Freshman builds fundamentals for future

Cale Zuiker was the all-time 3-point shooter when he graduated from high school in Marshfield, Wis.

As one of the newest members of the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team, he’s now working to become stronger and faster.

The 6-foot-9, 190-pound freshman was a three-year letter winner at Marshfield High School. He was a two-time first-team all-conference selection and named all-state by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. He set the school’s record for career 3-point shots with 123 in 65 games.

“I pride myself on shooting the ball from outside and also being kind of a versatile player, being able to go inside and outside,” Zuiker said.

Head men’s basketball coach Jerry Slocum said Zuiker has huge potential and is probably the team’s best 3-point shooter. During high school, Zuiker’s talent flourished, but Slocum said he still has a lot of work to do.

Zuiker said he has noticed improvement on his overall game since the beginning of the season and looks forward to making his impact on the team. He said the biggest challenge so far has been acclimating himself to the new level of play.

“He has the ability to spread the floor,” Slocum said. “He is a guy that needs to get stronger and a little more comfortable in Division I basketball, but I believe he has a great basketball future for us.”  

While developing his game, Zuiker has learned the importance of working together from his teammates. He said he hopes to get on the floor this season.

For now, Zuiker’s talents and size will help ready the starting five during practices. By the end of his senior year, though, he hopes to make an NCAA tournament run.

“It’s all about team chemistry and team unity,” Zuiker said. “You can’t be out there for yourself. No one on our team is out there for themselves. We’re all about our team and getting wins.”

Slocum said he hopes to see Zuiker contributing during games by mid-season.

However, he said Zuiker must be calmer in game-time situations. Slocum and Zuiker said playing time and hitting a few shots would help his game.

“He works hard during practice and makes other guys better, but I can’t emphasize enough where we think he is going to be for us,” Slocum said. “He is a major part of our future, and he needs to have a good year where he works hard and has a good attitude about the learning process.”

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