Pope John's Matt Zignorski Commits to Fordham

Charles CostelloContributor IJuly 16, 2014

Dec 8, 2012; New York, NY, USA;  Tip off for the game between the St. John's Red Storm and Fordham Rams at the MSG Holiday Festival held at Madison Square Garden.  Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Pope John's Matt Zignorski committed to Fordham on Tuesday.

Zignorski, a 6'3" combo guard, will join the Rams for the 2015-16 season.

SNY.tv's Adam Zagoria reported that Zignorski had offers from American, Boston, Bucknell, Monmouth, Penn and Princeton.

Zignorski made his announcement via Twitter:

Extremely honored and blessed to officially announce my commitment Fordham University to pursue my college career! 🏀 #GoRams

— Matt Zignorski (@MattZiggy_31) July 15, 2014

Zignorski told Bleacher Report that his decision boiled down to two things: receiving a great education and reaching his potential as a basketball player.

"I know it's not just a four-year decision," he said about choosing Fordham. "It's got to be a 40-year decision. It's got to set you up for the rest of your life.

"I know Fordham is a great school. You're going to get a great education there."

Like other recruits before him, Zignorski said the coaching staff was a deciding factor.

"I know Coach (Tom) Pecora is going to develop me and make sure I reach my full potential," he said. "Since the first time I talked to Coach Pecora, I felt totally comfortable with him. I felt he was being honest with me at all times. His track record speaks for itself.

"Knowing that I'm going to have a great support system when I'm at that school is really big from a player standpoint."

While his arrival is still a year away, Zignorski is part of a youth movement at Rose Hill. This year, Eric Paschall, Nemanja Zarkovic, Christian Sengfelder, Dekeba Battee-Aston, Zaire Thompson, Antwoine Anderson and Manny Suarez will all make their Fordham debuts.

Looking ahead, Zignorski won't be the only freshman to arrive on campus in 2015. The Rams still have two scholarships available.

When he joins the Rams, he'll add to what's become a very intriguing mix of talent in the backcourt. He'll compete for minutes with Zarkovic, Thompson, Anderson, Jon Severe and Mandell Thomas.

Jason Hasson, his high school coach, told Zagoria that Zignorski made the right choice.

“I think he made a tremendous decision,” Hasson said. “He’s a great student and a great player who continues to get better every day.

“The A-10 is a competitive conference, and with his ability to score and run a team, he’s going to be a valuable player in that league.”

According to The Star-Ledger, Zignorski averaged 11.7 points, 3.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 26 games last season. He connected on 58 three-pointers.

"I have the ability to bring the ball up, run the point, direct an offense, get people shots and distribute the ball," Zignorski said. "But I can also shoot the ball. I can run off screens.

"I'm a very versatile offensive player."

Zignorski said he's excited about joining a Fordham team that he thinks was a lot better than last season's 10-21 record might indicate.

"I know that last year their record didn't speak for how good they were," Zignorski said. "They fought until the very end of the season.

"This is a great basketball team, a great basketball school and a great basketball city. I'm really excited to hopefully be able to contribute."

Before he embarks on his senior year at Pope, and before he steps foot on Fordham's Rose Hill campus, Zignorski is going to take some time to enjoy the moment.

"This is a dream come true," he said. "I've been thinking about this day for a really long time. I'm happy I'm able to share it with my family, friends and coaches.

"Just knowing that all the hard work that I've put in is paying off, and I'm going to be able to take it all to the next level."

Zignorski said he'll try to get to Fordham as much as he can next season to watch the Rams play.

"I'm going to be paying very close attention," he said. "Every chance to come up and see a game or get on campus, I'm going to take full advantage of that."


Unless otherwise noted, quotations in this article were obtained firsthand. 

Charles Costello covers the Fordham Rams for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @CFCostello