Knoch's Zanella shows improvement after summer basketball training
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Matt Zanella was the sixth man for the Knoch basketball team last season, but the incoming junior forward is pushing for a spot in the starting lineup.
Coaches at the Keystone State Invitational Basketball camp last month took notice of Zanella's offseason progression.
In his second appearance at the four-day camp, Zanella won the Best Inside Player award and was named an all-star.
It appears he is just warming up.
“At summer league, the other coaches and I have been very impressed with him,” Knoch coach Ron McNabb said. “Once he expands his game, he will be the total package.”
The Keystone State camp has become an annual event at Slippery Rock and is designed to showcase talent throughout Western Pennsylvania.
“I heard about it through my AAU team,” Zanella said. “I heard there were going to be scouts there.”
The 6-foot-4 Zanella gave the Knights an immediate spark off the bench last season, averaging 10 points per game.
McNabb said he is developing into an instant scorer.
While he wants to improve his perimeter game, Zanella is getting more comfortable on the low block as a throwback post player.
“Just look in the NBA and in college, the forwards there play more face-up,” Zanella said.
“You have a real advantage when you can put your back to the basket and score with a hook shot.”
Said McNabb: “You don't see the back to the basket that often; I think that's why it works.”
Knoch finished 12-12 last season and lost in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs to eventual runner-up Chartiers Valley. In the preliminary round, the Knights posted their first playoff win since 2006 after topping Mt. Pleasant, 52-40.
With Zanella and several other key players back, good things could lie ahead for the team this winter.
“The farther we go, the better chance Matt has at becoming a household name,” McNabb said.
He'll settle for quality minutes.
“I'm just looking for a way to get on the floor. I want to help this team any way I can,” said Zanella, who switched from No. 42 to 13 last season to wear Wilt Chamberlain's old number.
Zanella also hopes to mentor some of the younger players at Knoch, so they can follow a similar path to his.
“I'd love to teach them everything Coach McNabb has taught me,” he said.
C.J. Biedka is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.