Austin Westlake has had it's share of high level basketball players come through the pipeline in the last decade. Luke Axtell (Texas/Kansas), Brad Buckman (Texas), Gus Leeper (Arkansas-Little Rock), Cody Doolin (San Francisco) & Nick Foles who is the starting QB for Arizona. Foles also led the City of Austin in rebounding two years straight. As a coincidence, I ran into his Pops, Larry Foles at Starbucks last week and he informed me that Nick may hoop for the Wildcats this coming spring. Also, Matt Zaney (Texas-Pan American) was at Westlake before finishing up at St. Stephen's as was Jake Kocher who(Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) who is now a senior at St. Michael's. And of course, who could forget 7 footer, Chris Mihm (Texas) who went on to play in the NBA with the Lakers/Cavs etc.
So, fast forward to today, on a beautiful day in San Antonio I meet my old friend & basketball comrade Greg Zaney for coffee. For those of you who don't remember Greg, he was instrumental in pushing the Westlake Hoops program and believed in taking the "lily white" Westlake Boys to the Eastside to learn to compete with the black kids and share the game of basketball. This was back in the day (12-15 years ago) when de facto segregation was still par for the course in the Austin hoops world. Greg's an attorney of national repute who defends capital murder cases, and now in the twilight of his career has moved most of his life to California. We hadn't sat down together for about a year and a half, so it was great to catch up.
As you can imagine, the talk turned to hoops and what various kids were doing now. After going through the countless kids who'd played with his son on the Texas D1 Ambassadors, Greg said "Max, sit down for this one, you won't believe it."
But can you guess who the biggest kid at Austin Westlake was, and where is he now? Meet 7'2" Andrew Del Piero of the Louisiana State Tigers. Mr. Zaney had coached Andrew through the years with the Westlake Hoops and he was such a nice kid but he never really came into his own in basketball. In fact, he NEVER played a minute of high school basketball. His forte' was band. He was two time 5A All State in the tuba section. He went on to LSU where he earned his scholarship in the BAND!. At some point, Coach Trent Johnson's staff was alerted to what was likely the world's tallest tuba player walking their hallways.