Starting last fall, Las Vegas became a popular destination for the UNC head coach, who was a regular at Bishop Gorman High School.
"He came out a lot during my junior season to watch me play and practice," said Zimmerman. "He's definitely made an impression on me."
The 6-10 Zimmerman just finished up his junior season at Bishop Gorman with a state championship.
"I won another high school state championship, which is my third in a row," said Zimmerman. "We started the season with a loss in Chicago to Cliff Alexander's team but we got better throughout the year. I think my biggest improvement came mentally and learning how to adapt to different situations."
After the state championship, Zimmerman switched AAU teams and joined up with the No. 1 player in the class of 2015, power forward Ivan Rabb, and the Oakland Soldiers. The Soldiers were upset Saturday morning in their first game and Zimmerman struggled to get anything going in front of Williams. Despite the sluggish start Zimmerman began to feel a little more comfortable in the night session as UNC assistant coach Hubert Davis looked on.
"I think we're learning," noted Zimmerman. "This is obviously a really big and really good tournament. It's a good thing to be able to learn like that. I started feeling a little bit more comfortable in the second game. I wasn't hitting the shots I normally hit at the top. That's my fault but I usually try to get the easy stuff cutting down the lane. We are learning as I said before, but we are all friends and gonna have a great summer."
In three games, Zimmerman averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds; however in a comeback win over rival Cal Supreme he had his moments. In overtime he threw a behind-the-back pass in traffic to Rabb for a basket and also operated well in the high-low offense towards the end of the game.
"UNC always says they like my versatility and the fact that I can pass, handle the ball, and score inside and outside," said Zimmerman.
The Soldiers have the luxury of having three high major D-1 big men on their roster with Rabb, Zimmerman, and junior Chimeze Metu. In the first game the Soldiers played all three at once, which worked well to start, but created chaos on the offensive end. Beginning in the second game they went to a more traditional line-up with Rabb and Zimmerman operating interchangeably in the post.
"These kids are all new to playing with each other," said Soldiers coach Jules Milstead. "We tried going big in the first game which didn't work out, but then made some changes for our afternoon game. The players started playing more freely and the big men had freedom to operate in the paint. Things haven't clicked yet, but we wanted to pair Rabb with Zimmerman for a reason. Once they both get more reps together, watch out."