texas has been a hotbed for basketball recruits over the last few years (and seems the same over the next few), and to make first team all-state in Texas speaks volumes for your abilities. Prove me right in saying you'll be the second coming of Nick Collison, who, as we all know, has done very well for himself in the NBA.

Rock Chalk, Zach!!!

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Jeeveshawk 2 years, 3 months ago

He won't make an impact off the bat, as he will be playing behind Withey, Ellis, Traylor, and Young, but he will be good by his junior or senior season.

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jaybate 2 years, 3 months ago

Self may also have told Zach to be ready to play some 4, because Self may have told Perry Ellis he will play some 3.

Self has a large number of bigs this year. He can red shirt a couple or he can move some to the 3.

There is no law that Self has to keep playing 3 combo guards. He can go big at the three. He might even need to if Withey cannot get stronger and heavier at the 5. Withey will need alot of help on the boards, especially if Self has Withey sky hooking.

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bennybob 2 years, 3 months ago

Self has been consistent in his interactions with the media, when asked he always says Ellis will play the 3.

Now is that immediately or a few years down the road? we'll wait and see

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Alohahawk 2 years, 3 months ago

For all you LJW writers, just thought of a great nom de plume when describing Zach: "Big Zach Attack".

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Ludwig Supraphonic 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank you for your continued interest in KU athletics.

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Vernon Riggs 2 years, 3 months ago

We voted Missouricat in charge of spreading ignorance. Welcome back.

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Lance Hobson 2 years, 3 months ago

Missourikitty, your team has to get past the first round to be allowed to chat on this blog. Thought you got the memo. As always, good luck getting to your first ever Final 4 this year.

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BillSelf4Prez 2 years, 3 months ago

Ahh Missouricat is back! Oh and I think we figured out why miss kimmie English was shooting very good in your final 64 game, was because your team drug dealer that travels with the bball team got busted. Oh and did you here about the Walmart in st Louis getting raided for having an active meth lab in it? Lol one last thing, I would like to say good luck to old norm on getting the bobcats job. Hahahaha maybe he can draft T-Rob!

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jaybate 2 years, 3 months ago

jaybate spreading his missouricat.

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bennybob 2 years, 3 months ago

My scouting report on Zach Peters:

Big Body Soft Hands Good Foot Work Solid Fundamentals

Not Explosive Slow No Verticle

Comparison: a slight step up from Christian Moody

Most of you think i hate Zach Peters, i don't. i just don't believe he's going to a stud and i was dissapointed that he and Lucas are what we had to settle for in a recruiting year that desperately needed some post stars.

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Bill Jacobson 2 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like a little stereo-typing going on here. I think the only thing you are missing here is "heady" and "non-athletic" but I am sure you will bring those observations in later. You must be a member of the media. They all say the same thing about any white player.

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Lance Hobson 2 years, 3 months ago

Dude, we went after him hard from the beginning. He's the real deal, and with Hudy he's only going to get better. He already weighs more than Christian Moody and was an all-state wide receiver in Texas. Not a great scouting report.

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Gil Ek 2 years, 3 months ago

I think Zach is a perfect 4 year player for HCBS to develope. His last two years will be very good...

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John Randall 2 years, 3 months ago

Watch Nick Collison set great screens outside the arc and still get in position for more than his share of offensive rebounds. Considering the injury problems he has endured, maybe his quickness comes from between the ears . . .

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jaybate 2 years, 3 months ago

"Quickness between the ears."

Penetrating.

Eloquent.

Pithy.

In an uninspired, hackneyed sort of way, [KU62*(1/KU62)-1]. :-)

Just imagine Nick fainting, pivoting, and cutting in his inner world...between his ears...while all we can see is Nick planted, alert, ready to make his move.

Wow!

:-)

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BillSelf4Prez 2 years, 3 months ago

Kind of off topic, but i was just watching a video from the legends of the Phog game and Peter's was sitting behind the bench.

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KemDooKU 2 years, 3 months ago

He was the number one ranked player as a Freshman in High School and has dropped ever since - He may turn out to be great but how come people who are not highly ranked say they don't take a lot of stock in the rankings. Kentucky had a bunch of players last year who were highly ranked out of high school and I watched them win the title against KU. Maybe just maybe those people who do the rankings know a little something about the players. Work hard Zack and after that, work even harder and maybe you will prove the analyst wrong about your top 150 ranking but realize that they put you there for a reason - "nothing is a given and if you want it then it must be taken"

Doo out

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ku_foaf 2 years, 3 months ago

It does indeed seem like forever since he committed and he is finally here. It is possible the early commitment took him off the national radar. Same thing happened with Wayne Simeon.

I remember thinking then he was a definite man-child, his upper body looked way beyond most kids his age, like Xavier Henry or Perry Ellis. I think he will be a good one.

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