Ranked 34th in the country in Scout.com's rankings for the class of 2010, his ranking alone suggests that there are plenty of basketball minds that think highly of him. The son of Central Michigan coach Ernie Zeigler, there are few players in his class who are as prepared for recruiting, working hard and playing on the college level.
Now, everybody knows the stereotype of kids whose fathers coach ball. Whether it's high school, college or pros, kids whose fathers teach the game are almost always described as guys with high basketball IQs. Certainly, that has been the case with Zeigler.
Really, throw out the son of a coach stuff, and it's fair to describe Zeigler as a skilled and smart off-guard. Of course, he can shoot the ball. He can also create space to generate his own offense off the bounce. Alert and aware of where he is on the floor at all times, Zeigler makes good decisions with the ball and does a little bit of everything from the wing.
While he isn't exactly a hulk, Zeigler understands how to play strong. He knows how to use his shoulders, but more impressively he knows how to play very physically without being caught. For instance, if a defender gets up too tight on him away from the ball, Zeigler puts both hands up high, creates contact with his mid-section and walks defenders out of position. Because of the way he throws his hands up like he's surrendering to good defense, people miss how much contact he creates down low and how he uses that to gain leverage. A half-foot here and there means a lot, and veteran moves like these really benefit him.
Another impressive thing about Zeigler is the way he is economical in his movement. While he isn't glued to the floor, he's not a guy that's going to be confused for a high flyer either. But, he's quick and decisive and uses advanced footwork. You don't really want to catch the ball with your back to the basket when you're 20 feet away.
When and if he gets into those situations, the way he uses his leg closest to the sideline, reverse pivots, faces and makes a quick decision is impressive. There's more to going both right and left to score than just dribbling, and his commanding footwork proves that he understands this.
When looking at Zeigler and where he fits in with UCLA, it's tough not to see the matches. Simply from a strengths and weaknesses standpoint, he's a guy who fits UCLA well. He's not Arron Afflalo, but he does play a similar no-nonsense, smart and balanced type of game and scores from inside and outside.
On top of that, few recruits in the country understand UCLA and Howland better than Zeigler does. After all, prior to getting his gig at Central Michigan, his father was an assistant at UCLA under Ben Howland, and at Pittsburgh previous to that. So, not only does he understand the way things are done in Westwood, and how Howland conducts his program and what he expects from his players, he saw it first-hand for an extended period of time.
Lately, most talk regarding Zeigler has indicated that his recruitment could ultimately be a battle between the Bruins and John Beilein's Michigan Wolverines. He's also indicated that he could wait until spring to decide, and we believe it's a very realistic possibility. Whether he ends up in Ann Arbor, Westwood or somewhere else, some program is going to be getting a very solid, if not unspectacular, wing performer.
One-game highlights of Trey Zeigler playing in July in Las Vegas.