Zachary Cleveland’s high school basketball career came to a close on March 4th in a loss against Quincy High School. Cleveland’s high school, Normal Community, varsity men’s basketball team finished 33-2 for the season and 9-1 in league play. The Ironmen earned themselves the regular-season conference championship due to their record. Maxpreps ranked Normal Community fourth in the state of Illinois.
Cleveland is a three-star Flames commit from Normal, Illinois. The Illinois native is 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 205 pounds. Zachary committed to Liberty on June 20th, 2021 following a visit to campus. Cleveland’s individual stats are not available online, but he reported an average of 14.3 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game. Notably, he shot 50.8 percent from the field this season. That is encouraging, as the Flames could use some sharp shooting from the forward position.
Cleveland signed with Liberty in November over offers from Western Carolina, Belmont, Illinois State, Southeast Missouri State, and SIUE. The class of 2022 prospect averaged 21.0 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game during his junior season. During his sophomore campaign, Cleveland averaged 15.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 46.6% from the field. His performance helped him be named first-team Pantagraph All-Area boys team while he helped his school finish 23-11.
Cleveland’s highlights show his fluid athleticism. He has formidable handles for a taller forward and can make the right read on offense. He has obviously spent time fine-tuning his game because he has coordination and technical footwork in the post, as well as touch. Zachary can shoot (reflected in his percentage) but doesn’t seem to be shot happy. He seems to hunt the right shot and plays within the offensive system.
Unfortunately, Normal Community suffered a first-round exit from the Illinois Class 4A tournament. Like Southerland, Cleveland will be arriving on campus ready to start winning.