Don’t expect any change in Zakai Zeigler after his new season

When it was time Saturday morning to introduce the Tennessee State men’s basketball team inside the Farragut High School gymnasium, he found the microphone Josiah Jordan James.

The big do-it-all winger went further down the line, introducing his teammates to the annual Hoops for Hope event, where the Vols and Lady Vols participate for the Down Syndrome Awareness Group in East Tennessee.

when he was zaky ziggler Turning to wave to the crowd, James looked around wondering if anyone had seen “the little one.” Eros Plavcik He played alongside, with a large 7-foot center doing everything in his power to hide the 5-foot-9 Ziggler behind him.

James never misses an opportunity to make fun of Ziegler’s size. or lack thereof.

“I have a lot in my arsenal that I didn’t use,” James said. “I’m just waiting for the right place, the right time. But maybe it’s more than 10 or 15.”

Usually, though, Ziegler hits him to the punch.

“Do you know what madness is?” James asked. “He actually has a lot of them. So I stole from him a lot because we do a lot of events together, and we hang out together. So I’m around him a lot. And he’ll joke about himself a lot, so I stole from him a lot.”

However, the impact Ziegler had on the Tennessee basketball program the year he was in Knoxville is no joke.

Kennedy Chandler The star may have been on his solo hiatus with the Vols last season, but Ziggler stole the show.

After a surprising summer stint and a quick enlistment, Ziggler signed with Tennessee in late August of last year, then quickly became one of the biggest surprises in college basketball.

He finished fourth in goalscoring, averaging 8.8 points per game – he is Averaged 10.1 per game in playing SEC He finished second in steals, with an average of 1.7 per game, and third in assists, with an average of 2.7. He was the selection for the SEC All-Freshman and was the first freshman in Tennessee to be assigned to the SEC All-Defensive Team.

More than anything, he was the heart and soul of Vols, sparking the bench as one of the country’s six most effective men, and helping lead his team to 27 victories, the first SEC Championship title in Tennessee since 1979 and a championship no. 3. NCAA Ranked.

“I always look back and say wow,” Ziegler said on Saturday. “I don’t want to say I was expecting it, but man, go from no shows and attendance to the SEC and doing really well, playing really well, always looking at him and saying cool, I’m really in the SEC. (He- She. She did this, she did it. She did things that some men can’t. It feels really good.”

Don’t expect that feeling to change as you enter your second year. It’s the same old feeling zaky ziggler In the backcourt of Tennessee, even if his chance was much greater after Chandler jumped into the NBA.

“(It’s) kind of like first year,” Ziegler said. “I do everything I can do to help the team win. That’s really all I can say.”

He will do so as a veteran Vols bouncer despite being a sophomore, returning alongside Senior Santiago Vescoviwith the state conversion of Indiana Tyrekey key and demanded BJ Edwards Join the mix.

“I have a slightly bigger role with Kennedy leaving, but we still have other guys who can help me and I can help them — Tyreke, BJ, Santi,” Ziegler said. “We all help each other out in practice. Along those lines, I feel it’s the exact same thing as last year. All it takes is to win.”

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James expects more of the same from Ziggler, in building his first debut season. That’s all James has seen since Ziegler arrived on campus.

“It just got better,” James said. “He shoots the ball well. He distributes the ball well. And he became a really good captain, loud and just by coming in day in and day out to get the job done.

“He did a really good job last year as a freshman. But I think his sophomore season, he will just build on what he did last year.”

Ziegler also doesn’t care how he does it.

“I have no problem coming off the bench, at first, being the 10th man on the bench,” he said. “As long as we win. If everyone is happy, I am happy. So there is no different approach.”

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