SportsProf

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Friday, March 04, 2005

Brian Zoubek Update

Who?

I blogged about him before, and the post received a lot of attention, especially from Princeton fans and alums and Ivy kibbitzers who are trying to fathom what would happen to Princeton hoops and Ivy hoops if this 7'1" Top 50 HS player were to matriculate at Old Nassau.

Well, here's the dream. You get a 7' post player with tons of skills who can pass over the 6'8" kid trying to guard him, rebound over that kid and shoot over him too. You get that talented a kid in the classic Princeton offense, and every player on the team gets better.

Immediately.

Because the center is the key to the Princeton offense. Have a center who can pass, set picks, shoot the three and play unselfishly, and you have a Princeton team that should win the Ivy title. It's not automatic, of course (current Texas Ranger starting pitcher Chris Young never won an Ivy title in his two years at Princeton), but assuming that the surrounding cast can play, it's a good bet.

The reality is that this kid can really play. Which means, of course, that the big-time schools are after him hot and heavy. Click here to read a recent Philadelphia Daily News article about what Brian Zoubek is up to. The good news for Princeton fans is that Princeton remains on his list. The bad news? The Tigers are competing against Duke, Stanford, Notre Dame and Wake Forest for his services.

Steve Goodrich, one of the best centers in Princeton history and the captain of the team that went 27-2 and vaulted to a #8 national ranking about 8 years ago, did choose Princeton over Wake. But that was a long time ago. Since then, I believe that Princeton at one time was on Nick Horvath's list (he went to Duke) and Dan Grunfeld's (he went to Stanford, was having a great season and then hurt his knee). Which means it's tough for the Tigers to compete against those schools for recruits. That said, there is one variable in all of this -- Zoubek's height. Not every coach can coach a big man well and develop him. And, at Princeton, the center is the center of the offense. Not a flashy point guard (as at Wake or Notre Dame), not a legion of two guards and wing players (as at Duke, although Shelden Williams is a pretty fine player). The center. And the Tigers have a history of developing big men.

Still, for Tiger fans, it's a dream. Legendary Princeton coach Pete Carril, he of Spanish heritage, once said something to the effect that you can't be Spanish and not tilt at windmills. Or something like that, although I think that Coach Carril was more or less talking about taking on big-time opponents than recruiting a Top 100 player, especially in his later years at Princeton.

Then again, every now and then it's worth a shot to take a run at a windmill.

Or, in this case, a 7'1" center who has got serious game.

3 Comments:

Blogger UPennBen said...

Would Zoubek turn down Duke for Princeton if the Ivy League gave scholarships? I'm against a conference tournament but for scholarships (give them to the non-athlete students too). It would dramatically raise the level of play in the League although probably not the P's domination; however, even if Harvard still never wins the League, they'll have a chance at the NIT.

6:43 PM  
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