Arizona lost a reserve forward on Friday as the university announced in a release that sophomore forward Zach Peters would end his basketball career due to medical issues. Peters will remain on scholarship as a student because to a medical exemption and ends his basketball career due to issues stemming from concussions.
A former Kansas transfer and native of Plano, Texas, the 6-foot-10 Peters appeared in 11 games for Arizona during the 2013-14 season, tallying 31 total minutes and scoring zero points while grabbing four rebounds. Peters was a grassroots and high school teammate of former Kentucky forward Julius Randle and was regarded as the No. 137 prospect in Rivals.com‘s 2012 national rankings.
“You never want to see anyone’s athletic career cut short by injury, especially a person of Zach’s character,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said in the release. “That being said, this is a decision made with an eye toward Zach’s bright and productive future. He has nothing but our full support as he begins his next chapter.”
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my basketball career,” Peters said in the release. “I especially want to thank my family, as well as the medical staff, coaching staff and my teammates at the University of Arizona for their support over the course of a trying year.
“As advised by many medical professionals, this is the best course of action to ensure myself a safe and healthy future. I’m excited to remain a student and pursue a degree at the University of Arizona.”
The loss of Peters opens up a scholarship for Arizona, which was previously filled to the brim. The Wildcats are expected to host Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson on an official visit on May 8th and Anderson could be targeted to fill Peters’ previous spot on the roster.
If Anderson chooses another school, Arizona could go a number of different routes for that final scholarship as they can look at transfer options, JuCo players or bank the scholarship for the next recruiting class.
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.