New York Guard Commits To Tennessee

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    Photo by Alexandra Pais, NJ.com

    Class of 2022 guard Zakai Zeigler committed to Tennessee and plays to reclassify and enroll at UT next week, Tennessee basketball announced Friday.

    Zeigler is ranked as a three-star and the nation’s 231st best player according to the 247sports composite rankings. The 5-foot-10 point guard ranks as the nation’s 35th best point guard and New York’s sixth best player.

    Tennessee offered Zeigler on Aug. 9 after watching him play at Nike’s Peach Jam Tournament in Georgia. The point guard’s commitment comes five days after he visited Tennessee.

    The three-star holds offers from Minnesota, Boston College and Wichita State.

    “Zakai is a great story—the type of kid who’s just built to work hard and beat the odds,” Tennessee head coach Barnes said. “He’s got that New York City guard presence. He’s tough, he understands how to run a team and he’s a winner. As a natural point guard, he can control the tempo of the game on both ends of the floor. He turned a lot of heads with his shooting and all-around play at the Peach Jam. And we love that he guards full-court and has shown the ability to really impact the game defensively.”

    Zeigler is Tennessee’s seventh commit in the 2021 class as Rick Barnes’ completely flipped his roster this offseason.

    Tennessee lost a pair of players to the NBA, one senior to graduation and four players to the transfer portal— none of which landed at power five schools.

    Barnes and his staff have now brought in seven prep prospects as well as transfer guard Justin Powell.

    The addition of Zeigler ties Tennessee with Gonzaga for the nation’s third best signing class. Only Memphis and Michigan have classes ranked higher than the Vols.

    Tennessee’s class includes two five-stars, two four-stars and three three-stars.

    Zeigler will quickly join his new teammates in Knoxville as the Vols continue their offseason work. After a summer where multiple players played internationally and others missed time with minor injuries, continuing to build chemistry on a roster with eight newcomers is imperative.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.