Ryan profiles Cody Zeller in ESPN The Magazine

  • 11/30/2011 1:48 pm in

ESPN The Magazine: Leap of Faith

Last October, not even a visionary could have seen with certainty that Zeller would end up in a Hoosiers uniform. Recruiting analysts speculated that the Washington, Ind., native would sign with North Carolina to play alongside his brother Tyler, who was a junior there at the time. Or maybe he’d play in Indianapolis, where Butler was coming off its first national championship appearance in 2010. Instead, this year’s No. 14 recruit signed with Indiana, a program that hasn’t had a winning season since Kelvin Sampson was forced out in 2008 amid NCAA violations.

“My brothers were a big help in the recruiting process,” says Cody, whose oldest brother, Luke, played four seasons at Notre Dame. “They let me make my own decision because I’m the one who has to live with it. I was focused on finding a school that had good players and coaches. So far, I love my decision.”

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  • WALT

    And Cody, you look fantastic in that IU basketball uniform. No way light blue and not black. Proud you chose IU. 

  • Anonymous

    Great piece, Ryan.  Congrats on getting some serious visibility with the World Wide Leader.

  • snowflake

    And we love you, Cody.

  • Anonymous

    Hands down the worst “Photo Shop” job I have ever seen.  They added a hand, and used a portrait picture of Cody for the head.  I did better cut and paste work in second grade. haha

  • HoosierSmitty

    Nice work, Ryan. This site always makes me wish I stuck with sports journalism instead of teaching English to 8th graders. 

  • MillaRed

    Another reference to Cody bolting for the NBA. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because the non-IU Nation wants him out of here immediately more than the NBA wants him on the floor.

    Tyler stayed, and Cody will stay.  Let the kids be kids. Sheesh.

  • Anonymous

    That’s not photoshopped at all—–he’s wearing a cafeteria lady’s plastic glove.  When we say “Cody does it all,” we mean it, even if it’s serving food.

  • Anonymous

    There was one very important point made in this article we’ve probably all forgotten in our grousing about how poorly the others are feeding the post—-there was no work on the offense leading into the season.  The entire focus was defense (and it’s obvious great strides have been made on that end of the floor,) so the offense will come around when it gets a bit more attention.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Did you the see the recent Indy Star article that had him in Butler’s uniform? Just not right. 

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    We probably would’ve vomited for an hour if they would’ve Photoshopped him into a Purdue uniform.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    To answer the question that was first asked….Of course he will find his place as a Hoosier.  Cody already has….

  • MillaRed

    I agree. They are reaping the rewards of a defensive mentality. Once that becomes the norm, they will get better in their offensive sets.

    BTW, how hard would it have been to watch that game if Cody was on the other side? Would we have been 5-0? Maybe. But not by 20 ppg. Thank The Lord.

  • WALT

    Guess that would be one of the few advantages of living in Illinois vs. God’s country (on the banks of the Wabash) i.e. not seeing Cody in a Butler uniform. Would get tired of seeing that pik in 10 seconds. To all Hoosiers, Good luck tonight. After tonight we will know quite a bit. 

  • WALT

    Some folks have wondered if Cody would bolt to the NBA, think if that were true we would see him in ol’Kentuck blue. Imagine that for a minute. Not purty huh?

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Ditto Milla.  EAST COAST BIAS from “The Dorks On TV Network In Connecticut”…Once again.  Kansas year in and year out (not from the east coast) is a force of a program when it comes to consistency of putting a top notch caliber team on the floor.  What is sad is that they get little respect and run from “The Dorks On TV Network In Connecticut” compared to the east coast programs.  I know this was a magazine article but it is coming from the same arena.  There are compliments there for us, and I appreciate them, but in our recent time of frustration we have been fans who have stayed resolved and stuck right there and supported, agonized, cried, prayed, and stood steadfast patiently. None of that is made note of, and more times than not the razor tongued idiots took shots at us as a program, university, and fan base.  Excuse me for taking exception, but I take pride in Indiana and where I am from.  We became the black sheep because it is obvious that besides reporting on sports scores and statistics…Well lets just say that making villains is their business. I would only assume that there are great people working up there at “The Dorks On TV Network In Connecticut”, but the obvious company agenda (from that powers that be) that is trying to drive the sports world in their own direction is sickening.  I watch their channels out of necessity now, not out of desire.  It was not like that in the past, and it has become too much hype machine and a disgusting monster.  The true sports connection is gone from them. Their business has been to become a tabloid and using sports as their platform.  The games, the strategy, and the play is secondary and is only there to allow them to own the arena of the sports tabloid.   There are great people at Indiana and across the whole fan base but everyone paid the price, so I have no disdain to have a negative opinion about “The Dorks On TV Network In Connecticut”.  Despite the mistakes at Indiana, “The Dorks On TV Network In Connecticut” cut us deep for their own benefit of a news story. Very very few came to our aid and offered encouragement over the past few years.  Shockingly, Jay Bilas was one of them along with Raftery, Vitale, and Lavin on a very short list of who had kind words to say to us as supporters of Indiana.  Cody’s success at Indiana threatens their own generated power tree now, and their only weapon left is to try to create the doubt or uncertainty about Indiana and our players. They try to accomplish this by repeatedly opening the wounds of  the last couple seasons as if they are still happening.  It is too bad for them, because very very soon they will be dealing with Indiana being at the top again.  I love Coach Knight, but this time there won’t be much fuel for the fire on the controversy side for them, and it will be about one thing and one thing only….Basketball at its purest form, which rests here in Indiana. Maybe they will take a page of their own book by creating another black sheep by going after Kentucky and try to assist in taking them down.  They will find more ammunition there than they ever tried to find here. I am sorry if this was not classy enough, but the last few years have been tough and we were trampled on by many people in the media.

     I don’t care for you Ohio State, but thank you for repeatedly shoving PUKE to ground last night and feeding them their own dirty diapers into their rotten (but gold plated) throats.  It was nice to see the darlings get pummeled by a very very good basketball team from the mid-west.   Maybe only in my eyes but it felt like a great landed punch on the chin of “The Dorks on TV Network In Connecticut”.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Yes nice work Ryan.  I got on a rant and way off subject, but I enjoyed the article.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s both a compliment and nod to the reality of college basketball.  The reality is Zeller *could* go pro, but doesn’t mean he will. 

    Ultimately, I think it’s meant as a compliment.  A way of saying that he’s more than just a good college player, he’s one of the top 20 or so talents in college right now, and a program changer.  At least that’s how I interpret it.

  • Anonymous

    Cody is better than Tyler but I also think he’ll stay at least 3 years and hopefully all 4.  He needs some time to develop an NBA ready body and he also seems to actually want to get a degree in business while he’s there too.  That was one of the x factors wasn’t it?

  • Anonymous

    That’s what they’ve been saying and the funny thing is that I’ve noticed the offensive ball movement being about the most improved thing about this team thus far.

  • Anonymous

    I also think a lot of these guys have now had time to see what happens to HS-to-NBA players who have come before.  It seems that unless a kid is a clear phenom like LeBron you’re better off going to college for a least a year. 

    I think we’ll see less one-and-done guys in the future as guys spend an extra year or two in college building their “brand”, their game, and having fun before “going to work” in the NBA.

  • Anonymous

    I feel your passion, but I think you’re off base here.  I can totally understand know why you’re mad and where you’re coming from.  Let’s be honest, the Hanner piece was crap and was grossly undeserved – especially the way it portrayed Crean on the homepage of the site.  That was yellow journalism at its finest.

    That said, ESPN wants us to be relevant.  Why?  We mean big bucks to them.  Why else was the Evansville game on ESPN3 only?  The network execs are trying to promote the heck out of the site.  They know we’re diehard, crazy fans who will watch IU ball no matter what platform and no matter how competitive our team is.

    The more we’re on their network, the higher ratings they will get.  On the flip side, the more stories they drum up that cast a shadow of doubt on our integrity, the more page views they get from outsiders.  

    It’s all about ad dollars in the end.  The Dukies, UNC’s and pUKe’s of the country have NBA players that ESPN is marketing now so that we, as fans, continue to watch them as pros and hopefully on their network.  

    Similar situation is beginning to happen now with Cody and #themovement.  It used to be that our games might get pushed to BTN due to lack of relevancy over the past couple of years, but soon CBS and ESPN will be fighting tooth and nail to broadcast our games, even if it’s against Northwestern or Iowa.  

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Lol, I hear ya.  I guess I made my point.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I will apologize for being off base.  I get the numbers game, the ratings game, the money game.  What I will never stand for is an entity constantly swirling things and me as a consumer (and a person) being expected to not be offended (pissed off).  I will admit they need Indiana for many facets, but I will also admit that what they do on a daily basis to accomplish their goals is not positive for society in general. Never should we forget how we were torn down and our reputation buried over some very questionable violations.  Yes we broke the rules.  Nobody was paid as a player.  Nobody cheated in school (even though our grades as a team sucked at the end of Sampson’s tenure). No massive scandals of sex, drugs, murder, or any other crime were unleashed.  STILL we were torn to shreds while many other programs have much greater issues skate by and are back within a year because ESPN hypes them up. We should never forget that we were hung in public just to blow up a story.  

    It is sad that the pure joy and excitement of sports is marginalized for the he said, she said gossip rag that they have become.  In reality human beings who basically become their avenue to profit work extremely hard to become exceptional athletes.  In the end too many people try to prosper off the hard work that these athletes endure just to play a game. Again, I do apologize for being off base and if I seem out of context, but there is a higher moral issue at hand.  I am sorry I brought it up, and this is probably not the best place to voice it. 

    I will say excellent job to Cody for making it into a major magazine like this and doing massive work on his end to restore Indiana.  I appreciate that and will never forget how much it has meant to me and the rest of the IU fans.  Go IU!!