It was already the greatest recruiting class in Tennessee basketball history, and Rick Barnes wasn’t even done. The Vols have now added a seventh member to their 2021 class that is ranked in the top five nationally across the board.
New York point guard Zakai Zeigler, a three-star on Rivals and 247Sports, joined the highly touted class. Coming out of Immaculate Conception High School in Montclair, N.J., the Bronx, N.Y. kid stands at 5’10” and weighs in the range of 165 to 170 pounds.
Initially a 2022 prospect, Zeigler has reclassified into the 2021 class, the second player to do that for UT after five-star power forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield. He announced his commitment to Tennessee basketball with a video on Instagram.
Although the Vols’ roster is loaded with talent, they were lacking in a true backup point guard. The only pure point guard on the team for 2021-2022 was five-star freshman Kennedy Chandler. Santiago Vescovi, Justin Powell, Josiah-Jordan James and Victor Bailey Jr. could all run the position if needed, but they all specialize in either scoring or perimeter defense.
As a result, Zeigler’s commitment is a huge deal. He may not seem like somebody who is going to play right off the bat, but given that situation, it’s highly possible. Barnes now has options at point guard, which is exactly what he needed.
Despite his frame, Zeigler could easily be effective early on. Also, even if he’s not, he’s about to play for the perfect head coach whose calling card is developing talent. Simply put, Zeigler provides depth and a future. Here is a look at his highlight reel while playing ball in New Jersey.
As you can see, Zeigler’s great with the ball in his hands and has a great feel for taking it to the bucket. He showed there that he could also stretch the floor if left open on the perimeter, and he can get in the passing lanes and run the fast break.
Simply put, Zeigler provides everything you want in a point guard at the college level. Don’t be surprised if he pushes for significant playing time, even if it would be a surprise, on Tennessee basketball’s loaded roster this year.