Name: Brian Zoubek
Weight: 260 lbs
Birth Date: April 16, 1988
Birth Place: Haddonfield, NJ
Drafted: Undrafted out of Duke
Name: Ben Uzoh
Weight: 205 lbs
Birth Date: March 19, 1988
Birth Place: San Antonio, TX
Drafted: Undrafted out of Tulsa
Brian Zoubek has never been much of an offensive force. His highest scoring average at Duke was 5.6 points per game his senior year as a starter in nearly 19 minutes. As he was not expected to contribute on offense, he almost never created his own shot, getting a large percentage of his shots on second-chance attempts off offensive rebounds — a category in which he truly excels. His senior year, Zoubek wrangled 7.7 boards per contest, an astonishing 3.5 of which came on the offensive glass. With so many attempts coming right at the rim, Zoubek shot 64 percent his final season at Duke, but he struggled at the line: he hit just 55 percent of his free-throw attempts while taking about 2 per game. Zoubek is also very effective at setting screens, as his large frame is a powerful deterrent to trailing defenders.
At Tulsa, Ben Uzoh was one of the team’s central scorers and playmakers at point guard. He was either first or second in scoring in all four of his seasons, and he led the team in assists his junior and senior years. Uzoh’s biggest advantage comes from his size and athletic ability. At 6-foot-3, Uzoh is pretty big for a point guard, not to mention his freakish 6-foot-9 wingspan. His height allows him to get jumpshots off over defenders, and he’s pretty solid from three-point range — he hit 35 percent of his long-range attempts his senior year. His leaping ability allows him to get good elevation on drives to the rim.
While Zoubek’s height gives him a nice perk in defending opposing centers one on one, he isn’t particularly outstanding on the defensive end either, unless he’s pulling down rebounds. Zoubek suffers from a lack of athleticism, which renders him virtually useless as a shot blocker in the post — he provided under 1 rejection per game for the Blue Devils his senior season. He is also fairly sluggish and lacks lateral quickness, so he has a tough time staying with guards in the pick-and-roll scenario and often resorts to giving fouls instead of staying in front of the man; he fouled 3.5 times in just 19 per game last season at Duke. Still, he is great on the defensive glass and possesses decent enough vision to make effective outlet passes to guards to get the offense started.
On defense, Uzoh’s skills are again due in large part to his physical gifts. With his height and quickness, Uzoh is equipped to defend opposing point guards. In a bind, he could even slide over and guards 2s. He has decent hands, too, and he registered a steal per game his final year at Tulsa.
In addition to winning an NCAA Championship as a starter for Duke, Zoubek was also notably intelligent. He scored All-ACC Academic Team honors in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons.
Uzoh is the only player in Tulsa’s history to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks during his career.
While Zoubek certainly won’t be the next Tim Duncan, nabbing him as an undrafted free agent and signing him to a partially guaranteed contract is a no-risk proposition. He is a very solid rebounder, and the Nets were absolutely anemic on the boards last year. Should Johan Petro fall victim to injury this season, Zoubek could certainly see backup minutes behind Brook Lopez.
Again, Uzoh was undrafted, so the Nets’ chance on him doesn’t really come with any risks. Should Uzoh claw his way into the rotation (which is unlikely considering the wealth of talent at the two guard spots for the Nets), he can serve as a effort player on defense and contribute with powerful finishes at the basket and the occasional jumper on offense.
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