Creighton walk-on recruit Nic Zeil was sitting in the stands for a Creighton game as a high school freshman when he found himself seriously pondering the possibility of playing at college basketball’s top level.

That idea stuck with him. Soon it became a goal. And he never fully relinquished it, even after signing with Division II Truman State last November.

So that’s why Zeil made his way to Omaha for a recruiting visit early this week. He stepped inside the facilities, met a few CU players and walked around campus. His mind was made up almost immediately.

“I’d just felt like I needed to try Division I,” Zeil said by phone Tuesday. “It’s always been a dream to go up and play at Creighton, ever since I was a little kid.”

And now Zeil, the 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward, will join the Jays as a walk-on. He’s part of a recruiting class that includes incoming freshman guards Shereef Mitchell and Jalen Windham.

CU learned Tuesday that four-star 2019 prospect Tristan Enaruna, who visited Creighton last month, decided to commit to Kansas.

With Enaruna headed elsewhere and rising senior Martin Krampelj thinking of turning pro, the Jays could have just two scholarship players standing taller than 6-foot-6 on their 2019-20 roster. And one of them — center Jacob Epperson — is expected to spend much of the offseason rehabbing.

So Zeil’s eager to help, and find a role.

“I’ll do whatever I can,” he said. “Whether it’s shooting, or bringing toughness. Whatever I can give in a basketball sense, that’s I want to bring that to the table.”

He had initially planned to bring a similar mentality to Truman State in Kirksville, Missouri, where his brother Tanner will be a redshirt sophomore. But as Zeil progressed through his final year of high school ball, he started considering other options.

Zeil said the Truman State coaches were understanding — they released him from his letter of intent so he could test the recruiting market again. Family members and mentors had his back, too.

Eventually Zeil found a new home.

“I was signed to Truman State, but I just started feeling like this was something I wanted to do — and the Truman State coaches, thankfully, they kind of knew that,” Zeil said. “Everyone supported me.”

He was a first-team all-conference performer at Park Hill High School last season and one of 15 players named to the Missouri team in the Kansas City coaches association’s all-star game in April. Zeil said he’s been working specifically on his jump shot since the spring.

Reporter - Creighton athletics

Jon covers Creighton athletics, the College World Series and more for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @JonNyatawa. Phone: 402-444-6611

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