Guard Zakai Zeigler has been excellent for the Tennessee Volunteers this season and has been recognized for his efforts.
Tennessee needed guard Zakai Zeigler to take another step this season. While he played well last year, the coaching staff expected him to command the offense and play winning basketball on defense.
He's lived up to expectations thus far. Zeigler has been a leader for this team and helped them out of some tough spots. The Volunteers needed someone to step up the past three games with key contributors in and out of the lineup, and Zeigler stepped up.
His contributions have been noticed. The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year committee named him to the watchlist for the prestigious award; Zeigler is one of the quickest defenders in college basketball, playing passing lanes and generating steals at opportune moments.
Head coach Rick Barnes routinely praises Zeigler as one of the best players on the team. They need a level head to lead, especially during SEC play. Outside of a tough game against Kentucky, Tennessee knows exactly what Zeigler gives them each night.
He's one of the shortest players in America at 5-9 but doesn't let his stature get in the way. Zeigler is one of the best guards in the SEC and will be crucial heading down the stretch.