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Tara Park /Nevada Sagebrush Freshman AJ Cephas (32) holding a basketball after practice on Monday, Nov. 10. Cephas will contribute to the team by low post scoring and shot blocking.

by Stone Harper

TEIGE ZELLER

Zeller has had an interesting road to Reno. She was born in Dubai, but was raised in Los Lunas, New Mexico where she became a basketball standout while playing for her father Marty at Los Lunas High School. There she was a first team all-state performer during her sophomore, junior and senior year. Even though she had offers from Texas Tech, Arizona State and Oregon she decided to come to Nevada.

At 6-foot-2, Zeller will be another big body down in the post to get rebounds. She also has a solid array of post moves and will be used as a scorer in the paint.

Zeller will contribute to the Wolf Pack and has massive expectations for her and the team.

“I definitely expect us to win the conference championship,” Zeller said. “For me, I’m just going to make sure I can contribute whenever I can as a freshman and doing whatever I can to help the team.”

Despite her young age, Zeller is a physically apt teenager, which is something women’s basketball head coach Jane Albright noticed when she recruited Zeller, describing her as being as strong as a junior in college.

MARIAH WILLIAMS

Of all of the freshmen in the group, Williams has the most hype. The website College Sports Madness named Williams their Mountain West Conference preseason freshman of the year. The thing that is more impressive about the honor is that she didn’t play her senior year.

“It was kind of unexpected because I didn’t play my senior year, so it was really a surprise.” Williams said.

Williams is not only the most recognized freshman, she is also the group’s most versatile player. Williams will play this season at point guard and the three guard. She is also a very skilled rebounder, averaging seven a game during her two varsity seasons in high school.

AJ CEPHAS

The last of the three freshman recruits is 6-foot forward AJ Cephas. She will help bring a winning background to Nevada due to her success at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, California, where she won three league titles. In 2014, during her senior season, her team also won the California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section D-1 championship. Cephas hopes to continue her winning ways in college. She looks to bring a MWC championship back to Reno.

Cephas will be counted on to come off the bench and score with her good midrange game. She will also be looked at for rim protection. As a senior in high school, she averaged an incredible 4.5 blocks a game.

Though Cephas has a lot of defensive talent and is good at scoring from midrange, she still has a bit to improve on to make the next step from high school standout to college superstar.

“In high school, she had more success scoring when facing the basket than on the blocks,” Albright said. “She is still learning about the physical nature of the game.”

 

Stone Harper can be reached at sharper@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.