Arizona Basketball: Forward Peters set to start over at UA

2013-05-13T00:00:00Z 2013-05-13T12:29:44Z Arizona Basketball: Forward Peters set to start over at UABruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

After his college basketball career literally began in a haze at Kansas, big man Zach Peters is ready to push the reset button with the Arizona Wildcats.

Peters, a power forward from Plano, Texas, who was sidelined with concussions as a freshman last season, chose the Wildcats quickly after regaining clearance to play basketball this spring. He also considered Texas and Oklahoma before informing UA coach Sean Miller of his decision Saturday, his father, Tim Peters, told the Star on Sunday.

"He's going to do a fresh start in the Pac-12 and committed to coach Miller," Tim Peters said. "He's been very fortunate to play for a great program at Kansas and for a great coach like coach (Bill) Self. We just started talking to schools three weeks ago and Arizona just jumped in there ahead of the pack."

Peters, who was listed as 6 feet 9 inches and 240 pounds by Kansas last season, was highly regarded early in high school before running into injury problems in recent years. By the time he was a senior in 2012, Rivals ranked him No. 137 overall.

Peters did not make the ESPNU Top 100 list in 2012, but analyst Fran Fraschilla posted an optimistic tweet Sunday after Peters committed to the Wildcats.

"Could be a very good role player/banger on team that needs some four-year guys," Fraschilla's Twitter page said.

Peters committed to Kansas as a sophomore but Tim Peters said his son suffered a concussion at a camp in summer 2011, and suffered two concussions within five weeks at Kansas last year. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Peters also suffered a concussion while playing high school football as a senior but Tim Peters said his son was only "banged up" and did not have a concussion.

Peters averaged 5.0 points and 6.3 rebounds during Kansas' exhibition tour in Europe last summer but suffered a final concussion in September and experienced symptoms in the following months.

Tim Peters said his son left Kansas at the end of the fall semester because he had trouble focusing and couldn't get cleared to play, but said that the symptoms subsided after Zach returned home to Texas.

"He told us he couldn't play in a fog and just could not focus," Tim Peters said. "We went to a concussion specialist in January, shut him down and ran extensive tests. They did IQ tests, memory tests, short-term memory, long-term memory and fortunately for Zach, he was in the 78 to 80 percentile for a college freshmen. So once he shut down, everything went exactly the way it's supposed to."

Peters then began playing again in February before beginning to consider transfer options this spring. It was a marked turn from November, when Peters said he would not be playing sports in the near future upon leaving Kansas.

"I want to say thank you to KU, the coaches, staff, teammates and fans that have supported me," Peters was quoted as saying in the Journal-World.

Self indicated at the time that there was doubt about Peters' future in basketball.

"You can pass concussion tests and all that stuff and go back out there and 10 years later have some things happen," Self said on his radio show last fall according to the Journal-World. "Our medical staff is great. They don't think there's anything to the point where there are any (long-term) concerns. … (But) the more frequently you have (concussions), there is a tendency to continue to have them."

Under normal NCAA transfer rules, Peters will not be eligible to play until 2014-15. However, he is expected to seek a waiver for immediate eligibility because of his medical situation.

Tim Peters declined to say if his son would seek a waiver but said Zach "would like to play tomorrow."

It is unclear how many years Peters would have remaining. He did not play in any games for Kansas last season, suggesting he has all four years of eligibility left - but his five-year eligibility "clock" began last year.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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