Hoopster Zakai Zeigler of Wyandanch earns All-Defensive and All-Freshman honors at Tennessee


Long Islander Zakai Zeigler’s huge impact as Tennessee basketball’s sixth man this season did not go unnoticed.

The freshman guard from Wyandanch has been named to the Southeast Conference’s All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams after a stellar regular season with the Vols. The announcement came ahead of No. 9 Tennessee’s SEC tournament quarterfinal game tomorrow night, scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m.

An energizing force off the bench, Zeigler, with 40 steals in 18 conference games, finished the regular season one steal short of the SEC lead. He is the first Tennessee freshman to earn All-Defensive Team honors.

Zeigler averaged 10.1 points per game in conference play — scoring in double figures nine times.

It’s been a magical seven months for Zeigler, who didn’t receive an offer to play at Tennessee until late last summer. He nearly went to prep school this year, instead of playing at a smaller college program.

Zeigler in high school commuted four hours daily on Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit trains to attend class and play basketball for Immaculate Conception in Montclair, New Jersey.

Tennessee (23-7) plays the winner of tonight’s tournament game between South Carolina and Mississippi State.

Top photo: Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler (5) defends against Kentucky guard TyTy Washington Jr. (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

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