Creighton's latest basketball commitment comes with an upside that could blossom once necessity no longer defines his
Zach Hanson of Pierre, S.D., informed Creighton coaches on Tuesday that he would accept their scholarship offer for the 2013-14 season. He becomes Creighton's third commitment in the class of 2013, joining forward Toby Hegner of Berlin, Wis., and swingman Darian Harris of Springdale, Ark.
Terry Becker, Hanson's coach at Pierre's T.F. Riggs High School, said the 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward has excelled in the role he's been asked to play as a prep player.
“We use him as a back-to-basket player because that allows us to get the most out of him,” Becker said. “But I see a lot of room for expansion in his game. He's a guy that's going to be able to shoot it from the perimeter and get to the basket off the bounce.
“He hasn't displayed a lot of that yet at the high school level because we haven't needed him to, but I'm definitely looking forward to watching him expand his game.”
The Gatorade South Dakota player of the year as a junior, Hanson said he's been able to display his ability to run the floor while playing for the Dakota Schoolers AAU team. He also has been working on his mid-range shooting ability.
“I feel confident that I can score from the elbow on in,” he said. “But I'm also working on becoming a better shooter so that I have the ability to step out and hit that open jumper. Any time you can expand and embellish your game, it's going to help you out.”
Hanson averaged 17.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game last season for the Governors, who finished third in South Dakota's largest class.
“It's been fun to watch Zach add layers to his game,” Becker said. “We threw him into the fire as a freshman post player, and got beat up and beat around at times. But each year he's improved, and I don't see that stopping when he gets to Creighton.”
|BLUEJAYS TODAY ON FACEBOOK|
|Click the image above to join the conversation on the Bluejays Today Facebook page.|
Hanson picked Creighton from among 17 schools he said offered him scholarships. He said he was seriously looking at Nebraska, Gonzaga, Iowa State and Missouri before making his decision.
He committed without visiting any of the other schools. He's participated in team camps at Creighton the past few summers, and he also made an unofficial visit to Omaha last season to watch the Bluejays play.
“I realized that Creighton had all the things that I felt were important to me,” Hanson said. “I liked the coaching staff and the guys on the team, and I could see myself playing with those guys.
“Creighton's fan base is awesome, and I know Creighton is a place where I could go and have success, both athletically and academically. I didn't visit the other schools because I just knew Creighton was the place for me.”
Hanson isn't the first member of his family to experience success on the court. His mother, the former Jane Konz, was inducted into the Northern State University athletic hall of fame in 2007 after finishing her basketball career as the Wolves' all-time leading shot blocker. She also ranked in the top 10 on the school's scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage charts.
Becker credits Jane and Loren Hanson for providing their son with a solid foundation that should lead to future success.
“His parents are great people,” Becker said. “There's no question that Zach is a young man that gets it done academically and is an exceptional basketball player. But the best thing about him is that he's a person of character.
“He really improves the value of the team and is a great teammate. He's a kid with a great heart. Creighton is getting a guy that's the total package.”
The Bluejays have three scholarship to give as they'll lose center Gregory Echenique and guards Grant Gibbs and Josh Jones off this season's team. Although Creighton has received commitments from Hanson, Hegner and Harris, the Bluejay coaches likely will remain active on the recruiting front for the 2013-14 season. All-America forward Doug McDermott is drawing considerable attention as a professional prospect, and there is the possibility that he could leave school after his junior season.
Even if McDermott returns, the Bluejays have the luxury of being able to secure another commitment and then have coach Greg McDermott make his son a walk-on by paying for his school costs. Greg McDermott was prepared to do that this season as Creighton received three commitments for two open scholarships, but Tevin Calhoun's decommitment made the move unnecessary.
Contact the writer: