A steady stream of college coaches has only picked up as Zach Loveday has prepared for his junior season.
Ohio’s top prospect in the class of 2020 is still a long way from deciding where he wants to continue his career or even what he’s looking for in a school, but when he does he won’t be lacking for interest. The 7-foot, four-star prospect has continued to develop his all-around game while consistently meeting with coaches making the trip to Gallipolis Gallia Academy.
“I think he’s handling it well,” Gallia Academy coach Gary Harrison told The Dispatch on Sunday night. “I don’t feel like the pressure’s getting to him. One thing that I’ve noticed in the past two years is he’s more mature as far as talking to the coaches. He can sit down with them, have a great conversation with them and I just think that comes with maturity.”
For the last two weeks, Harrison said, at least one college coach has been in the school’s gym Monday through Thursday. That will continue Monday, when Stanford and Baylor will visit.
Last weekend, Loveday was able to get out of town for a scheduled workout with his shooting coach in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition, his duties as a trombone player in the marching band have helped balance out the demands on Loveday’s time.
But when it comes to preparing for the season, Harrison said Loveday has been all business.
“All the accolades and hoopla he gets, going through our weightlifting and conditioning, he’s the first one every day,” the coach said. “He’s the first one who finishes in sprints. You’d figure a guy like that would take it easy, but he doesn’t. It’s great – especially for a 7-footer. He’s starting to learn now that he can get points by running the floor.”
Loveday continues to develop his all-around game while working on putting on weight. The 7-footer is listed at 200 pounds and has demonstrated the ability to knock down three-pointers, something he did while playing at Ohio State’s team camp in June. Some college coaches view him as a power forward while others as a center, Harrison said.
The weightlifting, too, is evidently paying off – at least in the eyes of Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann.
“Well we’ve been lifting four days a week and conditioning, so he’s getting stronger,” he said. “Coach Holtmann came in, they flew in Wednesday (September 19) and they talked about how much they thought he’s bigger since the last time they saw him with his shirt off. They asked, ‘Coach, what (do) you have him on?’ ”
Ohio State has been among the primary schools recruiting Loveday, and he has made several visits to campus. It’s a list that’s continuing to grow, with Baylor in particular making a strong recent push.
“I know Michigan’s been really inquiring about him,” Harrison said. “They haven’t offered him. West Virginia has not offered him, but they’ve invited him for an unofficial visit for a football game so I look for that to start heating up. Indiana’s starting to heat up. So is Iowa. The school that’s really heating up the most right now is Baylor. They’re really starting to show a lot of interest. I know they offered him. This will be the second time they’ve come back within a week.”
Harrison said it seems likely that the Wolverines and Mountaineers could be preparing to offer Loveday a scholarship.
As Loveday looks ahead, Harrison said he will advise him to weigh a number of factors for making a decision including the education he’ll receive. For now, there’s one thing he’s been noticing.
“I told Zach the other day, when a head coach comes to see you at your school, that means a lot,” he said. “More than when an assistant would. That’s something you have to look at. That means they’re really interested in you. I take that a lot. I know coach Holtmann’s been there a couple times. To me, that means a lot, because I don’t think they do that for just everybody.”