Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski will get competition in practice from Kansas transfer Zach Peters (Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports)

Zach Peters hopes health concerns behind him at Arizona

Zach Peters will transfer from Kansas to Arizona for the 2013-14 season

Former Kansas center Zach Peters, who will transfer to Arizona according to an Arizona Daily Star report, is an unknown talent at the collegiate level.

Peters’ only experience with the Jayhawks was during a European tour last summer. He averaged 5 points and 6.3 rebounds. He did not play a minute as a freshman because of health issues. He suffered two concussions during preseason practice drills with Kansas after suffering two concussions as a high school senior.

Peters, a 6-11 and 235-pound center from Plano, Texas, transferred from Kansas at the end of the first semester because he was not medically cleared to play. He transferred to Collins College near Dallas for the spring semester.

His father, Tim Peters, told the Star’s Bruce Pascoe that his son’s health issues, including a rotator cuff injury, have subsided since his return to Texas in December.

“We went to a concussion specialist in January, shut him down and they ran extensive tests,” Tim Peters told Pascoe. “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 what the way its supposed to.”

The younger Peters has dealt with injury concerns dating to his middle-school years.

Peters is a year older than other collegiate sophomores. According to D Magazine in Dallas, Zach Peters repeated the eighth grade after he dislocated his hip in a Jet Ski accident while on a family vacation in Cancun. His parents decided to home-school him and his brother with the help of tutors while he rehabilitated his hip.

D Magazine’s report in 2009 also mentions Peters and his family used the home-school year to travel to different college campuses, including UCLA, USC, Kansas, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas. He committed to Kansas after his sophomore season in high school.

Under NCAA transfer rules, Peters would have to sit until the 2014 spring semester. He can still practice with the Wildcats and be a good test for Kaleb Tarczewski and junior college transfer Matt Korcheck in workouts. He would be eligible by when the Pac-12 season starts, providing Arizona coach Sean Miller with added depth at the post.

Despite suffering four concussions in the last two years, and missing all of last season, Peters is considered a talent. He chose to transfer to Arizona instead of joining Lon Kruger’s team at Oklahoma and Rick Barnes’ program at Texas.

Kansas coach Bill Self thought highly of Peters coming out of high school.

“He’s big and rugged,” Self said in a Kansas press release. “We can play him to where he’s big enough to defend the five (post) or skilled enough to play in at the four (power forward).

“Guys that can really shoot are usually great passers. I think he will be that. He’s going to be a guy that can do a lot of things. We know he’s a big guy that can stretch it but he likes to hit you and certainly contact and physical play will not be an issue with him early in his career.”

Peters averaged 15.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in 2010-11 in guiding Prestonwood to a state runner-up finish in TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools).

If Tarczewski continues to improve the level of his performance he may entertain the idea of entering the NBA draft after next season. After Grant Jerrett left the program for the same reason following this season, anything is possible.

Having Peters on the roster will help Miller solidify the post position if Tarczewski is gone after next season. If Tarczewski is around for his junior season, he and Peters would only be stronger and more experienced.

Miller has lost five players as transfers, the latest being Angelo Chol to San Diego State. He has also lost Jerrett and Kyryl Natyazhko prematurely because of pro aspirations.

He also has brought in three players from other programs — Mark Lyons from Xavier, T.J. McConnell from Duquesne and now Peters — to fill holes in his lineup.

Miller has proven to make the adjustments necessary to keep Arizona competitive not just for next season but for a few after that.

Javier Morales, a former Arizona Press Club award winner, is the editor, publisher and writer for WILDABOUTAZCATS.net. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

Tags: Kaleb Tarczewski Sean Miller T.J. McConnell Zach Peters

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