It began looking like Trey Zeigler wouldn't make it to Ann Arbor for a game this winter. Previous plans to make it to Crisler to see the Wolverines had been altered by factors outside of his control like the weather. When he learned of an opening in his schedule coinciding with Tuesday evening ‘s intra-state battle between Michigan and Michigan State, he would not be deterred. He piled in a car with his high school coaches and a few teammates and made it to town for the game.
He sat courtside for the Maize & Blue's disappointing loss, and afterward Michigan headman John Beilein made it clear to Zeigler just how much he could impact the Wolverines' future fortunes.
"He talked again about how he really wants me," Zeigler recalled. "He feels like they're a couple of players away from winning games like that game. He just wanted to reassure me on how important I was to their program. They didn't talk about (committing) at all. They really haven't pressured me into making a decision. They just want me to take my time."
Zeigler has been careful to maintain as much of a poker face as possible during his recruitment, frequently offering very measured responses to questions about his leanings. That might explain why he laughed off rumors that he was cheering and chanting for the Spartans during Tuesday's contest.
"Nah, I wasn't doing that," he said firmly. "I was trying to stay neutral. That's what I was trying to do. I wasn't doing any rooting for either team."
After watching both in-state programs closely this year, Zeigler indicated that he could see himself fitting in at both places.
"I like both of them a lot, but for different reasons," he stated. "They've both had their ups and downs this year. I think Michigan is definitely headed in the right direction. Coach Beilein has them going in the right direction. Michigan State is playing really good basketball right now. I like them both."
A number of out-of-state programs also factor prominently into the equation. The number of suitors continues to rise, Zeigler is open to all comers. He has even discussed the idea of attending his far-away options with good friend and fellow 2010 blue chip prospect, Ray McCallum.
"We're real close," Zeigler said regarding his relationship with the Detroit Country Day star. "We've been knowing each other since we were younger. We hung out a lot this summer. I've stayed at his house a couple of times this year. We've been in contact with a lot of the same schools. (Attending the same school) is definitely a possibility. I would say Oklahoma, Miami, and LSU are probably the main schools that have talked about both of us at the same time."
Zeigler still maintains that all of those pursuing him are on equal footing. He also indicated that the weeding out process is still numerous months away from concluding.
"Basically (the decision timeline) is the same," reported Zeigler. "The end of the summer / (early) fall. I'm going to take my visits and see what's out there… what people have to offer for me. I'll probably go see Michigan State once or twice again (this season), and that'll be it as far as games. I heard they were playing Minnesota, so I might go to that because I'm looking at Minnesota too."