Cheatham Begins Official Visits

Zylan Cheatham (Scout.com)

Dawgman.com spoke Thursday afternoon with Zylan Cheatham, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound power forward from the Westwind Academy in Phoenix, and Cheatham was about to board a plane to San Diego for his first official visit. After his trip to San Diego State, Cheatham has visit dates set for New Mexico and UW, with a visit to Arizona State expected.

"I'm expecting to get a really good feel for the campus and what student life is like…just seeing where I would be at if I picked that school, just get an overall feel for everything," Cheatham said when asked about his thoughts on his first official visit. "I'm looking forward to it, getting around coach Fish (Steve Fisher) and see what they have to offer. I'm looking forward to a fun trip."

Cheatham has narrowed down a lengthy list of suitors to four: many experts think it's down to San Diego State and Washington with the Lobos and Sun Devils looking in but Cheatham isn't thinking that far ahead, even though he has three officials already set.

"The 4 official visits I will be taking are San Diego state September 7th, U of Washington September 28th, U of NM October 11th, Asu TBA", Cheatham wrote via Twitter.

But is his list of four really a list of two? "I could see where you could get that from, but right now it's the four schools that I really like out of all the schools that have recruited me," he said. "I wouldn't really put any favorites out right now. I'm looking forward to my official visits and things like that, but at this point it's just four schools.

The process has been a productive one for Cheatham, but not exactly stress-free. "I'm feeling a lot more relief now that I'm not looking at as many schools. At times it can get irritating but at the end of the day I'm glad to have the opportunity and I want to take full advantage of it and take my time to make the right decision."

The Westwind Academy player recently transferred back to South Mountain High School when he found out his junior year classes won't be accepted by the NCAA, and his senior eligibility is up in the air. "I still haven't gotten any word back," he said. "I still have to go take my case before the AIA (Arizona Interscholastic Association). I've already looked into the guidelines and what they expect."

"It's pretty difficult. As far as the classes are going it's not hard. The hard part is that it's already your senior year and you've already taken all these classes and you've passed them, so it's like you're already repeating pretty much everything. It's more irritating than hard. I don't find school to be all that irritating as far as classwork. I'm a pretty good student, but just taking classes that you've passed - I'm taking a class right now that I've passed two times already - this is my third time I'm taking the class."

Cheatham, who uses Twitter frequently to get his take on things, also uses ask.fm to take questions from fans who want to ask him questions or put their opinions on certain schools out there. "It's just for fun," he said of the interaction with fans, while also noting that he keeps the comments in perspective. "Half the time I don't even read the questions all the way through. It's not really a big deal. Fans are fans; they are going to do what they've got to do. They are biased toward whatever school they follow, so of course they are going to talk terrible about everyone else. So I don't pay much attention to it."

He has been paying attention to his game and what he needs to do to show up at a school next year ready to immediately influence the program he chooses this fall. "Actually I have gained between a half-inch and an inch," Cheatham said when asked if he's gotten any bigger this summer. "My head is just grazing the door. I don't feel like I've put in the work that I've needed to. I wouldn't say I've been necessarily overwhelmed, but just had a lot of work…I haven't done the lifting that I normally do, so I'm just trying to get ahead right now and get back on track with my workouts and things like that. I have about 12 months before I can become a college impact freshman."

Zylan Cheatham Scout.com Profile

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