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Courting Trey Zeigler: Perception Seems To Be Everything

Trey Zeigler will be heading elsewhere since Central Michigan decided it didn't need the services of his father any longer.

Some of his teammates, most notably Austin McBroom, will likely be joining him in other uniforms as well.

But Zeigler is the prized "get," the player who turned down the bigger schools to play for his dad. One of the spurned schools was Michigan State and over at SBNation's The Only Colors, there is a discussion about the chances for the guard to end up in green and white in 2013.

Things are a long way from being settled in the matter, but the most interesting part of the discussion is that the fans there don't seem to want him.

From the comments, you would thing they were battling over being forced to take the fat kid as the last pick for a playground game.

He can't shoot free throws. He has no pro potential and is therefore worthless to the Spartans. God forbid we have to take his father on too.

No Zeigler isn't the best free throw shooter in the world, and maybe he has limited pro potential. But when did pro prospects define who is worth recruiting in college? If it did, there wouldn't be undersized players such as D.J. Cooper running up and down the court. There wouldn't be role players on a number of teams. How soon the Spartan fans forget that some of their best contributors never amounted to much in the NBA.

And before you poo-poo taking Ernie on staff, you might want to remember how he helped build strong contenders at Pittsburgh and UCLA, before assembling two division winners in the MAC.

But perception is everything, and most people are just going to see the end results when evaluating the prospects of Zeigler in another uniform. It doesn't help that Central Michigan won just 21 games over the past two seasons. It doesn't help that even those two MAC division titles came on teams that finished at .500 or worse, and played in the easier of the two sides of the conference.

No, there isn't a lot going for Zeigler on face value.

But I have never been one to stop at face value. It is why I developed my computer rankings, and it is why I started messing around with the HOOPWAR stat.

Thanks to the latter, Zeigler is most definitely not someone that any team should just shrug their shoulders at.

Trey finished among the top five most valuable players in the conference at the conclusion of the regular season, and arguably had to carry his team more than almost any other player in the league.

Of the 12 teams in the MAC, only three had less than two players among the top 30 in the conference: Northern Illinois, Miami and Central Michigan.

Julian Mavunga had almost no help, which helps to explain his numbers and the worth to his team. Abdel Nader was the top Northern Illinois player, and he almost finished out of the top 30 himself.

And then you had Zeigler, whose best help came from Austin McBroom, which wasn't really that much help.

In terms of defense, Zeigler was also among the top 10 players as evaluated by that portion of the HOOPWAR stat. His ability to grab rebounds being the biggest factor in that. While on the floor, Zeigler had an estimated 17.0 percent of the available defensive rebounds, and 12.2 percent of all rebounds. That ability in a guard -- even one that struggles at the free throw line -- is invaluable.

His effective shooting percentage, which weights 3-pointers higher, was good enough for 8th in the MAC. Plus Zeigler made strides in shooting the ball overall since his freshman season, and hanging on to it, lowering his turnover rate by a little more than 1.5 percent.

On the surface, there are issues, such as Zeigler's singular ability to win games, or his 50 percent free throw rate. But those things negate the actual value of a player of Zeigler's talents.

Perhaps the fans at Michigan State might want to think a little longer.