Zelis is 2013 Big Man on the Rise

DePaul brought 6'11" Andrew Zelis from Wheaton North to campus for a visit this past week. The big man really enjoyed what the school has to offer from a variety of aspects. He spoke with WeAreDePaul about his visit.

Andrew Zelis walked through what went on during his visit with the Blue Demons.

"We went to their practice facility and they gave us a schedule of what was going on at practice," said Zelis. "Each one of the coaches came by and introduced themselves. They went through practice which was about two hours. I liked the way they ran the practice. Coach Purnell is a very smart coach. I mostly watched the big men during their drills. They scrimmaged a lot and the practice was very efficient. We went upstairs to look at their strength and conditioning room and talked to Coach Mac (Calloway). He walked us through some of the stuff to figure out what incoming freshman need to do to strengthen up. We went over what they do offseason-wise and what they eat.

"After that we went on a tour of the campus," added Zelis. "They showed us where the commons were, where they eat, and the various buildings. It was a really nice campus. They have a quad area that is cut off from the rest of the city. It was in a really nice neighborhood. We got to check out the library and they told us about all DePaul has to offer. One aspect was they don't have classes on Friday. They have their own tutor that goes with them whereever they are playing games to keep the guys updated on their school work. It seems like they really help their players out. It was really fun and a great visit."

He was especially impressed with how the coaches ran practice.

"I really enjoyed watching the practice, mostly because I could see where I need to be in two years to play college basketball," said Andrew. "That was the best part for me."

The young post picked up several things he can bring back to use in his game this season.

"I liked how they move without the ball," said Zelis. "They had a lot of points off tip dunks and being active. That is something I am picking up on slowly, but surely. It shows me how active I have to be to compete at that level."

Zelis picked up some great advice from one of the DePaul assistant coaches.

"Coach (Brian) Ellerbe talked to me for a while," Zelis said. "He was giving me some pointers and tips at the end when I was alone with him. He was telling me to just keep getting better every day and that big men develop a little slower."

He says he has been getting a lot of mail from the coaching staff. This was actually not the first time he has been to the campus as he visited with his father.

"My dad wanted me to get a feel for what kind of school I would want to go too eventually attend," said Andrew. "He took me up to DePaul my freshman year to check out a smaller campus that was still a high major. We went to the Loop area which was a little bit different area than (Lincoln Park)."

A big man with Zelis' size and ability has college coaches showing interest. He mentioned what schools are currently recruiting him.

"I have a lot of school send me letters and give me calls," said Zelis. "Illinois, Missouri, Marquette, UIC, DePaul, Drake, Ohio, SIU, Northern Iowa, Dartmouth, Harvard, Michigan, and got a call from West Point the other day which was surprising! I am getting a lot of looks from mostly mid-majors and some high majors. More and more are coming every week."

Do not expect a decision any time soon from the rising junior.

"I am thinking I will probably make a decision before the start of my senior season," said Zelis. " I would like to be committed by then, but I am definitely not going to make a decision before a year from now. I don't want to make a soft commitment. When I make a decision I want to make it a real commitment and stick with it."

He has several key factors that will be important to him in choosing a school.

"The most important factor would be a school that fits my athletic needs and my educational needs," Andrew said. "In the end if I can't play basketball I need something to go back too. I am looking for a school that fits what my family and I want education-wise. Basketball-wise I want to be in a program that features the big man. I also want to go to a school where I can play as a freshman."

The skilled post man talked about what he brings to the table as a player.

"I am an inside and out player," said Zelis. "I can hit the elbow shot and the 15-footer. If my point guard is driving I can pop out and hit the open shot. Also, I am a post guy and that is where I have worked the longest. I have some solid go-to moves down low. The stronger I get the more dominant I will be down there."

Zelis discussed how his summer went from a developmental standpoint.

"I think my summer was very productive," said Zelis. "I believe I have grown more this summer than in previous summers. I have gotten a lot stronger and more explosive around the basket. My basketball IQ has grown a lot. Being able to make those quick reads is the most important. I had a really good camp at UIC."

The UIC Elite camp was his coming out party as several scouts were very impressed with the way he closed out the summer.

"I think I came out and showed people what I am about," said Zelis. "I didn't really get to show people what I had in July so I wanted to go out there and show people what I can do. I came out attacking some pretty good big men there. I brought my competitive edge. I was ready to go after the working out at Attack Athletics last month. It all came together there."

He has seen major developments in his game working out with famed trainer Tim Grover at Attack Athletics.

"They are unbelievable helping me out," said Andrew. "They mix on-the-court stuff with weight room activities. We will go for an hour and a half on the court then an hour in the weight room."

Zelis has taken a lot from the spring and summer and is looking forward to bringing that back to his team at Wheaton North.

"This will be my varsity debut," said Zelis. "I am really looking forward to making a splash. I am hoping I can get All-conference honors. We did good in the summer and I think we are going to be really good this year."

With continued development along with his great size he has the potential to be a Big East center down the line.

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