Zylan Cheatham (Scout.com)
Dawgman.com caught up with Zylan Cheatham, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward from Westwind Academy in Phoenix, and Cheatham was one of the 10,000 to watch Washington's first Alumni Game, held Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena. Cheatham talked about the game, his unofficial visit, and where he stands with recruiting. He was recently ranked as the No. 62 player for Scout.com's class of 2014.
"I'm actually in New Jersey now," Cheatham said. "I was invited to go to Amare Stoudemire's Big Man Camp, so I'm out here working with them and learning some new things. It's been an adjustment. As you know I'm not a natural big by any means. I don't have the size that a lot of these guys have so it's tough banging down low. But I'm learning and getting better. I won't back down from the challenge."
Cheatham said Elijah Thomas a 6-9, 250-pound 2015 center from Texas is probably the biggest player he's faced so far. "These guys are way bigger than me," he said with a chuckle. "It's a great experience. I'm hanging out with college guys, NBA guys…hotel, food…everything's good. It's a learning experience for me."
For those interested in who is participating in the Big Man camp, click HERE for the high school roster and HERE for the college roster.
The first thing you notice about Cheatham when you see him in person is his haircut. "It's called the Juice," he said. "I didn't really name it myself, but the name of it is the Juice. This particular style I haven't seen many people with, but it actually comes from an old school movie with TuPac called 'Juice'. He had this haircut, but it was a lot different…but the original style comes from that. But my style is a little unique from that."
Cheatham recapped his unofficial visit to Washington this weekend. "The visit was great," he said. "Everyone was great, it was a great experience. There's a lot of experienced guys there and guys that have experienced what I want to experience in my near future here. It was a great learning experience for me…coach Romar is one of the best. T.J. (Otzelberger), all the guys - they are great guys. The campus is beautiful.
"What stood out to me was…I talked to Romar before the Alumni game and he told me he was basically hoping to get 5,000 and as you've seen there there was a lot more than 5,000 there. They just sold the place out and there was great fan support."
Romar's on-court game was given the Zylan Cheatham full-on critique. "I saw…before that I think he must have had a hidden camera watching me work out or something because his shot looked a lot like mine," he said, laughing. "He played really good. You can see an experienced game from him…there's not a lot of wasted movement, very solid moves. And he has a nice shot also. Everything he did it was with a purpose; that's kind of the difference between new school and old school."
Cheatham was caught off-guard by the city of Seattle. "I was actually expecting kind of a ghost town type of thing…I didn't know it was a big, big city like that," he said. "I didn't know there were so many beautiful sights, like the lake (Washington). It surprised me."
Is Cheatham in the process of narrowing down his list of top schools? "I should be," he said. "My dates are probably still the same but my opinion on Washington changed a lot. Like I said, I thought it was a lot different than that…I didn't expect to see that many fans. I didn't expect things like that. I also didn't expect the coach (Romar) to play in a game like that. He played pretty good! My opinion has changed."
Cheatham has some big offers from schools like Washington, Arizona State, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and USC, but has no leader at this point in the recruiting process. "There are some schools that I've visited, but I'm completely wide open at this point. I haven't narrowed anything down or cut anyone.
"I'm going to go through this last viewing here and then start narrowing my list down, taking some visits and making some decisions."