Zeller’s MVP effort helps Gold prevail, 126-122

  • 04/22/2011 10:18 pm in

LOUISVILLE — Setting up for charges. Diving for loose balls. Running the floor. All things not often associated with all-star games.

But not in the case of Cody Zeller.

The Indiana signee did all of those things on Friday evening at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.

And for his effort, Zeller was rewarded with a team MVP award as Gold defeated White, 126-122, in the 2011 Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic.

“That’s just how I play,” Zeller said afterward. “Just playing to win. It was a good thing we got the win.”

The Indiana Mr. Basketball finished 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds.

“It’s awesome how hard he plays and how good he is,” Austin Etherington, who also played for the Gold team, said of Zeller’s effort. “I just hope he’s not a one-and-done. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Etherington struggled from the field and finished with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting in 14 minutes. But the future IU guard said he enjoyed the three day experience in Louisville and getting to know some of the top players from around the country.

“It’s been a lot of fun. Being with the guys and knowing that next year we’ll be seeing them again and building friendships with them was a lot of fun.”

NBA Scout on Zeller: I had the chance to talk with an NBA scout and got an overwhelmingly positive review of the future IU big man. “He’s got it.” Zeller’s efficiency and understanding of the game were two things that stood out most: “He shoots and he makes. A lot of guys shoot a lot, but they miss. If I was a coach, I’d find a way to get him shots. You can find guys to miss on any street corner. He’s definitely as good as advertised.” He also mentioned Zeller’s use of ball fakes as something he doesn’t seen often enough from others in the high school game.

Etherington finishes second in 3-point shootout: The Hamilton Heights senior finished second to Seton Hall signee Aaron Cosby in the 3-point shootout, which took place at halftime. “I choked, I’ll say that,” Etherington said with a smile. “I was feeling it and then I ended up not coming through at the end.”

Future Big Ten foes: Four future Big Ten opponents were in the game and here’s a quick look at how each did:

Amir Williams – Ohio State/Gold:  11 points, eight rebounds and a block in 17 minutes
Branden Dawson – Michigan State/Gold: 23 points, three rebounds, two steals, one assist in 18 minutes
LaQuinton Ross – Ohio State/Gold: 26 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, seven turnovers, two steals in 26 minutes
Andre Hollins – Minnesota/White: Four points, two rebounds, one steal, one block, one turnover in 22 minutes

Postgame video:

Filed to:

  • Anonymous

    AE doesn’t get enough credit for what he does on the court. His jump shot to give Cody room down low next year will be great, now we won’t need to throw Roth out there to cripple our defense because Eth can shoot almost as well as Roth can, just much more athletic on the defensive and transition parts of the game.

    As for Cody, I think he’s going to help out a lot more by making Elston and Pritch better down low. Elston can definitely become a force when he has someone like CZ pushing him everyday. If CZ can make Elston better on the defensive end, they’ll be great down low as a tandom.

  • unclekerfuffle

    With all the excitement and hype surrounding the 2012-2014 classes, I sometimes lose sight of just how solid CZ and AE are likely to be–and they will be around to show the incoming players the ropes. I think the most overlooked asset that these two guys will bring to the table is what they can provide in the way of upperclassman leadership beginning in a couple of years.

    Next year I tend to agree that AE will spread the court offensively and be an improvement on the defensive end.

    I would not be surprised to see CZ and Big Tom do a lot of high/low post with pick-and-rolls or pick-and-pops being a regular part of the offense. I still think that CZ’s real impact next year will be how he makes other players better with his knack for drawing the double team and his ability to find the open man. Of course, the fact that he can hit his shots is what makes all the options on offense possible.

  • oldred1976

    I agree with both of you I think these two are going to get their minutes and some of somebody elses. Congratulations Cody That was a get effort on your part something seldom seen in “Star” games.

  • JerryCT

    It will be fascinating to see how we change the offense , if at all, to enable CZ to score pts. We simply never feed the low post and only occaisionally feed the high post. Additionally we are not a good “assist” or passing team from the guard/wings. In 19 B10 games we had more assists than our opponents only 4 times.

    If it were me I would start now with CZ as a leader. I would alter the offense to run any schemes 40% of the time that required a pass to CZ.

    To me the Northwestern version of the Princeton, where the 5 gets the ball low or high almost 65% of the time would fit this description and still enable our dribble drive principles. If CZ turns into a dangerous passer to cutters like WS, VO, MO, then he will draw ball pressure and defenders will sag off of the wings opening up the 3pt shot.

    Right now there is no evidence that our wings are deadly enough ( incl AE ) driver/shooters to open up CZ, TP, DE, CW near the basket. But the reverse might be true where CZ is dangerous enough to open up the shooters

  • Anonymous

    Great points, all of them. I especially like the idea of running a NW-style offense, where half the time CZ would have the ball with an opportunity to make play, especially by passing.

  • Anonymous

    That’s just another aspect of VO going for the spectacular when the solid would do. Kind of like his collection of missed dunks when he could have gotten an easy 2 with a lay up. I love Victor, and I’m really going to love him when his maturity (and I mean his grasp of the situation on the court, not anything like doing stupid stuff and getting in trouble,) catches up to his physical skill.

  • Anonymous

    Despite the absurd hype and outrageous expectations, Cody Zeller has gone out and proven that maybe he’s UNDERrated.

    That’s crazy.

  • MillaRed

    I hear you. The kid has been preparing for all of this for years. His brothers have already been through the grind. So many options for him to reach out to.

    You have to give MR. and Mrs. Zeller a ton of credit.

  • Diesel

    Excellent Jerry. Cody is a capable scorer, but it will be his passing out of the offense that should make a significant impact. As a guard I’m only going to throw the ball inside if two conditions exist: 1) post player is a threat to score 2) post player will pass the ball back out. TP and Capo fail condition #1, while DE and CWat fail condition #2. Cody does both. The other thing is he works so freaking hard to get open before you know it you’ve already passed him the ball. He’ll get his touches. However, he doesn’t really need touches to be that effective as he has proven in both the McDonalds game and last evening.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Dave:

    I’ve noticed over the years that getting up in the air on a ball fake seems to be more prevalent with young players under 6’6″ with great verticals. I have always assumed that they have depended on their leaping ability more than getting position in high school.

    Just a theory.

  • Anonymous

    Good to hear Cody Zeller did well. He showed he can play against really good competition, which is what he will be seeing in the B10. Hopefully he can be a difference maker next year and put a charge into this team. Hopefully Etherington can develop into an important player for this basketball program. Crean needs to keep adding to his already solid recruiting classes to really give Indiana an opportunity for another championship in the near future.

  • Exactly, the sky is the roof for this one. I think people were already putting the overrated tag on him because of Luke’s failures and Tyler really didn’t show up until this year, but Cody is definitely going to be a force right when he comes in and will most likely have a much better career than both of his brothers because of the opportunity he’s been given.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Oh man, this kid is something! He’s the prototypical Indiana basketball player and we’re going to love seeing him in candy stripes!

  • Chromeburn

    Was anyone else worried about AE’s comment about Zeller being a one and done. I kind of assumed he would be a four year player like his brothers. But his comment put that in doubt. Will he be a one and done or a two tonthree year player at least?

  • Gustin

    I am not worried, no need to be. The only way CZ leaves after one year is if IU makes the final four… VBG! I assume Cody will play at least three years to get physically stronger and prepare his body for the NBA.

  • Anonymous

    I keep going back to the point that this guy, unlike virtually every other person his height, has grown up playing against guys bigger and stronger than he is.

  • Anonymous

    Once again Jerry gives excellent analysis.

  • Anonymous

    More good points.

  • Anonymous

    I think that Victor will average 8 rebounds/game next season, playing over 20 minutes/game, with 8 points/game. He should start with Zeller and Watford and Hulls. Then we need a solid rebounder-defender who can hit 40% from 3-point territory as our 5th starter. I like Austin and Will in a tight battle for that spot early in the season. As Mo gets REALLY healthy, he shold move in as the starter. Elston and Jones, can you two become solid rebounders-defenders who can hit 40% on 3’s? Pritchard, can you become a solid rebounder-defender who can hit 60% on FT’s? This team can win next year!

  • ufo3

    Cody’s one great skill is his rebounding. Cody is one of the best rebounders in high school ball that I have ever seen. Cody Zeller is a GREAT position rebounder. That alone will make IU better, his offensive skillset along with his basketball IQ will make Cody a great Hoosier player and make IU immediately better next season.

  • Anonymous

    Crean, AND CZ have already said on more than one occasion that he will not be expected to play the 5 at the college level. CZ probably does not have the needed muscle to play the 5 and it not be a detriment to IU’s overall team effort next year. Inevitably he will end up playing this spot off and on simply out of necessity but I don’t see Crean playing him at the 5 anymore than he just has to, in fact I see Crean subbing DE for TP before he puts Cody at the 5. Different opponents and different situations will dictate what is best but I think CZ plays the 4 unless there is no other choice. IMHO

  • Anonymous

    You play the 5 players that allow you to WIN the game! Michigan did NOT have a “5” (i.e. Morgan was a “4” at best) and played in the NCAA Tourney. Purdue did not have a “5” last year, Johnson was a “4”, and they also made the Tournament. Cody Zeller must be on the floor almost all of the time: the same for Watford and Hulls; the same for Mo Creek when he is fully recovered and healthy and playing like he can; our next best players are Victor, Will and Austin, let them play, who cares what their “number” is; Jones (decision making, defense and 3-point accuracy), Elston (defense, offensive and defensive decision making) and Pritchard (FT shooting, defensive decision making and an offensive 5-15′ game) MUST improve to earn floor time!

  • Kelin Blab

    Jerry I expect to see more feeding in the low post then the feeder relocating to screen or cutting and letting cody operate alone. I also expect to see a ton of screen and roll, big to big, like Cody and Watford. If Watford can pass out of it or get to the basket it would be great….

  • JerryCT

    I can fully support that. I have often wondered why our most dangerous roller( CW ) was not screening more and why our bigs( TP, DE and BC ) , who are all good passers, are not in that role more often.

    I am thinking now that CZ is beyond just a good big player but a GAME CHANGER in every sense of the word .

  • Anonymous

    Agree you want the 5 on the floor that give you the best chance of winning but, at least at first anyway, I have to believe that mix will include TP. This will also give us a chance to see if the ” CZ will make TP a lot better player ” train of thought is correct or just wishful thinking. If that turns out to be right, and we know that CW is going to start and play major minutes, it more or less pushes the logjam for playing time to the guards positions which might not be a bad thing in that it will force each of them to bring their best effort every time out whether it be a game or in practice. How things shake out with VJ3 may just be the most interesting one to me. I think he will be the barometer of how Crean sees the team next year. If he continues to start and play pretty much the whole game I would venture to say Crean thinks the others have not progressed as much as he thought they would and if we see a substantial decrease in his minutes it tells us that Crean has seen the progress that he has hoped for out of more than just one or two players. Any way we look at it next season will be filled with questions and not even Crean at this point knows how it is going to shake out. He may have a pretty good idea but that perception can change a lot between now and the first game.

  • Anonymous

    No, not at all.

  • Anonymous

    How can Cody Zeller make Tom Pritchard hit 60% of his FT’s?

  • Anonymous

    Christian Watford has been our best player for the last two years. He plays HARD! Who do you think is better at defense: Pritchard, no; Elston, no; Capo, no; Creek, not last year; Jones, no way; Hulls, no; Roth, no; that leaves only Will and Victor?

  • Anonymous

    Um, yeah. TP was a FAR better defender than CWat last year. Remember when Jordan Taylor single-handedly took UW on something like a 18-0 run? UW deliberately ran screens where CWat would switch to Taylor, then JT systematically drilled 3 after 3 after 3 after….(you get the idea). Eventually (not soon enough) CTC called timeout and got it corrected.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Dude, CW’s defense wasn’t even close to the level that TP played! I could have scored on CW! All you have to do is take the ball at him and he moves because he runs from contact!

  • stonaroni

    Cody is a great passer. The question is, will he get the ball back?

    Cody, BY FAR, will be the best player on the team next year. I hope CTC sees that his future lies with CZ and guys like VJ and CW can geto out of there own way and let CZ be a star and the leader he is.

  • stonaroni

    I agree with you Aceman, bury your shoulder in his chest will on the blocks and you will score every time. His limited vertical and explosion off the court doesn’t help things either.

    TP night after night plays a bigger, stronger, and faster player and he hangs with them and plays them strong. He needs to quit the cheap fouls and log more minutes.

    Cwat will give you 17 ppg a night and his man has 17ppg+.

  • stonaroni

    Good interviews with CZ and AE.

    I am really excited to have these 2 coming to IU. Along with Hulls, these guys know exactly what IU basketball is. One could make a case for Elston, but I am sure he grew up a UNC fan.

    Hulls, CZ and AE know what it is like to grow up an IU fan. They know what the IU/Purdue rivalry is all about. AE already mentioned the UK game in the interview mistakenly, but these 3 know what that rivalry is.

    CW, VJIII, Mo, WS, VO, TP, Capo, etc didn’t grow up knowing the true meaning of our rivalries and this program.

    The classes of 2011 and 2012 have more to play for than any other recruiting class we have had under CTC.

    Whether these players like it or not, there is a bigger purpose than a full ride scholly for a Big 10 school that has won championships. There is a fan base that lives and dies IU basketball and a state that swells with pride about the players the state of Indiana produces and being the greatest basketball state in America.

    That cannot be said for MD, AL, FL, OH, IL, etc.

    I know many of you hate Calipari, but I happened to hear him on a radio show this past year and he said he had no idea the passion of UK fans and whatthe UK program meant to the people of KY. I felt that was a good point. The players may think they know IU basketball but they don’t until they get here. On top of this, unless you are from Indiana, you will never reach the depth of the tradition of this state.

  • Plane1972

    Good post. Couldn’t agree more. Would love to see Pritch have a strong 9th inning and go out on a very high note. Those big early minutes were a double-edged sword for the big guy. Work hard this summer, Pritch.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. Pritchard .16 fouls/minute with 4 games fouling out; Watford .08 with 1. You are a bad defender when you are on the bench with foul trouble. No one can rely on you to play when the game is on the line!

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. Pritchard .16 fouls/minute with 4 games fouling out; Watford .08 with 1. You are a bad defender when you are on the bench with foul trouble. No one can rely on you to play when the game is on the line!

  • Anonymous

    Well i guess we agree to disagree. IMO, it’s easy to stay out of foul trouble when you’re always 8 ft away from your man. Harder to do that when you play “D” like TP – close and physical.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. Pritchard 23 blocks, 5 steals = 28 defensive close encounters; Watford 12 blocks, 22 steals =34! How do you get closer than blocking the shot or stealing the ball?

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. Pritchard 23 blocks, 5 steals = 28 defensive close encounters; Watford 12 blocks, 22 steals =34! How do you get closer than blocking the shot or stealing the ball?

  • Anonymous

    As i said, we’ll agree to disagree.

  • Anonymous

    As i said, we’ll agree to disagree.