Everything is retro nowadays. Jerseys. Cars. Music. You name it, it’s probably old school. So when sophomore Brian Zoubeck showed off his on-court old school moves at the Eddie Griffin Challenge in Philadelphia last weekend, people began to take notice.
The 7-foot, 230 pound center from Haddonfield Memorial HS (NJ) is a rarity in today’s basketball world. He’s a true center that plays in the paint, unlike the new hybrid forward of today’s game that exists on the wing.
"He’s the old style of player that coaches love," Haddonfield Memorial head coach Paul Wiedeman said. "The biggest thing they like about Brian is his footwork. At his age level, he is so far advanced. He has a nice drop step move to either side, he can set up down low using his body, he does everything so well. His understanding of the game is far beyond the kids his age."
Zoubek won MVP honors of the event for the class of 2006 kids. Wiedeman said his phone started ringing early Monday about his rising center.
"Every level is inquiring about him. He played pretty well at the Nike camp this summer and since then, he’s been the topic of interest for several teams," Wiedeman said. "I’ve already received five or six phone calls (on Monday) about him. I guess word got out on his game this weekend."
Wiedemen said Zoubek has received interest from several schools from the ACC (mainly Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia), Big East (Virginia Tech) and Big Ten (various schools).
Zoubek’s father, who stands 6-foot-5, played football at Princeton and his mother, who is 6-foot-4, have made school a tall order for the entire family. Zoubek’s sister is a senior basketball player and every Ivy League school is looking her at.
Haddonfield Memorial returns five starters back (three seniors and two juniors) and Zoubeck came of the bench last season. But this year should be a little different with Zoubeck’s continual improvement.
"Brian has taken his game to another level over the summer – which was evident this weekend. He won’t be responsible for scoring this year but we’ll need him to rebound and block shots. He is definitely a viable option for us on offense and the way he’s been playing, he could become one of our better scorers," Wiedeman said.
The class of 2006 has a handful of very skilled big men already. Zoubek is potentially a top 15 player nationally along the likes of manchild Greg Oden, fellow NJ player Derrick Caracter, active Vernon Macklin as well as Curtis Kelly, a 6-foot-9 PF/C from the famed Rice HS in Manhattan (NY) and Mitchell Carter, a 6-foot-11 center from Milwaukee. Brandan Wright, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Brentwood HS in Nashville and Darrell Arthur, a 6-foot-9 center from Dallas, TX are also two other big time prospects that fill up the paint.