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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Update On Brian Zoubek

I've blogged about Brian Zoubek here, and what makes him intriguing is that he's a top prospect with great academics and parents who went to Princeton (alma mater of Bill Bradley) and Wellesley (alma mater of Hillary Clinton), which means that this is one family that takes its schoolwork most seriously. I haven't checked it recently, but at one time Zoubek was listed on Princeton's recruiting list, and, were he to elect to go there, he'd be the biggest recruit to go to the Ivies (literally and figuratively) in decades.

Imagine a 7'1" center with serious game who is a great passer, and imagine that center in the Princeton offense, which is center-centric, especially with a great passing center.

You'd probably be talking three (or four) straight Ivy titles and an equal amount of NCAA appearances, and, yes, some first-round victories and maybe even, at least, a Sweet 16 appearance or two. Akin to Field of Dreams, if you build your offense with a serious 7' center, they (in the form of wonderful guards and forwards) would come. And not just the kids you normally get, but the reach kids, the kids who would come for the opportunity to run with a very able big man. Imagine that.

Yes, were Princeton to land Brian Zoubek, he might well make them forget about Kit Mueller, Steve Goodrich and, yes, even current Texas Rangers' starting pitcher, Chris Young, who continues to be the dalliance of the Tiger fans despite that he never won a title while at Princeton (even though he was a two-time first-team player). Youn Zoubek is a wonderful prospect and apparently very level-headed.

Sounds great, but, alas, it's not to be for the Princeton Tigers. And it probably hasn't been for a while.

Reports over the past several weeks indicated that Zoubek had narrowed his choices to Duke, Stanford, Wake Forest and Notre Dame, schools with excellent academics and very good basketball. Today's Philadelphia Daily News reports that Notre Dame is out. (Coach K visited Zoubek at his HS last week, and he also visited Gerald Henderson, son of the one-time NBA guard of the same name who was a standout as a junior at Episcopal Academy, a private school located in the Phila. suburbs). Most interestingly, the article indicates that Zoubek will make his decision by the end of the school year.

From an academic standpoint, you'd rate the schools like this: Stanford, Duke and Wake. From a hoops standpoint, you'd rate the schools Duke, Wake and Stanford, with Duke getting the edge because of the players that it will return next year. Taken together, you'd have to figure that Duke has the edge.

But it's tricky with big men the same way in baseball it's tricky with lefthanded pitchers. Coach K always has a knack for developing wing players, the Brian Davises, Thomas Hills, J.J. Redicks, Chris Carrawells and the like. But has he really ever developed a big man? A big man other than Christian Laettner, who was more of a four than a low-post five? How would a true center fit into Coach K's up-tempo system? Would he get serious PT?

Then again, the commentators all lament the lack of true low-post players in college, so most colleges would find Zoubek an intriguing proposition to begin with, and not just Coach K. And it's not as though Skip Prosser of Wake or Trent Johnson of Stanford have developed top-drawer true centers either. But it may be that they might be willing to make more room for a player like him in their offenses, especially Stanford, which doesn't attract the cornucopia of HS all-Americans the way Duke, and to a lesser degree, Wake, do.

So what goes through a 17 year-old HS kid's mind? What's it like to have Coach K visit your HS? What's it like to get a Duke basketball scholarship offered to you? How do you compare the schools? How serious are you about basketball, about wanting to play in the NBA? How unreal must it all seem?

And who do you think will offer you the best college experience possible, the best combination of academics and athletics?

On paper, that would appear to be Duke.

But life isn't that simple, and Duke doesn't win 'em all.

Good luck, Brian Zoubek, and whichever school you pick will be lucky to get you.

And give Princeton one last, hard look, won't you?



Blogger Jayz Ok said...

I'm a huge DUKE fan and it looks like ya boy Zoubek is coming as well as Gerald Henderson jr...also look at Jon Scheyer....interesting blog tho...i searched on yahoo and found it...Go DUKE

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