Cheatham talks ASU visit

Local forward Zylan Cheatham has naturally been very familiar with the Arizona State program throughout the recruiting process, yet that isn't to say that the 6-7 200-pound four-star prospect didn't come away impressed following his recent unofficial visit to Tempe. We caught up with Cheatham to get his thoughts about his recruitment with the hometown team.

DevilsDigest: What were your impressions of your visit to Arizona State on Thursday?

Zylan Cheatham: "It was really a good visit. I was there with my father and my trainer and got to sit down with Coach Herb and the complete staff. They talked about why they were recruiting me and how much of a priority I am. They have new assistant coaches and I didn't know how much experience they all had. They explained to me how their offense will be run and that is the best style for me, because they need very athletic and quick players. So their style of play definitely impressed me."

DevilsDigest: What kind of role do the ASU coaches envision for you?

Zylan Cheatham: "They told me that if I came here I would pretty much be in the front of their success. They will put me in position to get everyone going, and that by coming here I would have a chance to play in the league. This would be an ideal situation to put out for my state and that I would have all the pieces around me to succeed. In all our conversations they weren't talking me as being a high school player, but being a first round draft pick. That is also impressive."

DevilsDigest: When the coaches talk about your skills, which ones have they identified as strengths?

Zylan Cheatham: "My motor for sure and my work ethic. My ability to find players in the open court. Being versatile enough to create mismatches. My best years are still ahead of me, and the coaches said that once I start developing my jump shot and do other things I can become a more complete player and be one of the highest level players in the country. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be a first round pick.

"I feel that as far as penetrating and athleticism I'm as good as they come for players my age. They aren't a lot of guys in the country who are more athletic than me. I can handle the ball pretty well for someone my size and I'm able to create matchup problems. I know that I have to improve my knowledge of the game and also become physically stronger. I feel that I would be an asset for any team I went to because I will work hard and do everything that it takes to win."

DevilsDigest: You listed ASU in your Top 5. Following this visit do you think of them any differently than before?

Zylan Cheatham: "I don't know if I think differently about them, but I really got a feel for how much they want me and what kind of player they see me as. Stuff like that attracts me more to them. ASU is a good school and my dad loves it. Being close to home is something that definitely factors in when I make my decision. Being close to home is an advantage that ASU will have over any school that I'm looking at."

DevilsDigest: When it comes to your family and you friends, people that will help you make your decision; do you see them pushing you to stay closer to home?

Zylan Cheatham: "My father is the only one pushing. He's all for ASU. Aside from that the rest of family wants me to go where it's best for me and will support any decision I make. They tell me that getting away isn't always a bad thing, but staying at home is definitely not a bad thing.

"They are kind of letting me do my own thing and make my own decision, because at the end of the day it's me that has to go to school – not them."

DevilsDigest: Do you see yourself taking an official visit to ASU?

Zylan Cheatham: "Possibly. I haven't set anything in stone. Being that it's so close to me I can schedule an official even one week or two in advance. I know I will come back sometime later this year (either for an unofficial or official visit) because I didn't get to see much of the school because we sat in the office discussing things."

DevilsDigest: When you announced your Top 5, the other schools on that list were: Memphis, San Diego State, New Mexico, and Washington. Would it be fair to say that those schools will definitely get an official visit?

Zylan Cheatham: "Yes they will. I already have one set for Memphis in October and I need to set up visits with the rest of them."

DevilsDigest: You played last season at Westwind Prep Academy but had to transfer back to South Mountain High School when you found out that your school work during your junior year at Westwind won't accepted by the NCAA. Are you eligible to play your senior year back at your old high school?

Zylan Cheatham: "It's still up in the air. They (the Arizona Interscholastic Association's Executive Board) will have a meeting about all winter sports in October. So I will explain my situation and hopefully they will take everything I have been through in consideration and let me play. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't, but I'm obviously biased."

DevilsDigest: How has this ordeal impacted your chances of academically qualifying?

Zylan Cheatham: "No doubt it will be harder to qualify. I'm taking a bigger work load than I planned to have. But it's all good. That's just part of life and I can't let that bring me down. I have to keep on grinding. I feel that if I work hard I will qualify."

DevilsDigest: You said being close to home isn't something you would necessarily consider when you make your decision, but what are the aspects you will think of before making a commitment?

Zylan Cheatham: "For sure the relationship I have with the coaching staff and the style of play. How they want to play me on the floor is something that will have a great impact. How I can get better and help my team the best I can. Those are the key factors."


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