Zylan Cheatham is a 6-foot-8, 205-pound junior SF who attends Westwind Prep Academy. Zylan has all the physical tools to play at the next level or maybe even the NBA. He is one of those rare, true point-forwards who can handle the ball and facilitate with the best guards in the state. His speed, athleticism (won the ARIZONAPREPS DUNK CONTEST) and defensive prowess make him one of the most unique and sought after prospects in the state, as Cheatham probably has the most upside for the future of anyone in the state. Once his skill level catches up to his athleticism, the sky’s the limit.
Here is a recent conversation he had with Arizona Preps (AP) ...
AP: Tell me about your family.
Zylan: I live with my mom. My dad is still in the picture, but I live with just my mom. They are very supportive and they want me to be the best that I can be.
AP: Why did you start playing basketball?
Zylan: Not sure how it started, but I tried out for my 6th grade team and I didn’t make it. Then in 7th grade I made the team, but I didn’t get much minutes and 8th grade I put the time in the gym and I fell in love with basketball. Then I also got a big growth spurt from my 8th grade to freshman year, when I shot up to 6-4.
AP: When was your 1st dunk ever?
Zylan: 7th grade summer I dunked in a game. I just went up and dunked it on a fast break and it rattled in.
AP: When was the first time you knew you were good?
Zylan: My freshman year when I got moved up to varsity that was a big confidence booster for me at St. Mary’s HS, and the team was stacked that year.
AP: What would be a weakness you want to improve before you play college?
Zylan: I struggle shooting sometimes. It’s more of a confidence thing and I still want to tighten up my handle. I can improve everything though, but those are the key things.
AP: Tell me about your recruiting process? Is it stressful, fun, do you like the attention or is it something you have to go through?
Zylan: My personality is that I strive for attention and I like the attention, but, at the same time, it gets a little annoying. My phone is always blowing up and having half-hour conversations about the same things, but you can only go through this recruiting process once, so I want to make the best of it.
AP: What colleges have given you official offers?
Zylan: ASU, NAU, Utah, Southern Utah, Utah State, Colorado, Colorado State, New Mexico, Oregon State and Memphis just offered me the other day.
AP: What are the colleges that have high interest in you?
Zylan: Gonzaga and Cal.
AP: What do you think it will take to choose a college? Do location, coaching staff, playing time, academics, or comfort level have something to do with picking a college?
Zylan: My main thing is go somewhere where I can play and develop as a player and get a good education. East coast/west coast plays a little bit of a factor, but that’s not the main thing. If there is a good school and that’s my fit, I’m going to go to that school regardless of where it’s located.
AP: Do you want to be more West coast?
Zylan: I’m kind of a momma’s boy, but I feel I’ll be all right.
AP: If you are not playing basketball, what are you doing?
Zylan: I’m usually probably studying, being around my friends, going to eat or chilling with my girlfriend.
AP: What is your ultimate goal for your team?
Zylan: I want to compete and, of course, I want to win, but I want everyone on the team to get scholarships. I don’t want this to be the end of any of my teammates' careers of basketball. I just want everyone to develop and get better.
AP: What about your own personal goal?
Zylan: I want to see how good I can become. I have God-given abilities. I still want to develop a jump shot and see how far I can go with this sport.
AP: If you have 1 hour by yourself in a gym, what do you do?
Zylan: I probably do a lot of ball-handling, free throws, off-the-dribble jumpers and get up and down on the court. A majority of it will be skill work stuff, like ball handling and free throws.
AP: Can you see yourself actually being a PG?
Zylan: I actually could because I like dribbling the ball up the court, controlling it and having the responsibility of getting everyone involved and keeping everyone happy. I would like to be a PG.
AP: Knowing what you know now, what would you change, if anything at all, if you could start HS basketball over again?
Zylan: I would of taken it (basketball) more serious. I would of worked harder from the start. I didn’t think this was going to happen. I probably would have said I wanted to be a football player or something like that. I didn’t know what I was going to become, so I would of tried more. I would of put in more work.
AP: Anything you want to add to Arizona Preps?
Zylan: Arizona Preps is the place to be if you want to know about Arizona basketball.