Q&A with Cincinnati Commit Garrett Zoukis

By Jerry Shank
Maryland Director of Scouting

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Landon Senior Garrett Zoukis committed to the University of Cincinnati in 2014. The talented middle infield prospect was a big reason behind Landon making it to the championship game in the IAC.  He was kind enough to take time out for PBR Maryland and let us all get to know him better. 

Why did you choose UC?

+ I really liked everything about it; academically and the baseball side of it. The campus is awesome and the field is second to none. When I visited, I sat in the dugout and watched a practice and it was very clear that Coach Neal and the rest of the coaching staff shared the belief that they could beat anyone, and that's important to me. Going to a school is already has a tradition of winning is one thing, but having the opportunity to be one of the guys who starts it is something i wanted, and Cincinnati provides me with that and so much more.

What other schools were you considering?

+ Maryland, Penn State, Virginia Tech, College of Charleston

Now that your commitment is over, what are your goals for your senior year?

+ Well my senior year is pretty much over now, but my goal was to win a championship and we managed to do that even it was a little bittersweet (sharing it with Georgetown Prep). I don't set many individual goals for myself as far as numbers go; the one goal that has always been there for me is to play as hard as I can every pitch of every game. I hate losing more than most people but if I walk away from a game on the losing end knowing I left everything I had on the field, I can live with that.

What would you like to get accomplished before you step on campus at Cincinnati?

+ I want a ring! I'll be headed down to Ft. Myers, Florida with North East Baseball for the Memorial Day tournament. Our roster is loaded on paper and I think we have a legitimate shot at bringing home a trophy.

What are you looking forward to the most about UC?

+ In a sort of nostalgic way, I'm looking forward to growing up. Learning how to balance everything on my plate and taking care of things on my own. I've loved every second of high school but I'm ready to take on more. There's also a big sense of community at Cincinnati among students, alumni, etc. and being a part of that will be awesome.

Who did you play for over the summer and what was your most memorable experience?

+ USA Elite. I think my most memorable experience was playing in Jupiter in the World Championship. We faced some studs and had a fair share of our own, so the atmospheres at our games was something I�??ll never forget. Fences lined with 100+ MLB scouts holding clipboards and radar guns was a pretty awesome scene.

Who has been the most influential person over your baseball career and why?

+ My parents have given me every opportunity to succeed and all of my coaches I've had since I started playing have been great but there are two coaches that truly changed me as a person and player. My USA Elite coach, Doug Strange is my favorite to play for hands down. He was in the show for almost 10 years and he just has an ease to him that made the game come easier. Too many coaches complicate the game and he was always simple and honest and I appreciated that more than he'll ever know. Second is one of my high school coaches, Randall Bednar. He and I butted heads a little the first month or so I playing for him, I think because we're very similar. Both really fiery about the game and do things with a lot of passion. After our bumps smoothed out he's become one of the most influential adults I've had the pleasure of knowing. He's an outstanding role model and he will never let the game get too big, he always reminds me that life is bigger than baseball.

Who is your favorite MLB player and why?

+ Right now, Josh Donaldson. Love the way he approaches the game both offensive and defensively. Completely fearless. He's got a swagger about him that not a lot of guys have.

What are you going to bring to Cincinnati as a freshman?

+ No matter what my role is I'll be ready to earn it. I always play hard and I do my best to be a great teammate and leader. Being at the bottom of the chain is rough but it doesn't scare me, I'm excited to show up every day and work with a group of guys with a common goal.

What is your goal by the end of your freshman year?  By the end of your college career?

+ By the end of my freshman year I hope to have made a positive impact on the team. Whether that be as a starter or a guy who doesn't play much, I just want to have a positive presence.
By the end of my college career I hope to be the best athlete and man I can be. Whether that leads me toward a career in baseball after college or not isn't something I can control. But if I end my college career knowing I'm as good as I can be, that's something I can happily hang my hat on.

What is your favorite movie and twitter follow?             

+ Fast & Furious and @JSully12

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