football

Banner proves to be special talent

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Zach Banner is such a unique specimen that his goal of playing basketball and football in college seems like a stretch for most prospects but Banner is far from average.
The 6-foot-9, 310-pound 2012 prospect from Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes excelled at the Fab 48 in Las Vegas and other basketball tournaments this summer months after dominating at football camps in the Pacific Northwest.
Banner's goal is to play at a high level - Pac-10 schools and other major programs are already involved - and play both sports in college.
"That's what he's thinking," Seattle Rotary coach Daryl Hennings said. "He and I have talked about it quite a bit. He's definitely realistic in that it will be a really tough deal to follow through on.
"It would be different if he was a wide receiver or a running back where you're in the same type of shape but when you're a lineman you're in totally different shape for football than you are basketball.
"Like I told him, the basketball coaches will all be fine with it but the football coaches will have a problem with it because they're trying to put 40 pounds on you and the basketball coaches are trying to take it off you. He's very talented in both and if someone could do it, it would be him."
Banner, who already has Cal, Washington, Texas, UCLA, Arizona State, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon and others on his list, has improved dramatically in recent months and Hennings said he definitely saw a difference on the circuit this summer.
What stands out most about Banner is his size but Hennings said Banner's motor is unrelenting. Hennings coached former five-star Josh Smith and said although Smith is talented and explosive that Banner has the better motor. His upside in both sports is off the charts.
"Zach always has the right attitude in everything he does," Hennings said. "He goes all out, he's a hard worker, he's professional in that he's just that way as a person. He is a 4.0 student, he's the class president, he's in all kinds of leadership boards at school. That's how he is as a person.
"I was impressed at how much he's improved and his conditioning. He's been working out with a personal trainer and that's helped out a lot. He really prepared himself this summer to be ready for finishing his shots. He's not an explosive-type guy and he knows that so he's worked on catching the ball and getting it up and keeping it on the glass. He's done a great job.
"He just has a motor. I coached Josh Smith and it was incomparable. Josh didn't have a motor like that. Josh is explosive and very talented in his own right but Zach has a motor that's unreal."
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