In July, Zakai Zeigler thought he might need to play prep ball this season. And when he signed on in August to play at Tennessee, coaches expected to redshirt him this season.
But once on campus in Knoxville, the Wyandanch native quickly became an essential part of the Volunteers rotation, particularly on defense.
The 5-foot-9 freshman has been an absolute dynamo for Tennessee, creating havoc for the opposition on defense (he averages just under two steals a game) and generating significant offense (8.8 points per game).
The Volunteers’ fanbase connected quickly with Zeigler, growing increasingly appreciative of his unique blend of talent, grit and charisma. Zeigler played so well in his rookie season that last week he received SEC All-Freshman and All-Defensive honors.
No. 5 Tennessee (26-7) plays Longwood (26-6) in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday at 2:45 p.m. in Indianapolis. The game will air and stream on CBS.
Click here for more information on how to watch Tennessee play Longwood on Thursday.
Below, enjoy a series of photos featuring Zeigler this season at Tennessee. Be sure to click on the numbered boxes to see them all.