Most casual Wildcat hoops fans don’t know much about Zach Peters. They probably know he’s a big man, they might know he transferred from Kansas, and they probably don’t know what his skillset is. For all of those who are wondering, this is what Zach Peters will mean for Arizona.
First and foremost, Peters is another warm body for practices. With the departures of post players Grant Jerrett and Angelo Chol, Arizona suddenly went from uber-deep to paper thin in the post. Before Peters was declared eligible, the Wildcats were relying on a post rotation of Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, and juco transfer Matt Korcheck. Superstar freshman Aaron Gordon will also split time between small forward and power forward, but that’s a far cry from what Arizona could have had with Jerrett and Chol in the mix.
But that’s why Peters is important. He gives Tarczewski and Ashley more competition during practices, and can do wonders to help the scout team replicate taller opponents. And if Korcheck finds the sledding tough at the D-1 level, Peters is a huge insurance policy. If Korcheck goes down with injury or simply doesn’t pan out, Peters saves the Wildcats from a severe lack of bigs.
Peters also is a great shooter. Despite being 6-foot-10, he can hit the midrange shot and has already been called one of Arizona’s best shooters. He’s no Jerrett from the three point line, but a big man that can stretch the floor will be essential in creating room for Tarczewski to exploit his size advantage down low.
At this point, we are still waiting for medical clearance despite Peters being ruled eligible by the NCAA. The big man has battled a history of concussions, and there’s no telling how he will handle physical play.
A word of caution: be patient with Peters. There was a time when he contemplated retiring from basketball altogether, but the young man has made a brave move to chase his dreams. And while Peters has some very usable talent on this Arizona team, we can’t really know what to expect from him.
If Peters can provide quality minutes, though, he might be looked at as one of the biggest additions to the Wildcat family come March.