Posted On: 11/29/18 5:00 PM

***Photo Credit: Steve Muscatello/The Journal***

New Ulm Cathedral won 22 games a season ago and should be one of the best teams in the Tomahawk Conference this winter. Jon Zinniel entering his upperclass years is certainly a cause for excitement in the program.

Zinniel, a 6-foot-6 junior, averaged 15 points, six rebounds and more than three blocks per game as a sophomore for the 22-win Greyhounds and figures to be one of the best players in the conference and section this winter.

Zinnel played AAU with D1 Rise and showed a lot of promise on both ends of the floor.

“That was a great experience,” Zinniel said of the AAU season. “It was nice because I hadn’t played the year before. It’s great to be able to play year round. Coming from a small school, going up and playing against metro kids is a great experience and thing to learn from.”

Zinniel is a matchup problem for a lot of teams in the area because at 6-foot-6, he’s got advanced perimeter skills. He’s a very good outside shooter and handles the ball like a much smaller player. He’s got a good inside game and that’s something he’s continuing to develop as he hopes to punish smaller defenders as well.

“I think I stretch the floor well for a big guy,” said Zinniel. “I handle the ball well and I’m working on getting better at both of those things. That will make me hard to guard. I want to get better as a rebounder and communicator.”

Heading into his junior year, Zinniel has shown he’s got a lot of potential to play at the next level.

“I’d love to play basketball in college,” Zinniel said. “I’ve been talking to Bemidji State and am planning on taking a visit at some point over the winter.”

New Ulm Cathedral returns three starters and two top bench guys from last season, so expectations are high. Zinniel will be a real focal point in the effort to live up to those goals.

“I like what we have coming back,” Zinniel said. “We have a lot of guys that work hard and plenty of guys that will help out the team. We did stuff in the summer, had an alumni scrimmage last Friday and we’ll scrimmage Mankato West before the year starts too. So we’ll have a decent idea of where we’re at before the season actually starts. Three starters, two rotation guys. I think we can go as far as we want to go as long as we work hard and grow together.”