Norvell Focused on Winning

Simeon Sophomore Guard has one thing on his mind this spring. Winning. He talks about what he has to do to accomplish that and much more.

If there's one thing Simeon's Zack Norvell didn't want to do this offseason, it would be slack. Norvell has been busy maintaining his conditioning and honing his game already this spring.

"Every day after school I go to the track and run to stay in shape," he said. "My dad and I get in the gym too since he works in a high school."

Norvell is used to running, though. Playing in some long seasons, Norvell knows that conditioning is crucial when the playoffs come around and can separate the good from the great come crunch time.

"Coach (Rob) Smith always preaches conditioning," he said. "That's what helps you become a state champ. Running hard every day and conditioning and lifting weights and all that.

The high school season is demanding in itself, but the rigors of playing in several games a day at an AAU event can put a player's conditioning to the test. That's why Norvell has added confidence that he can push forward when other players get fatigued.

"It helps a lot knowing that you have a lot of energy to be able to play three to four games a day," he said. "Usually you play one game in a day in high school which means you usually have a lot more energy."

Norvell was able to gain a lot of valuable experience this past season as he played a healthy amount of minutes for Simeon. The fruits of that effort are showing already this spring in several key areas of his game.

"I'm seeing more consistency in my shot and my stamina is improved," he said. "My IQ is improved. The more games I've played, the more I've learned."

Norvell also did some ball handling, splitting time at the point this past season with Illinois commit D.J. Williams for Simeon. That, too, has helped him be more comfortable and flexible with the Fire this spring.

"My ball handling is a lot better," he said. "I wasn't used to playing at the point, but now I'm a lot more comfortable at the point now and know what to do at my spot and what shots to take."

Not only will that added skill be useful this spring and summer, Norvell will be able to share the ball-handling load with Williams next fall, also.

"We have a big lineup next year," he said "so DJ and I will probably split some time there."

Norvell didn't take any breaks, and neither did his recruitment. With a trio of offers in hand already, Norvell could be on the verge of collecting several more with a strong showing this spring and summer.

"I'm getting the most interest from Oklahoma, Creighton, Minnesota, Kansas, Michigan State, Illinois, Bradley, DePaul, Memphis, SMU, Tennessee, and Georgetown," he said. "Right now Loyola, Bradley, and Memphis are my three offers."

So what does Norvell think he needs to prove to teams to convince them that he's ready for those long-awaited offers?

"I just need to show that I can get up and down and play a fast paced game," he said. "That and showing that I have better court vision."

But his main goal is pretty simple. To quote the late Al Davis, Norvell just wants to "win, baby, win."

"Right now I just want to win," he said. "Just like my high school season, I just want to win."

With all of the interest Norvell is fielding, he does plan on getting out to see a couple of schools, one of which is close and one of which is a little more distant.

"I haven't taken any visits yet," he said, "but I'll probably see Illinois again and I might get out to Georgetown."

At Illinois, Norvell would see a few familiar faces, including two of his former high school teammates in addition to his current teammate and Illinois commit D.J. Williams.

"Those guys are saying the transition is good with the family environment," he said. "I also like the coaching staff and the campus life is nice."

One coach in particular that has been leading Norvell's recruitment is Chicago native Paris Parham. P-Ham has an inside track with Norvell that goes back a long time.

"Coach Parham and my dad grew up together," he said. "(Parham) is a cool guy, and he's pretty funny too."

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