Andrew Zimmermann sports college hoops’s best beard

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NEW YORK – There are a lot of reasons that college is one of the greatest times of a young man’s life.

You find yourself as person. You discover your calling in life. You figure out what you want to do to earn a living. And that’s to say nothing of the acceptability of the rampant alcoholism and utter lack of responsibility that exists between the end of classes on Thursday and the start of class on Monday morning every week.

But the best part? Being able to avoid shaving for three months without having to worry about a condescending bosses or disapproving clients.

Enter Andrew Zimmermann, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior forward for the Stanford Cardinal who sports college basketball’s most impressive facial follicles:

“Its just something that started before [our trip to] Spain,” Zimmermann said while his team was participating in the Preseason NIT Final Four in New York City over Thanksgiving. “It makes me look tougher and they respect me because of that.”

Zimmermann started growing the beard in mid-August, before Stanford went on their 11-day tour of Spain. And while he’s gotten the beard trimmed once since then, he hasn’t yet decided how long he’s going to let the beard get; he figures that, eventually, Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins is going to ask him to get a trim.

“I’m worried we’re at the point where coach will say ‘ehh, its a little too long,'” Zimmermann said.

If Dawkins is superstitious, he won’t. Heading into Friday’s NIT Final against Syracuse, Stanford is 5-0 on the season and playing well enough be thought of as a potential sleeper in a wide-open Pac-12. Zimmermann’s had success from an individual standpoint as well, taking advantage of the minutes made available by the ankle injury suffered by Dwight Powell. Zimmermann has started all five games for the Cardinal, finishing with a season-high seven points in Wednesday’s win over Oklahoma State.

“I think if we keep winning and playing well, it will have to stay,” Zimmermann said, although he tried to downplay the idea that the beard is a good luck charm. “I think the way we play when we play hard, its luck in itself.”

“Its a toughness look, which is something I try to play by and do on the court,” Zimmermann said. He’s an emotional leader and a glue guy for this Stanford team. Every defensive possession, he can easily be heard calling out screens and talking teammates through their rotations. The beard helps him embody his role.

“This is just a symbol of what we want to do,” Zimmermann said. “Not caring what other people think [about how we look], just doing what we gotta do.”

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.


AP Poll: Syracuse, Xavier big winners in college basketball rankings

(Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
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The new college basketball AP Poll is out, and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you that Syracuse and Xavier are the big winners.

The Orange steamrolled through a good Battle 4 Atlantis field, while Xavier capped a dominating performance in the Advocare Invitational with a 29-point win over Dayton. It should be no surprise that they are where they are.

[MORE RANKINGS: NBCSports.com top 25 | Coaches Poll]

It is a bit surprising, however, that both Texas A&M and Providence made it into the polls with a loss this week. They both deserve to be there, I just wasn’t sure they were both going to be.

Anyway, here is the full poll:

1. Kentucky (59 first place votes)
2. Maryland (4)
3. Michigan State (2)
4. Kansas
5. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma
7. Duke
8. Villanova
9. North Carolina
10. Virginia
11. Purdue
12. Xavier
13. Gonzaga
14. Syracuse
15. Oregon
16. Vanderbilt
17. Cincinnati
18. Texas A&M
19. Arizona
20. West Virginia
21. Miami
22. SMU
23. Providence
24. Louisville
25. Baylor

NEW THIS WEEK: Syracuse, West Virginia, SMU, Providence, Louisville

DROPPED OUT: Indiana, Cal, UConn, LSU, Wichita State