This season’s NBA Finals series hosts at least one SUNY alumnus on the court–except he’s not scoring baskets.
After 11 years of being an NBA official, a former men’s basketball student-athlete earned the most prestigious assignment in the sport: working the NBA Finals.
Zach Zarba, who played for SUNY New Paltz, worked Tuesday night’s game three of the 2014 NBA Finals between the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. He worked alongside 21st-year official Monty McCutchen and 19th-year official Tony Brothers.
“Working the finals and being able to share that with the people who helped you get there was the best part,” Zach said. He notes that nearly half of his family and friends in the photo to the right also attended SUNY New Paltz.
This marks the second first for Zach during this year’s NBA Playoffs, as he worked the first conference final contests of his career. He officiated game three of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers and worked game six of the Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Prior to his experience as an NBA official, Zach officiated in the NBA Development League for two years. Collegiately, Zarba has previously officiated for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Colonial Conference, the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Ohio Valley Conference and the Northeast Conference (NEC).
Zach earned his undergraduate degree in political science from SUNY New Paltz, located in the Catskills Region of New York, in 1997 and competed on the Hawks’ men’s basketball team from 1994-97, seeing action in 40 contests. He served as a team captain during his senior season.
And here’s the honorary black and white photograph of Zach during his time in college:
The State University of New York at New Paltz is a creative, diverse, challenging and supportive environment where you get a degree from a highly selective university and an education rich in experiences that will last a lifetime. At New Paltz, you are encouraged to explore and take intellectual risks, to find your passion, to begin your path and to find your voice.