Zakai Zeigler of Wyandanch shines for Tennessee in loss to Arkansas


When Zakai Zeigler comes in the game, “good things happen.”

So said ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes on Saturday, as he witnessed the freshman point guard from Wyandanch come off the bench to ignite Tennessee basketball’s offense time and again Saturday during the Vols’ 58-48 road loss to SEC rival Arkansas.

Four days after helping Tennessee stun fourth-ranked Kentucky, Zeigler led No. 11 Tennessee in scoring with 12 points in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Saturday. He made two three-pointers in three attempts and was a perfect six-for-six from the foul line during the nationally televised game.

Arkansas led 24-23 at the half in a defensive battle that remained close until the game’s final minutes. And Zeigler, 19, was right in the thick of it, leading both teams with three steals and continually wreaking havoc while defending the basket.

“He’s a fighter and a competitor,” Sykes, the ESPN analyst, said during the afternoon broadcast.

Zeigler, who commuted four hours a day to play high school ball at Immaculate Conception in Montclair, New Jersey, has averaged 8.7 points and nearly two steals per game. Tennessee (19-6) fell into third place in the powerful SEC.

Top photo: Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler (5) runs a play against Arkansas during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)