Zach Peters, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound sophomore basketball forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas, will announce his college choice at 2:40 p.m., Wednesday, in the high school’s gymnasium.
Peters, who made an unofficial visit to Kansas University last February for the KU-Nebraska game, has a final four of KU, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas.
“I know he’s had colleges looking at him since seventh, eighth grade,” Prestonwood Christian coach Brad Freeman said of Peters, who averaged 15.3 points and 9.0 rebounds a game his soph season for the Texas Class 5A state champs. “I’ve had some top D-One (coaches) tell me he could play for them now,” Freeman added.
That’s because Peters has already developed a body that appears ready for the rigors of college basketball.
“He’s a great athlete — good strength, good size,” said Freeman, who played Peters at center this past season with the freedom to drift outside. The coach said Peters projects to be a “natural three (small forward)” in college.
“My opinion is he has a college body. He’s a great high school player. I think when he gets to college, the way he plays, with his size and ‘physicalness,’ I think he’ll be an even better college player than high school player.”
Peters hit 56 percent of his shots (three of nine threes) and 63.7 percent of his free throws this past season.
He also plays for former Oklahoma standout Jeff Webster’s Pro Skills basketball program and Team Texas AAU.
“A lot of kids his age are awkward. He has the speed, agility and quickness of somebody a lot older than he is,” Freeman said of Peters, who in eighth grade could hit a golf ball 300 yards.
“God blessed him with an athletic body. It’s a little bit of natural talent and hard work. He works extremely hard. He’s developed his game through skills training a number of years.”
Peters played wide receiver in football his freshman year at Prestonwood Academy after playing quarterback several years before that.
He also, according to Dime Magazine, is a brilliant math student, baby-sits handicapped children on Friday nights ,and when the magazine last caught up with him, was “learning to play ‘Purple Haze’ on guitar.”
As far as that wide receiver stint ...
“Our team runs the spread. He ran routes down the sidelines and out-ran people,” Freeman said. “One game he ran one over the middle and I said to the football coach, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘He’s a decoy.’ I said, ‘No more routes up the middle,’’’ Freeman added, laughing.
Peters isn’t the only Prestonwood player who will be playing major college basketball.
Julius Randle, a 6-8 freshman forward, also has made an unofficial visit to KU. Like Peters, he’s considered a possible McDonald’s All-America type player.
“He is wide open. Every school is on his list now,” Freeman said of Randle. “We want to make sure people understand no matter what decision Zach makes ... Julius is his own individual and will make the decision best for him.”
As far as Peters, who also at one time also had Baylor, Missouri and Oklahoma on his primary list of schools, he’ll be finished with the recruiting process on Wednesday with two years remaining in high school.
“I don’t think he’s rushing into anything,” Freeman said. “He has a strong family and has a good head on his shoulders. He’s already visited several schools and is ready to make a decision. This will let him relax and just play the next two years. He understands a verbal commitment ... people will still come after him, but he’ll also know, ‘I made a decision and know where I’m going to school.’ That’s important to him.”
Ellis attracts crowd
Perry Ellis, a 6-8, 210-pound sophomore forward from Wichita Heights High School, held an open workout on Monday that was attended by KU’s Bill Self as well as Kansas State’s Frank Martin, Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins. Assistant coaches from Missouri, Texas A&M and Memphis were also present.