NCB On The Trail: Kevin Zabo

Recruit and return: San Diego State 

March, 28, 2014
In order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at San Diego State and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick references:
2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-15 starters:
PG Aqeel Quinn
SG Matt Shrigley
WF J.J. O'Brien
WF Winston Shepard
C Skylar Spencer

Conference realignment has had lasting implications on every major conference in college basketball, but the group that might have been affected more than anyone else were the mid-major schools.

Annual powerhouses like Xavier, Memphis, Butler, Temple and several others have now been elevated to “high-major” conferences, leaving a void for other mid-major programs to establish their recruiting superiority at their own level.

So after grading the ACC, American, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac 12, and SEC last week, it’s now time to examine the best of the rest. Grading mid-major classes can be subjective, meaning there’s a little bit of a curve in order to account for the fact that recruiting at this level is tougher than ever before given the unprecedented number of competing programs who can now leverage their high-major conference affiliation.

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#AskCoachB: Aztecs have fab class

December, 3, 2013
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

From @Josh_Suchon: @PaulBiancardi What do you think of SDSU's recruiting class -- Fab Five 2.0?

Josh, so good to hear from you! San Diego State's class is outstanding -- in fact, it's ranked No. 14 in our class rankings.

This is the type of class that can leave a real mark on the program if it develops and grows together as a unit. The Aztecs have four bona fide prospects who can help immediately. Power forward Zylan Cheatham (Phoenix/South Mountain) is a defender and shot-blocker. Malik Pope (Elk Grove, Calif./Laguna Creek) has been under the radar on the recruiting trail because of injuries; he would have possibly been in our top 30 if healthy. The prospect that I am most high on is Trey Kell (San Diego/St. Augustine), as he makes shots and plays under control. Point guard Kevin Zabo (Gatineau, Quebec/Brewster Academy) should help maintain the Aztecs' uptempo style of play.

Not Fab Five 5 2.0, but besides Stanford's group, it's the best-assembled class out west in 2014. Plenty of promising years ahead for the Aztecs under Steve Fisher.

Aztecs lock down 2014 class

November, 13, 2013
San Diego State announced the signing of four student-athletes on Wednesday, including three ESPN 100 prospects.

Joining the Aztecs in 2014 will be ESPN 100 SF Malik Pope (Elk Grove, Calif./Laguna Creek), ESPN 100 SG Trey Kell (San Diego/St. Augustine) and ESPN 100 PF Zylan Cheatham (Phoenix/South Mountain) along with three-star PG Kevin Zabo (Gatineau, Que./Brewster Academy).

#AskCoachB: SDSU's 2014 class

October, 15, 2013
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

San Diego State and Steve Fisher have done a tremendous job of identifying talent and zeroing in on players who major programs hesitate on. And sometimes they simply beat out well-known schools for these kids.

SDSU finds players who are on the way up or on the way down. Kevin Zabo has always been a consistent performer on the circuit. At one point, he was highly rated, but his performance leveled off. Now, he is playing well and learning the point guard position while still scoring for Jason Smith at Brewster Academy.

Trey Kell was an outstanding pickup from this summer. I came away impressed by his poise and shooting ability. His size will make him an instant success.

Malik Pope is somewhat of an unknown in terms of productivity, but his upside is obvious because before his injury some thought he was one of the nation's top 20 players. When he gets healthy, he will be a force and will adjust to the philosophy and culture of the program, which will make his transition on the floor easier.

SDSU is high-level basketball, and it knows how to win. One of the reasons why is the Aztecs have the ability to evaluate and read a recruiting situation on who they can and can't get. It is a major strength of Fisher and his staff, and they do it as well as anyone in the country. A talented three-man class with two Top 100 players like this keeps a program on top in any league.

Analysis: Kell a big pickup for Aztecs 

October, 1, 2013
Trey Kell (San Diego/St. Augustine) is yet another example of the notion of "it's not where you start out, it's where you end up."

Kell was a virtual unknown during his junior campaign. Most pundits didn't feel he was a high-major player, let alone a Top 100 player, but we felt differently. And after a scintillating spring and summer, Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Arizona would join San Diego State in the Kell sweepstakes.

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Weekly Commitment Roundup

August, 16, 2013
Nick Babb SG Arlington, Texas/James Martin
HT: 6-4 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 26
Stars: 4

Georgia Tech
Tadric Jackson SG Tifton, Ga./Tift County
HT: 6-2 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 24
Stars: 4

Big Ten
Ohio State
A.J. Harris PG Dayton, Ohio/Dunbar
HT: 5-9 WT: 150
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 15
Stars: 4

Big 12
Oklahoma State
Joe Thomasson SG Dayton, Ohio/State Fair C.C. (juco)
HT: 6-3 WT: 180
Class of 2014

American Athletic
Central Florida
B.J. Taylor PG Orlando, Fla./Boone
HT: 6-2 WT: 177
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 2

Atlantic 10
Rashaan Armstead-Holloway C Elmer, N.J./Arthur P. Schalick
HT: 6-10 WT: 280
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 38
Stars: 3

Wright State
Justin Mitchell SG Fort Wayne, Ind./Wayne
HT: 6-4 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Mountain West
San Diego State
Kevin Zabo PG Gatineau, Que./Brewster Academy
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Postional Rank: 32
Stars: 3

Miami (Ohio)
Roderick Mills SF Cincinnati/St. Xavier
HT: 6-6 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Joe Cooper PG Wilmington, Del./The Tatnall School
HT: 6-1 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 1

Boston University
Cheddi Mosely PG Oceanport, N.J./St. Anthony
HT: 6-0 WT: 160
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 1

Loyola (MD)
Cam Gregory SF Waldorf, Md./St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School
HT: 6-8 WT: 195
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Missouri Valley
Ore Arogundade SG Arlington Heights, Ill./St. Viator
HT: 6-2 WT: 170
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Mid-Eastern Athletic
Norfolk State
Lou Myers SG Philadelphia/Math, Civics and Sciences Charter
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kenny Grant C East Orange, N.J./Hyde School
HT: 6-8 WT: 250
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Bashir Ahmed SF Bronx, N.Y./John F. Kennedy
HT: 6-5 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Oral Roberts
Albert Owens C Cedar Hill, Texas/Trinity Christian
HT: 6-8 WT: 220
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Basketball is a global game, and that was apparent at this past weekend’s Nike Global Challenge. After a spring and summer full of competition with the Nike EYBL circuit, the Nike Skills Academies and the Peach Jam, 40 of the top U.S. high school basketball players were brought together on four regional teams to compete in the invite-only Global Challenge against teams from Canada, Pan-Africa, Brazil and France.

At the conclusion of the eight-team, three-day tournament featuring some of the world’s top young hoops prospects, the USA West team emerged with the championship following a 98-95 victory over USA South. Uncommitted ESPN 100 small forward Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Mater Dei) for the West and Ohio State-bound shooting guard D'Angelo Russell (Louisville, Ky./Montverde Academy) for the South were named co-MVPs of the event for the U.S. contingent. Johnson led all scorers with 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the championship game.

With so much talent from not just the United States but across the world on display for three days, here are five things we learned from the 2013 Nike Global Challenge.

Stanley Johnson
Courtesy of NikeESPN 100 SF Stanley Johnson continued his strong summer with a co-MVP performance at the Global Challenge.
The deepest position in 2014

We are two-thirds of the way through the July recruiting period, but these players have been playing on the travel team circuit since April and it's clear that the wing position -- the shooting guards and small forwards -- has an elite group that scores easy and often.

The Global Challenge only confirmed that thought as the collection of wing talent was elite. It's the deepest position in the 2014 class, and the core players at the top are starting to separate themselves because of their ability to consistently score, play at a high level and win.

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ESPN 60 point guard Kevin Zabo (Gatineau, Que.) will be transferring from Montrose Christian to Brewster Academy following his recently completed sophomore year,'s Adam Finkelstein is reporting.

Zabo will be returning to the New England prep ranks after spending his freshman season at St. Mark’s School where he played with Alex Murphy (Duke), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona) and Nik Stauskas (Michigan).

Zabo’s father, Ndavo Zeph Zabo, spoke with on Tuesday night and was emphatic that this latest move had nothing to do with basketball.

“This was a family decision and basketball was not a concern,” he said. “As parents, we are attached to structured and integrated boarding schools, such as our previous experience at St. Mark’s, that we personally prefer to a school house system.”

Zabo had a highly successful sophomore season at Montrose, holding down the team’s starting point guard position and being instrumental in their run to the semifinals of the ESPNHS NHSI.

“Kevin was in very good hands with legendary Coach Vetter,” Zeph Zabo said. “He was doing pretty well academically, appreciating his teammates, and learning a lot from the coaching staff. He is grateful.”

Now, Zabo will become the latest in a long line of highly talented point guards to run the show for Brewster Academy and head coach Jason Smith, who led the Bobcats to their second National Prep Championship in 2012.

“I’m ecstatic to have Kevin coming to Brewster,” Smith said. “I know he will be a tremendous addition to our school and that our basketball program will be in wonderful hands with him leading us from the point guard position.”

Zabo is currently the 37th ranked prospect and 9th point guard in the national class of 2014. He claims current scholarship offers from West Virginia and George Washington while also attracting interest from as many as 30 different other schools including Georgetown, Connecticut, Florida, Arizona, UCLA, Texas, and numerous others.