California Hoopster Receives BYU Interest

Northern California is known for its tall redwood trees scraping the skies of Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada range. In Yuba, California there also happens to be a rather tall LDS prospect that stands in at 6 feet 8 inches, and he is hearing from BYU's basketball program.

There must be something in the water in Northern California, because things seem to grow quite tall there. Zac Nelson, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, is one such example and uses that height to his advantage while playing for his high school basketball team.

"I play for Yuba City High School and right now and we're doing pretty good," said Nelson, who is a senior. "We're 26-3, and so that's good."

Nelson has been very versatile for his team, as he has played a variety of positions.

"This year I'm playing center because of the team that I'm on, but last year I played the three- and four-spot or small forward and power forward. I also played wing last year also and that worked out nicely. This year I'm the biggest guy on the team and so they need me down low, so I play the center position."

Though he is familiar with a number of different positions, Nelson said he doesn't have a preference and will play whatever is asked of him.

"It doesn't really matter, and sometimes I'll have good games down low where I can post up and all the moves are working," said Nelson. "Those are really fun games and I can step back and shoot the ball and all the three points are falling. I don't really care what position I play. I just love playing the game."

Not only does Nelson love playing the game, but he has had quite a bit of success while doing it.

"I'm scoring about 25 points a game," Nelson said. "I get around 16.8 rebound a game, I think. I don't do too bad I guess."

Not too bad? Nelson is being humble, considering the fact that he dominates his league of play.

"I worked on my shot a lot this summer and it's gotten a lot better," Nelson mentioned. "That's why I can just step back and hit the three a lot better this year. It's really worked out well for me this year. I can also run the floor and that's how I get a lot of my points, is from the fast break. I'll either get the rebound and head downcourt or one of the other guys will get the rebound and I'll already be downcourt for the basket."

Nelson has not only had a lot of success on the hardwood, but he has also been doing very well in the classroom.

"Well, I have a 4.5 GPA right now," he said with a laugh. "I'm still working on it, you know. I've got some honors classes that I'm taking. I want to either study engineering or accounting. I'm not sure right now."

BYU has taken notice of Nelson's success on and off the court.

"Coach John Wardenburg called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me how my season was going and how I was doing," said Nelson. "He asked me if I wanted to go to BYU and I told him that I did. I told him that BYU was one of my top choices to go. He told me that he would like to recruit me, and that really feels good, you know. I was really humbled by the phone call, and at the same time I was excited."

So how seriously is BYU recruiting Nelson?

"Well, right now we're just talking and I've made a couple phone calls," said Nelson. "That's about where it is right now and I don't know how far it's going to go. We've just started talking, but I hope it continues and something comes out of it.

"I'm just going to see how this all plays out. If they want me to come down, I'll come down for a visit. I'll just wait and see what they think and take it from there."

Meanwhile, BYU isn't the only school looking at Nelson.

"Yeah there is a bunch of colleges looking at me," Nelson said. "There's Utah State, Utah Valley University, Humboldt State, Chico State, Sonoma State, U.C. Davis, SAC State, U.C. Irvine, Yuba College, and that's a junior college. Then there are other junior colleges that are recruiting me also."

Of those schools, he has offers from SAC State, Chico State, U.C. Irvine and Humboldt State.

Though he doesn't have an offer from BYU yet, Nelson said it is currently his school of choice.

"My mom went to BYU and my sister goes there now," Nelson said. "My whole family is one big BYU fan. They follow BYU football, basketball and everything. I have an uncle [Brad Nelson] and he's huge on everything BYU, so we're all pretty big BYU fans over here. I grew up watching BYU football and BYU basketball and thought they were the greatest. Looking at my colleges, they're the top of my list."

Nelson is also very familiar with BYU after participating in a Cougar basketball camp last July.

"I went to BYU over the summer and that's when I was able to speak to the coaches," recalled Nelson. "I spoke to Coach Wardenburg then because I was named the MVP of the whole camp. There were a lot of good players there. That's when they found out I was pretty good at basketball. Coach Rose was out because he was having surgery during the camp and so he wasn't there."

Nelson is LDS and plans on serving a mission. He won't turn 19 until a year after he graduates, and said he will probably enroll in school for a year before he serves.


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