Prospect Spotlight: Leland Zender (2021)

Grassroots
Washington

Posted On: 05/31/18 10:25 AM

The goals for this spring and summer are simple for Squalicum’s 6-foot-6 combo-forward Leland Zender: get bigger, and get better.

Zender is tall, but thin, and after playing some with the varsity as a freshman, he got a good glimpse at how much stronger he’ll need to be to compete at that level the next three seasons.

“This summer I plan to gain weight. I am a tall, but skinny freshman, and I plan to gain muscle and athleticism,” Zender said.

“Right now, my strengths are that I’m a really good shooter from anywhere on the court, and I am getting better at driving to the basket.”

As a freshman with the Storm, Zender was playing both with the JV, as a standout, and with the varsity, as a role player.

“My freshman season I was decent. I swung between varsity and JV and my coach rarely played me on varsity,” said Zender. “But I led the JV team in points and rebounds all year, even though I only played three quarters with them all year.”

He’ll prepare for his sophomore season, where he’ll undoubtedly have a bigger role, while he plays with Washington Elite 15U this spring and summer. 

Washington Elite coach, Anthony Slater, has been a big reason why Zender is enjoying his spring and thriving. “His journey through basketball has been both inspiring and amazing,” said Zender.

“The traveling with Washington Elite, and the competition is very different than to what I am used to,” he said. “I feel that I’m getting better every tournament and every training session I do, so I am enjoying myself a lot.”

With the dog days of summer quickly approaching, Zender has a well-thought out plan to make himself a bigger and more athletic stretch-four.

“My goals for this summer are to get my vertical, weight, strength, and athleticism up by a lot. I look forward to working out with college athletes, and playing basketball with them,” said Zender. “But I mostly look forward to start to lift weights with my dad, who says he knows exactly what I need to lift to be big and strong.”