Peters Growing His Game

Future Jayhawk Zach Peters isn't spending a lot of time just kicking back this summer, he's been working on his game at the Amar'e Stoudemire Skills Academy, and even got some time in playing hoops with the current players on the KU roster.'s Aaron Cedeño with a report, inside...

By the time David Stern walked to the podium at Madison Square Garden for the first time on the night of June 24, millions of viewers had tuned their televisions to the 2010 NBA Draft.

One would be hard pressed, however, to find a group watching with greater interest than a group of 20 young men who gathered in Chicago earlier that day. Because for them, the NBA Draft is about more than mere entertainment.

For them, it represented a possible glimpse into their future.

The annual Amar'e Stoudemire Skills Academy – one of four exclusive positional academies sponsored by Nike – brings the best young big man prospects in the country together for three days of drills and conditioning.

The experience was first-class all the way, said Zach Peters, University of Kansas commit and one of the top power forwards in the Class of 2012. From the accommodations and gear to the instruction itself.

"The first day was (NBA) Draft Day, so we only had one workout and it was two hours," he said. "It was a really good workout. There was a bunch of NBA coaches and ex-NBA players that were helping us out. It was a really organized ordeal and everything was awesome."

Though it's not uncommon for prospects to attend elite camps hosted by various organizations and collegiate programs throughout the summer, the Nike Skills Academies are unique in their focus on individual positions.

Familiar with most of his fellow Amar'e campers through his affiliation with Team Texas and the AAU basketball season, Peters enjoyed the chance to test himself against them in Chicago.

"We didn't really play in games, but the drills were good, and it was really cool seeing how hard you have to work to be an NBA-type player," he explained. "(The coaches) really pushed us and told us 'That's how hard you have to work.'"

Peters has been a traveling man this summer, and not just because of the regularly scheduled camps and AAU tournaments. A couple of weeks ago, Peters visited the University of Kansas for the first time since making his verbal commitment to the program in the spring.

Though it wasn't his first trip to campus, he said, it was his first as a member of the KU family – and that made all the difference.

"I hung out with the players a lot," Peters said. "I played at night time, at like 11 o'clock I'd go out and play (pickup basketball) with them and hang out with them. It was a lot different from my past visits, because I was just a normal recruit. I wasn't part of the KU program yet. It was a lot of fun getting to play with them and getting to know them." Top Stories