At 6-7.5, 215 pounds, Zach Peters has the physical appearance of a player 19 or 20 years old, yet Peters is still 15 and won't turn 16 until the spring. While some may enter a gym with the thought that Peters is a big body, interior player, that couldn't be farther from the truth.
It's the physical appearance plus the advanced skill set that has caught the attention of top college basketball programs from coast to coast. With offers from the likes of Texas, UCLA, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and North Carolina among others, it's no wonder Prestonwood Christian head coach Brad Freeman can't say enough positive things about his star player.
"He's an incredible athlete," Freeman said. "He has great footwork. He sees the floor and does a lot of things you can't coach such as awareness. He works extremely hard on his game. His body, obviously, is well developed and athletically, he's well developed. Sometimes you forget he's a freshman," Freeman added.
Even with the immense talent a frame more impressive than many second year college players, there has been an adjustment to high school basketball. For a player that relishes physical contact as Peters, the transition has included time spent on the bench in foul trouble.
"The biggest thing he's got to improve on is he gets a lot of skills training from college and pro guys and the game is different in high school. He's used to playing very physical and what he has found out at the high school level was a lot of referees aren't going to let him bang and he gets in foul trouble. He's had to adjust and play more of a finesse game at times," Freeman said.
Peters has not only had to adjust to the high school style of play, but also battle back from a back injury sustained playing for the varsity football team as a wide receiver. The long armed combo forward missed the first 15 games of the season due to the minor back injury, but has still managed to average 17.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while playing his way back into form.
On Tuesday night, Prestonwood Christian hosted San Antonio Central Catholic in TAPPS 5A first round action. The Lions won 69-54 to improve to 28-8 on the season and will now face Houston St. Thomas on Saturday morning at 9am in Salado.
After the game, in which Peters scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action, the top ten freshmen in the nation took the time to speak with Burnt Orange Beat about his season.
"I started off hurt as you know," Peters said. "I came back pretty slow from a back injury and only played half of some games for the first ten games I played. It took me a while to get back into it and I'm still getting back as far as my shot. I feel good now though," added Peters.
Since returning to full speed and logging full minutes, Peters has averaged 21 points per game and over 11 rebounds.
On the recruiting front, the Plano resident has a top five in place and recently took a tour down Tobacco Road.
"My top five are Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and OU. Duke and UNC was a great experience. Honestly, I don't think it gets any better than that. It was Georgetown-Duke and Miami-UNC that I got to see. Duke was a lot different than North Carolina as far as atmosphere. It was smaller. UNC was a big stadium and huge crowd. I liked both a lot," Peters said.
Next up for Peters will be a trip to Austin on Saturday for the OU-Texas game. It will be the latest in a handful of trips to Austin for the fleet footed prospect.
"I like the coaches at Texas. Honestly, they've lured me in pretty well. I just like the way they play. Right now they are kind of in a slump, so I hope they get out of that," Peters said.
With so many basketball prospects now making verbal commitments as freshman and sophomores, it's only natural to wonder when Peters will do the same. At this point, there isn't a timetable for making a decision.
"I don't know when I'll decide. I think it will take a while," said Peters who will still make a trip to Illinois to check out the Big 10 program.
On the football field, Peters caught 11 passes for 142 yards and two scores in two games before going down with the back injury. Peters reiterated on Tuesday night that he plans to play football at least one more year.