Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

April 10, 2013

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Indiana's Cody Zeller heading to NBA

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana's Cody Zeller turned down one chance to play in the NBA. He couldn't say no twice.

The 7-foot sophomore center who returned to school last fall for one more shot at a national championship announced Wednesday he is leaving college early to enter the NBA draft. The reason was simple.

"The leaders that I came in looking up to and copying their work ethic were Vic, Christian (Watford), Jordan (Hulls), Derek (Elston), a lot of those older guys that are leaving now," Zeller said explaining the difference between last year's decision and this year's. "IU will have a great year next year, but the guys I was closest to are graduating."

The decision was first announced on the website of his family's business shortly before the news conference at Assembly Hall. Zeller said he was eager to start working with the Christian basketball camps being run by his parents and two older brothers, something the youngest Zeller said NCAA rules barred him from participating even though the organization is considered a nonprofit.

Zeller's announcement came 24 hours after 6-foot-5 junior Victor Oladipo announced he was turning pro, too, in the exact same spot -- at midcourt inside Assembly Hall with the school's five national championship banners clearly visible in the background.

These Hoosiers wanted to add a sixth banner but that quest fell short when East Regional champion Syracuse beat the Hoosiers in the regional semifinals. Yet when Zeller walked off the court in Washington that night, he was already pretty sure he had played his last college game.

"After a while, you just kind of know," he said when asked about the timing of his decision. "Barring injury, I kind of knew it might be my last year, so I enjoyed every minute of it. There was a sense of accomplishment playing my last game at Assembly Hall, playing in my last (NCAA) tournament."

The early departures mean Indiana will have a very different look from the teams that won 56 games and reached the NCAA tournament's regional semifinals each of the last two seasons.

Coach Tom Crean must replace four 1,000-point scorers -- Hulls and Watford, both seniors, Oladipo and now Zeller. They were Indiana's top four scorers last season and accounted for nearly two-thirds of the Hoosiers' points.

The cornerstone, though, was Zeller, the highly-touted high school player who turned down North Carolina and Butler to lay the groundwork in Crean's grand rebuilding project.

Zeller lived up to the billing in almost every possible way. In the three years before Zeller's arrival, Crean's teams won just 28 games and didn't make a postseason appearance. With Zeller, the Hoosiers re-emerged as a Top 25 program, a Big Ten title contender and a player on the national stage. He finished with 1,157 career points and leaves as the Hoosiers' career leader in field goal percentage (59.7 percent).

But the impact he made went far deeper than any numbers.

"What Cody means to Indiana, it's much like Victor, it's hard to describe it and it's hard to put it into words, but what Cody has done has helped raise the level of every person in this program -- every coach, every player, every manager and that's not an easy feat," Crean said. "He's really come in here and left his mark on this program and it's one that will stand for a very, very long time."

Zeller is set to become the third Zeller boy to play in the NBA. His oldest brother, Luke, spent part of this season with the Phoenix Suns and his other brother, Tyler, is becoming a key cog for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who just happened to be playing in Indianapolis on Tuesday night.

Cody Zeller could have been a lottery pick last season but returned to Bloomington heavier and stronger. All he did was lead the nation's preseason No. 1 team in scoring (16.5 points), rebounding (8.1) and blocks (45) while shooting 56.2 percent from the field and 75.7 percent from the free throw line. Zeller even finished second on the team in steals (37).

But Zeller also found out how rugged life can be in the Big Ten when you're the target. Only seven Division I players attempted more free throws during the regular season than Zeller's 241 in 2012-13, and he often wound up crashing hard to the floor.

With scouts still projecting him as a lottery pick in June, Zeller made the safe choice.

"That's basketball, (injuries) can happen at any time," Zeller said. "It's part of the game, part of what goes into the decision, and that was the risk of coming back this year, too."

Where exactly Zeller falls in the draft will likely be determined on the workout circuit. Zeller said he intends to trade notes with Oladipo as the two vie to be top-10 picks and promised to finish his degree by completing two summer sessions and six credits of online work.

While athletic 7-footers such as Zeller are a rare commodity, the transition from being known around as campus as "The Big Handsome" to being just another NBA rookie comes with many potential pitfalls. Some analysts believe Zeller still needs to get bigger and stronger and must figure out how to play through contact. And should Zeller need any additional advice on what it will take to make it, he can make a couple of phone calls.

"It's a huge adjustment because you're not always the biggest and strongest. You're playing against grown men every night," Tyler Zeller said after Wednesday night's loss to the Pacers.

The youngest Zeller, Indiana's 2011 Mr. Basketball and a three-time state champ, is ready to give it a try.

"I think the guys kind of expected it," Zeller said. "The people who helped me the most, I asked them to put themselves in my shoes and asked what they would do. A lot of them, a lot of teammates told me they would go."

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Hawks Pacers Basketball-9 [Duplicate] Pacers seeking solution for Hawks 3-point shooters INDIANAPOLIS -- Atlanta's spread offense is forcing the Pacers to scramble. All-Star Paul George acknowledged he's likely to spend at least some time defending Hawks point guard Jeff Teague on Tuesday night, though it remains unclear how long he'll k

    April 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • GN140421 Sarah DeShone DeShone leaves a legacy at Ferris St. GOSHEN -- Ferris State University senior Sarah DeShone has accomplished something no one else has ever done in the history of women's basketball at the school. The Jimtown High School graduate has been named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Associat

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blackhawks Blues Hockey-6 [Duplicate] NHL: Blackhawks try to regain footing without Seabrook CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks felt the repercussions of Brent Seabrook's hit on David Backes again on Sunday. How it affects the rest of their playoff series against the St. Louis Blues remains to be seen. Seabrook was suspended for three games by

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • GN140419 louie stout column mug OUTDOOR COLUMN: A steelhead run bonanza in Michiana Looking for a bright side to this ridiculous winter and spring weather? Look no farther than the St. Joseph River steelhead run. Apparently, this crazy spring weather has been just what the doctor ordered for steelhead anglers. It extended the run an

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUTDOOR COLUMN: Grackles: Like'em or leave 'em Seeing a grackle, I read in "Birds of America," is "one of the surer signs that spring is at hand. Surer, that is, than seeing a robin, a red-winged blackbird or a song sparrow. But I saw grackles last month, not long after I saw robins, redwings and

    April 20, 2014

  • GN140420 david vantress column mug THE SKINNY: Spring's arrival welcomed gratefuly GOSHEN Well, hello there, Indiana spring! Better late than never, I suppose. After probably the most brutal winter I have endured since first moving to the Midwest in 1998, spring has finally sprung across the area. Over the course of many years as a

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Broncos Manning Football [Duplicate] NFL: Manning meeting with Saban questioned ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Peyton Manning's never-ending quest to hone his game and Nick Saban's desire to decipher fast-paced offenses led to a recent meeting that the Crimson Tide coach called mutually beneficial. It also might have violated NFL rules be

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wizards Celtics Basketball-3 [Duplicate] [Duplicate] NBA: Resilient Bulls brace for next obstacle: Wizards DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Never mind all they overcame. The only obstacle that matters now for the Chicago Bulls is the one in front of them. The Bulls head into Sunday's playoff opener against the Washington Wizards as one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140420 bgolf nw glaser IT'S TEE TIME GOSHEN -- Scores at Saturday's Goshen Invitational at Maplecrest Country Club were a bit higher than area prep boys golf coaches like to see them at this early stage of the season. But with the later start to the season due to a long winter, conditi

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • PREP TRACK AND FIELD: Penn the big winner at Cripe Relays MIDDLEBURY -- It was a clean sweep for Penn High School in the "Carmon Cripe" Northridge Relays for boys and girls track on Saturday. Penn took the girls title with 85 1/2 points, followed by Fairfield 51, East Noble 48 1/2, Elkhart Central 41, Conco

    April 19, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results