Zimmerman's recruitment heats up

When the clock struck midnight it allowed college coaches to begin reaching out to members of the class of 2015. For five star big man Stephen Zimmerman, the phone calls started almost immediately. We spoke with the prospect's mother, Lori, about the influx of calls and much more.

You've spoken highly of the NBA Camp so far, has there been anything you or Stephen has learned that was maybe a bit sobering?

Lori Zimmerman: What hit me, and I'll admit to it, is when we went through the presentation on texting and driving. That hit me very hard because my kids are always on me about that. They'll tell me don't text, don't tweet Mom while you are driving, and it really hit me and I promised Stephen that I won't do it again because I told him that it's more important to get you somewhere rather than me sending that next text or tweet.

What do you think you and Stephen learned reference the recruiting process by participating in this camp?

I'm not sure I learned anything new. If anything it validated how we're trying to handle this whole situation, especially with knowing that this is our process and we can own it and conduct it the way we want to and we can set the rules and it's going to be ok.

Who gave you the best piece of advice so far at camp?

Probably Dr. Earl, he was talking with a lot of the parents at camp and just re-enforcing things we should think about. He said give to yourself before you give yourself away and that it's ok to think about yourself.

John Lucas mentioned at the start of camp just how proud he was of the depth of big men in this camp, How did Stephen feel about coming here and competing against other really talented bigs?

I think we were just so honored to be invited because we didn't think it was a possibility until next year, we thought it was a rising senior type camp, so we were really honored and blessed to be invited. Stephen doesn't back down from anybody and he wants to play the top competition , he wants to show what he can do and he wants to learn. He's excited to be hear and he's learned a lot.

The recruiting process is obviously an experience and I'm sure you guys had quite the experience starting at 12:01 this morning, how did you react to everything?

Everything's come through me so far up until this point and I was fine with it. I actually went to bed a little bit before the calls started and I had turned my ringer off on my phone around 11:48, so I kinda slept through all the craziness. It's been starting again, it's crazy, I was trying to relay the information back to my husband at home and I couldn't even keep up, I was like this school reached out and this school, I couldn't even keep up with Stephen, I was trying to text him before his game to update him and I felt like, he's got that, he's got his game, he doesn't need to deal with it. Probably about 9:00 AM this morning is when I started dealing with it and a lot of it is they are asking Stephen to call them back because they can't while he's in the camp, so can we get him tonight or get him tomorrow, just kinda dealing with that.

So how many total schools reached out since 12:01?

I think we're up to 14 now with a couple of surprises.

Who were the surprises?

Louisville was one, we had never heard from them before, then we saw a text from them that was sent at 12:04, so that was a good surprise.

Was it Coach Pitino who reached out?

No, it was Coach Jones and we also heard from St. John's recently, that was Coach Lavin. It was a good surprise from Louisville. Then we heard from schools that have been there all along. We got texts from all 3 UCLA assistant coaches telling us that Coach Alford was going to be calling us later. We heard from UNLV too.

Who has given the most creative or unique pitch so far?

You know, unfortunately I have to say they are all kinda the same. They are keeping up with him at camp, just how impressive both his play and his behavior have been and just that they hope to develop a relationship with him.

Have any new offers come across yet?

Not as of yet, but I also haven't called anybody back yet, I've just been handling it by text messages, so, we did, Coach Orlando at Kentucky said he wanted to make sure that we did get on the phone with Coach Cal tonight, so we'll see what happens.

Does that excite you guys?

Definitely, definitely. I think that will really excite Stephen. He's so even-keeled you never kind of know when he's real happy, but I think that one will definitely put a smile on his face.

What is it about Kentucky that you think will cause Stephen to have that reaction?

I think it's just that upper tier, the one with rich tradition, national championships, it validates the hard work he's put in and is willing to continue to put in, that it's working with him.

How do you evaluate Stephen's fit with programs like that who are the cream of the crop with that tradition you mentioned?

Yeah, it's just a matter of asking questions, and I think actions are more important than the questions we can ask. It's watching the season, seeing how they use their big men, are you stuck just in the 5 position or can you play the 4/5 , are you developing your bigmen, are they going backwards from when they first got there, are they getting the ball, things like that.

Stephen mentioned before he's watched a lot of Duke this past season, how much was he paying attention to those factors you were just mentioning?

Definitely yeah, we heard from Coach Wojo this morning, he had texted that he had heard that Stephen was playing well and he couldn't wait to get him on the phone. Stephen will be excited about that too.

Did Coach Wojo indicate he was trying to get Stephen on the phone with Coach K when he calls?

He did, and he talked to Stephen a few weeks before and he had indicated the same thing, but we ended up having a really busy week that week and we hadn't been back in touch, so I'm sure we'll be in touch with them either tonight, tomorrow or Monday night.

What's the plan for visits now?

Definitely we want to visit, but I think we need to in our family narrow it down to where we want to take our first visits to, we don't have the time or the means to go everywhere. We wish we could but we're going to have to narrow it down and see who really sticks in there and who is in it for the long haul so we can see where Stephen really wants to go.

Does the fact that some of the big schools recruiting Stephen being big name schools with rich traditions you mentioned give them a leg up in possibly having Stephen elect to visit their schools?

I think that may be one small part of it, but still, I want Stephen to talk to these coaches to get to know them better to get a feel for who he wants to talk to for longer and see where he wants to go see the campus. A lot of it will be on Big Zimm and who he is comfortable with. He'll say a lot of times that coaches will talk about the same things, like how's your games, how are you doing in practice, so the ones that he really likes to talk with, I can tell because instead of it being a 3 minute call, it's a 20 minute call, are the ones who ask Zimm about how he's doing as a person, how's he doing in school, does he have a girlfriend, what's going on in his life outside, stuff like that where they get to know him as a person.

I'm curious--who are the schools that he's having these 20 minute conversations with?

That's a loaded question... Coach Payne at Kentucky has and Coach Jordan at Michigan, they've tried to get to know Zimm. Coach Rice at UNLV too, and I think they have a little more knowledge of Zimm because his brother is his high school coach, so I think they have a good relationship. Those are the ones I can think off the top my head.

Michigan is a popular school with several guards at this camp because of Trey Burke and his success this season, I'm curious, what are your impressions of Michigan and Mitch McGary from this past season?

We were really impressed because Stephen plays with Dream Vision and we ended up playing Mitch's team quite a bit in Stephen's first summer, so Stephen got to watch Mitch and see where he was at this point to where he is after this past season. You can just see that he was a man on that court now instead of the boy we saw just a summer ago on the court. That meant a lot to Stephen to see how he developed during the year.

Does a school that has a recent track record with bigs, does that give them a leg up in Stephen's recruitment or does it matter more what a school's long term track record with bigs matter more?

I think as parents you look at the more long term will factor in more with us but with Stephen, it will probably be more recent. We could never get him to sit down when he was younger to watch a whole game but now, we tell him, sit down, watch this because you need to see style of play, so he's really just started putting in time to watch these guys.

Has Stephen ever indicated that he's felt like a school has had a similar style of big that he is?

You know, the only one he's mentioned is with Mitch McGary. He'll mention, "hey, we run that play" or, "Ok I see what I did there, I can try that." So that's really the only one I can think of that he's voiced, but I'm sure you know from talking with Stephen that he doesn't say a lot of what he's thinking in his head, so he may not verbalize it until a few days later, he's an observer.

He seems more guarded in interviews at this camp, is that a conscious decision that's been made to approach his recruiting situation?

I think that's just him, it's not anything we're enforced to him, I just think he's seen there's been a few times where he's said, not the wrong thing, but he'll say something and people will run with it when it's not really what he meant. Again, they are 16/17 years old and we all sometimes say things that may not come out right. He just doesn't, I think he's a little more guarded because he doesn't want to upset anybody or not make a school feel like they are not feeling the love from him just because of something silly he said.

Going back to Michigan, how much contact has there been with them since 12 today?

It's been quite a few texts with Coach Jordan and he wants to get us on the phone with Coach Beilein. Again, they said they would call me and they could call Stephen after the camp. I really want to concentrate on getting through the day and then deal with everything because I really don't want to cheat myself out of finishing what we started here and had a great run of it because I'm sure the recruiting will be non-stop for days.

Who do you think are the for-sure schools you are planning on calling back tonight?

I think that will be up to Stephen. I'll give him the list, this is who has called, give me three and we'll call them real quick.

Are you envisioning having longer calls with them tonight and do you think it's likely you'll be receiving some new scholarship offers during those calls?

Definitely, I think so, I think we might pick up 2 or 3 based on the assistants and just a feeling. Usually I've found once you talk with assistants a few times and they prepare you to get on the phone with the head coach, that's usually when it happens.

If an offer doesn't come up in the next few days from schools that reached out to you guys today, will that be a cause for concern?

No, not really, I don't think because we have such a long process, it'll feel short but it's long, I don't think we're going to weigh into when the offers come.

Are there any offers you are hoping to get during this process as a kind of benchmark offers for Stephen?

Yeah, I would like that Kentucky offer, I really would. And Duke too. For him, he's worked so hard to get where he is as a player, he had a great spring, he's worked so hard here at this camp, so I just think it kinda validates him and the work he's put in, I think those offers would make him feel good.

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