If a fan was to scan the courts at Omaha Sports Academy during the Metro Summer Basketball League searching for an up-and-coming collegiate guard, Isaiah Zierden’s slight frame and youthful face might not slow wandering eyes, but his game most likely would.
The 6-foot-1 Bluejay freshman has showcased the smooth shooting stroke Creighton fans have come to expect after he nearly won a nationally-televised 3-point shootout last spring. What most did not expect to see was Zierden fearlessly attacking the hoop with larger and stronger defenders occupying the lane.
Following his impressive performance last week, he discussed his first weeks in Omaha and his role on the team this upcoming season.
Q: What has your time in Omaha been like so far?
A: It’s been pretty good. The first couple weeks it was a transition from high school to the busyness of college, but it has been good.
Q: Over the summer you don’t get much time with the coaches, but how have you worked to familiarize yourself with the sets?
A: Well, this summer we are actually getting to work with the coaches a little bit, but right now, we haven’t gone through a whole lot, just certain stuff they want me to work on. That has basically been the workouts.
Q: What are you looking forward to most about your first college season?
A: I’m hoping to play and help any way I can. You know, with such a good team, you want to make any impact that you can.
Q: At this point, what do you consider to be your strengths on the court?
A: Shooting, and I’m really good at running pick-and-roll. Those are my two strengths that I’m working on, getting better.
Q: What about weaknesses?
A: Defense, that is one of the biggest ones and dribbling, getting better at that.
Q: What has surprised you most about the transition from high school, to now practicing with guys that have been out of high school for four or five years?
A: You think it is physical in high school, and then you get here and its like “Oh my god,” you don’t know what you got yourself into. It is a lot more physical than you would think, and a lot more competitive.
Q: What might surprise people about your game? It seems like you’re labeled as a 3-point shooter, but you’ve shown an ability to get to the hole.
A: I think that’s going to surprise some people. I’ve been working a lot this summer with the coaches on beating people off the dribble, so I think that will surprise some people.
Q: Are you expecting to play a combo-guard role?
A: Yeah, I am obviously going to do whatever I can to help.
You can catch the Metro Summer Basketball League on Tuesday and Thursday this week at the Omaha Sports Academy.
— Vinny Benedetto, World-Herald Staff Writer