ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil on Zeller sparking IU’s turnaround

  • 01/11/2012 12:45 pm in

ESPN.com: Unassuming Cody Zeller keys Indiana Hoosiers’ turnaround

With the Zellers, competition never bred contempt. The boys are extremely close — Cody and Tyler speak on the phone frequently, especially now that they share the common war story of college basketball.

Instead, competition bred excellence.

Cody may very well wind up the best Zeller, but that could be due as much to his backyard education as to genetics. Luke, older by five years, took no mercy on his kid brother, and his constant beatdowns only made Cody tougher and more comfortable in the body-smashing world of the low post.

Tyler, taller and heavier than Cody, forced him to find ways to shoot over his bigger brother, helping Cody to develop some finesse moves. “Cody has never had a problem asserting himself,” Tyler said. “He’ll go play against anybody and compete against anybody. When it comes to basketball, he’s done just a fantastic job of learning from us, trying to become the best basketball player he can be.”

It is that combination of brawn and touch that attracted so many coaches to Cody. They loved that he had great hands and mobility for a big man, came armed with a nifty jump hook, and could score with his back to the basket and rebound.

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  • ChiHoosier

    Well, sort of.
    “He called me and said that he had to call the two schools he
    wasn’t going to; it was really hard for him to do that, but he had to,”
    Crean said. “So at that point, your heart just sinks and you get that
    awful feeling in your stomach. Then he says, ‘The good news for you is
    you’re not the coach at one of those two schools.”

    That last quote kinda sums up this kid.  Even in such an important moment in his life, he can find a calm lighthearted joke.  Especially because he knew Crean would be on edge to hear his response.  The kid understands what this means but is so down to earth about it and doesn’t see himself as the savor but just a part in the machine that Indiana Basketball is. 

    I almost got teary eyed reading this.  Great article!

  • and the kid is smart.  This is an unusual skill set.  Communicating with the other players on and off the court is priceless to a coach and team.  He has made everyone around him better and he continues to excel.  From last to 1st is quite a transition and eventhough you have to give the others a great deal of credit – Cody is the key.

    How much bigger is Tyler?  What do they feed those kids…..gotta love those Indiana midwest genes…

  • hoosier_kamp

    Man, I am just glad he came to IU. Not more to say here. He is awesome as a person and player

  • Anonymous

    And the rest of the quotes is “….Really, Really, you’re coming to IU?”

  • Anonymous

    How tall is their father?  The story said their mother is 6’0″ and in the picture he’s quite a bit taller than she is.

    Tyler is 7’1″.

  • Plus Cody’s smarter than his brother- he went to IU. Really sportswriters like to simplify issues but IU is better this year because of everyone.

  • IUAl

    Haha, any wonder how Cody developed such an excellent head fake?

  • IUAl

    Haha, any wonder how Cody developed such an excellent head fake?

  • Anonymous

    I know I’m not the only one who wants to see more pictures of Cody and a weird old guy with a parrot.

  • Anonymous

    I met Cody as I was walking down Kirkwood on the way back to my hotel about a half hour after the ball dropped New Years Eve. I had drank a couple beers watching the ball drop and all I could manage was a huge smile and a “thank you Cody, thanks man” as I shook his hand. (Let me tell you it was pretty lame but its all I could muster at that moment just hours after beating Ohio State). He just laughed at me and said “your welcome man”. This kid is legit. This article summed up the Cody I met that night, just a happy go lucky kid enjoying the ride. Good for him and good for us, he is exactly what this program needed when we needed it.

  • It’s true. It’s what we all want to see.

  • It’s true. It’s what we all want to see.

  • Tscott3

    Being from Washington and watching the 3 Zeller boys dominate local area high school basketball was unbelievable. What amazes me is their off the floor down to earth character. I was sitting at a hair salon and a little boy about 4 was there when Luke and Cody came in. The little boy leaned over and whispered, “They are giants”. “Look how big their feet are.”  Luke and Cody both talked with me and this little boy like they were our best friend. That makes me proud to see , both these young men our very grounded and i am sure this is because they were raised properly. Besides being exceptional athletes they are amazing individuals. It makes me proud to sit back and watch how successful Cody has been at IU and how much he added to that program. One person is not an entire team, and this young man never takes all the credit. He is AMAZING!

  • Tscott3

    he appers to be around 6’4 to 6’5