Sad News: Am leaving Zakai Zeigler sign a resignation and departure from the team earlier today due to..

Tennessee basketball point guard Zakai Zeigler has been named 2023-24 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced on Monday.


The guard is the first Vol to win SEC Defensive Player of the Year since Yves Pons won following the 2019-20 season. Zeigler played a crucial role in helping Tennessee win the SEC regular-season title outright and finish with a 24-7 overall record.


Zeigler led the Vols in steals with 58, picking up 1.9 steals per game while being a consistent menace at point guard for opposing teams. His defensive talents also earned him a place in the top 15 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List in early February.


The 5-foot-9 junior guard ranks in the top 10 in program history for career steals. He has also been named to the SEC All-Defense team all three years of his career, and he was a member of the SEC All-Freshman team.


One of Zeigler’s all-around best games came against Alabama in January. Zeigler scored eight points while adding four rebounds, six assists, and four steals and not turning the ball over.


Following the game, Alabama head coach Nate Oats talked about how difficult it is to prepare for a player like Zeigler.

It’s impossible because you don’t have anybody on your team that plays as hard or is as quick as Zeigler,” Oats said. “So all of a sudden, he’s up in you. You’re not used to it. We tried to tell the guys what it’s going to be like, tried to replicate it. Sometimes you’ve got to experience it, have it happen.”


Zeigler’s impact goes beyond defense


Zeigler has been more than just a defender for the Vols this season. He averages 11.6 points per game, good for third on the team for Tennessee. He also is averaging six assists per game, a mark that is good for first in the SEC.