The fate of Indiana Hoosier basketball rests in the hands of McDonald’s All-American Cody Zeller. Okay, not really… but if you listen to what others are saying, that’s the hype surrounding the 2011 recruit who chose to stay home and help Tom Crean with his re-building of the Hoosiers’ program.
And given the way things have gone for Indiana since 2007, their fans need something positive to latch onto.
(This is a Paul M. Banks and David Kay collaboration.)
In Wednesday night’s McDonald’s All-American Game, Zeller scored ten points in fifteen minutes despite his West team losing to the East, 111-96. The 6-10 Washington, Indiana native obviously has a lineage of basketball in his family with his older brothers being successful in their collegiate careers; Luke at Notre Dame and Tyler who is currently at North Carolina.
His game is actually rather comparable to Tyler’s. Both are intelligent players who can run the floor, knock down mid-range jumpers, posses that patented Zeller hook shot, and have a great feel for the game.
“They’re always there for me whenever I need anything. With advice or little things like that,” Cody said about his older brothers’ influence.
Like Tyler, Cody will have to get stronger and add muscle to his thin 210 pound frame before he can reach his full potential at IU.
It will take a lot more than Zeller alone to turn around the Indiana basketball program and there will be a lot of pressure on him to immediately perform at a high level due to his name. The Hoosiers have had absolutely zero post presence since D.J. White graduated, and the interior game has been an absolute train wreck since the nuclear blast that was the Kelvin Sampson era.
Still, Zeller is the biggest recruit Crean has signed during his tenure at IU and a very important one at that due to him because he committed to the once proud program rather than heading to Tobacco Road like Tyler.
“There were so many things that went into the recruiting process, that’s why it took so long,” Zeller said at media day.
“The players and coaches were probably the most important thing. I think he (Crean) is just a great coach. From what I’ve heard, he’s one of the best Xs and Os coaches and knowing what needs to be done in order to win.”
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.
He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbankFollow paulmbanks