Zach Crisler is versatile shooting forward that Penn State could use — and interest is mutual
Zach Crisler, possible PSU recruit
CONSHOHOCKEN – Because Norristown’s Cameron Reddish, a 6-8 high-flyer being called the best wing guard in the country, did not show up for his team’s game at the Donofrio Classic second round on Tuesday night, we turned our attention to more modest prospects.
Reddish has reportedly been visited by John Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski and Jay Wright just within the past week and, understandably, he apparently thought the risk of playing with his Old School Cavaliers was not worth the potential reward. So, the spotlight was open. It was filled by an unlikely source, a 6-8 pop-4 sophomore from North Wales and LaSalle College High named Zach Crisler.
Without either Reddish or his Westtown High teammate, Central Dauphin transfer Jake Forrester who is on two rosters and played Monday night for Raw Sports, the Old School Cavs lost a close game to Positive Image at the Conshohocken Community Center.
But they got a big boost from Crisler (pronounced not like the Michigan legend Fritz but with a short i – “CHRIS-ler”). He is a very intriguing prospect, a long, mobile and active 16-year-old with a no fear, lined up for the Class of 2019. He’s a little gangly yet, doesn’t have particularly wide shoulders but should develop a stable base with age and exhibits dexterous hands and a fluid shooting touch.
Very frankly, the first things I watch for in a tall, suburban white kid are: How tough and aggressive is he? Is he willing to mix it up inside? Can he get off the floor? And how comfortable is he in space with the ball?
All of these were answered in the affirmative in the game I saw. Crisler stuck his nose in the war inside, was fairly quick off the floor near the glass and really showed me something when he went hard to the hole against a smaller, quicker guard on a bust-out. I liked what I saw.
“I was about to try and dunk that one,” Crisler said smiling when I mentioned it. “I’ve been working on that a lot, using my foot speed to beat those guys 1-on-1.”
Versatility is the word. Crisler was a freshman quarterback for the 2015 LaSalle College High football team. That coordination is apparent; he looks comfortable both posting and facing and is fluid both delivering and receiving the ball. Once he turns from a colt into a horse and that base stabilizes, look out.
Crisler said he is being followed closely by Penn State and has been in contact with assistant Ross Condon. He has so far been offered by Old Dominion, Iona and Columbia who no doubt are trying to beat the rush.
That gang of suitors certainly will expand. Crisler said he has had extensive contact with staff members from Notre Dame, Temple, Villanova, Richmond and Davidson, among others.
I also liked what I heard. Crisler is a smart and immediately likable kid. You can listen yourself to the interview but Crisler’s family background might slant him toward PSU. His maternal grandfather Herb Raifsnider played behind future NFL All-Pro Rosie Grier as reserve offensive tackle on the 1952 Penn State football team. He and his family are big Penn State fans, football season ticket holders and have attended games for years.
Crisler told me he intends to keep his recruitment open into the fall of his senior year before committing. Of course, the current staff will have to solidify its future next season for Crisler’s potential recruitment to matter, but he’s one to keep an eye on. Here’s his soph-year highlight video, via MaxPreps.com: