Bishop Gorman’s Zimmerman is the next big thing

With less than a week to go in the crucial July evaluation period, Bishop Gorman’s 6-foot-11 Stephen Zimmerman is rated No. 1 for the Class of 2015 by Scout.com and No. 2 by Rivals.com.

He showed why Wednesday night at Bishop Gorman while playing for Belmont Shore against the Mo Williams Elite in a star-studded, up-and-down game that was part of the Las Vegas Fab 48 Tip-Off Challenge.

In a contest that featured two of the top guard prospects in the nation for the Class of 2014 in 6-5 Emmanuel Mudiay (Arlington, Tex. Prime Prep, No. 5 ESPN.com) and 6-7 UConn commit Daniel Hamilton (St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif., No. 17) as well as two more top guard prospects for the Class of 2015 in 6-3 Malik Newman (Jackson, Miss., No. 2) and 6-4 Tyler Dorsey (St. John Bosco, No. 8), Zimmerman was the deciding factor in a 101-93 win for Dinos Trigonis’ Belmont Shore squad.
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Although all four guards more than lived up to the hype – Dorsey finished with a game-high 35 while Newman (32, many on deep 3’s), Mudiay (31) and Hamilton (31) also topped the 30-point mark – Zimmerman gave Belmont Shore a huge edge in the middle in what many called the best summer league game they had seen in years.

Despite rushing over from Rancho High where he just finished a game with Dream Vision in the Adidas Super 64, Zimmerman finished with 21 points, a dozen rebounds, six blocks and one very nifty behind-the-back pass to Dorsey on a fast break (See VIDEO highlights above).

It was the first time I’d seen Zimmerman play against big-time competition and he more than lived up to the hype.
As the highlight package above will show, he did just about everything you could hope for a big man including blocking shots, rebounding, making quick and accurate outlet passes, running the court and scoring both inside with a nice jump-hook and outside with a smooth jumper from mid and 3-point range. He also is athletic enough to go out on the perimeter and guard the pick-and-roll.

Not bad for someone headed into only his junior year. I’ll probably get ripped for this by some out there but Zimmerman reminded me of a left-handed version of a player I grew up in southern California watching play at UCLA – Bill Walton.

One of my favorite highlights in the package above is when a Mo Williams player flops to the floor. Zimmerman calmly gathers himself and drills a 12-footer. (Take a close look and you might notice Larry Brown and John Calipari in the front row under the right basket).

The topper is that those who deal with Zimmerman say he’s a well-grounded gym rat who hasn’t let all the attention go to his head. Bravo.

Last I looked Zimmerman was up close to 30 scholarship offers including UNLV and most of the major national programs.

Las Vegas basketball fans will definitely have a reason to check out Bishop Gorman games the next couple of years.

Check out highlights of four of the nations premier guards – Mudiay, Dorsey, Hamilton and Newman — in the video below.

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