Matt Cashore /

ND a ‘high level’ school for 2017 big

Four-star junior power forward Zach Kent made Notre Dame his first unofficial visit outside the region, scoring an offer on the trip earlier this month. He saw a program capable of displaying his versatile skill set.

Personal bias isn’t something Zach Kent carries into the recruiting process.

Kent, a four-star junior power forward from St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Del., didn’t grow up watching much college basketball.  Instead he always kept an eye on the NBA, watching the likes of Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki.

“I know what I want to get out of college, that being playing at the next level after college,” Kent said. “I want to go into a situation where I’m set up to show all that I can do. Play early, play with good guards or a good point guard, scheme and coach stability. Any school that offers those things, you’re definitely going to look at. That’s basically how I’m approaching it.

“Because I didn’t watch a lot of college basketball, I don’t have a dream school. I don’t have a school that when they call and I hear their name I’m gonna be like, ‘Oh, I want to go there.’ I think that’s a good thing to have.”

While no program stands out to Kent straight way, he’s starting to build a long list of options.

Notre Dame, Providence, Oregon, St. Joseph’s, La Salle and Dayton have extended scholarship offers. Baylor and Maryland are among the programs expressing interest.

Kent added Notre Dame last month during an unofficial visit. It was the first trip Kent has made outside the region after a stop at Temple for a football and a trip to St. Joseph’s. Irish assistant Martin Ingelsby watched Kent for most of the summer AAU season.

“It’s a high level school,” Kent said. “I fit the scheme really well. Big skill guys do well there and it’s a position with good coach stability. In addition to that, they have a good incoming point guard. Just some good pieces. As of now, there’s gonna be some minutes available. That could change but hopefully it doesn’t so I can have that as a serious option. But basically just a really good school. I want to play at that level. I’m gonna play at that level. Just a really good fit.”

Perhaps the highlight of the trip for Kent was watching practice, where he zeroed in on Zach Auguste and the other bigs.

“Going in and watching practice was what I was looking forward to the most,” Kent said. “Just watching the practices and seeing how they run and move the ball around and where the bigs are on the floor. That was pretty much the biggest learning part — watching the big, following him, watching the motion, seeing how they move him inside and out.”

Kent spent most of this offseason working on expanding his skill set with improved ball handling and refining the ability to play on the perimeter as well as inside.

Finding a program that can display all those talents is one of his top priorities in the process.

“I can play inside and out,” Kent said. “I definitely don’t want to be held only to one of those when I go to college. I want to be able to do both and show that to continue to play on the next level. If I can go to a school like Notre Dame that allows me to step out as well as score inside and make plays passing the ball, I’m definitely going to look at that.” Top Stories