Watford, Zeller to return for 2012-2013 season

It appears the preseason No. 1 rankings may stick in Bloomington. On Tuesday morning, Indiana announced that junior Christian Watford and freshman Cody Zeller will both return for the 2012-2013 season.

Here’s the complete release via IU Media Relations:

Indiana University forwards Christian Watford and Cody Zeller have announced that they will remain in school and play for the Hoosiers next season. Both players were a big part of leading IU to a 27-9 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

Watford, who made the NCAA South Regional All Tournament team and is the leading returning scorer in the Big Ten with 1,287 points, has averaged 13.4 points in his career. He also averaged 5.8 rebounds and shot 43.7% from three-point range. His game-winning three-pointer against #1 Kentucky in December was the GEICO National Play of the Year. He was named honorable mention All-Big Ten.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to complete my degree and to continue restoring the winning tradition at IU,” said Watford. “I believe in Coach Crean and our staff and I am eager to lead my new teammates and build on what we started.”

“Christian really ended the season on a high note on the biggest stage and is building off that,” said IU Coach Tom Crean. “He is going to have the opportunity to be a leader and have an even greater impact on the program and his game, but more importantly, he will earn his degree from IU.”


Zeller, who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and an honorable mention AP All-American, averaged a team-high 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds and shot 62.3% from the field (4th in the nation). He was second team All-Big Ten and a first team Freshman All-American. He was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award (USBWA National Freshman of the Year) and was a candidate for the Wooden Award and Oscar Robertson Trophy.

“I grew up hoping that one day I would get the opportunity to play in the NBA, but at this point, I’m not ready for my college experience to be over,” said Zeller. “Coach Crean and my family were very supportive and helpful as I made my decision. My college experience at IU this year has exceeded my expectations, on and off the court. I look forward to playing at Assembly Hall next year in front of the greatest fans in the country. Go Hoosiers!”

“Cody is player who, along with his unique skillset, makes everyone around him better,” added Crean. “He is going to have great opportunities ahead of him, yet his demeanor, work ethic and his desire to be a great teammate never wavers. He will have the opportunity to be as good as any player in college basketball.”

The Hoosiers have been chosen preseason #1 by Yahoo, CNNSI.com, NBC Sports, ESPN.com, and USA Today.  They return all five starters from a team which finished the season ranked 13th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

  • mrjonessodaandme

    This obviously good for #iubb. And I hope they accomplish all they set out to do in the basketball realm this season.

    But its great because he is going to get his degree. And that will take him places when basketball is over.

    Hoosier Nation is proud!

  • mrjonessodaandme

    This obviously good for #iubb. And I hope they accomplish all they set out to do in the basketball realm this season.

    But its great because he is going to get his degree. And that will take him places when basketball is over.

    Hoosier Nation is proud!

  • Tom

    yes.

  • So_Cal_Hoosier

    Gotta be pre-season #1 now. Back where we belong!

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    Wahoo!!!

  • HoosierDadE

    Wow, summer means boat time, starting the grill, and golf…but I’m so freaking excited for Hoosier Hysteria and basketball season already

    Start the countdown

  • CreamandCrimson

    YES!!!

    Let’s hang banner #6 indeed!

  • Hardwood83

    Great news. I wasn’t too worried about Zeller, but thought CWat might try his luck. This is best choice for both IU & Watford.

    Forget about pre-season #1, we want post-season #1! 

  • Hardwood83

    Great news. I wasn’t too worried about Zeller, but thought CWat might try his luck. This is best choice for both IU & Watford.

    Forget about pre-season #1, we want post-season #1! 

  • jgon86

    YEEEEEEEEES! Thank the MAKER!  Stay calm, boss is behind me. WOOOOOOOOOO.

  • Joscott1037

    great decision guys!!!!!!

  • cpmichae

    well, i’m not leaving bloomington for at least another year…

  • jermhoosierfan

    Is it November yet?  It has been 20 years since the Final Four team of 1992 when I have looked forward to a coming season so soon.  It is even better now with the advent of the Internet and blog sites like this one in keeping the fans up to date.  Thanks for all the information Inside the Hall.  I truly do appreciate all your hard work.

  • hoosierlove13

    Now who leaves or pays their own way sine we are oversigned by 1?

  • hoosierlove13

    Now who leaves or pays their own way sine we are oversigned by 1?

  • catronhoosier

    Really happy for these guys.  They both are good kids and watford should be very proud of himself.  He made a very tough decision but in the long run he most definitely made the right decision.  He will get a degree from Indiana University, and finish something he started, there is no better feeling than achieving something you worked so hard for and after 4 years it will pay off.  And the NBA will still want Watford next year because he is a bonafide stud and i believe the end of this season brought out a lot of maturity in him.  And I am happy that cody is such a smart kid who is extremely mature for his age.  I applaud them both for being true student athletes.  Also it doesn’t hurt that we are going to be very very very dangerous next year and have a great chance of winning a national chamionship

  • N71

    Excellent, first order of business out of the way.  Next, off season work, then…going undefeated and hanging banner #6.  

  • HoosierPat

    I am extremely pleased to hear this news. The sky is the limit for next year’s team.

  • stroot

    Anyone know if Jordy or Elston is doing well financially? Those two (in-state tuition, and seniors) seem like the most likely options to pay their own way.

    When I saw the news this morning, that was the first thing to come to mind — the “mo’ money, mo’ problems” dilemma: having too much talent, so we need to find a way to rescind one of their scholarships.

    If I were to guess, I’d say Remy would be the most likely to transfer, Jurkin would be the most likely to spend a year in prep school, or Hulls/Elston would be the most likely to foot the bill for their final year on the team.

  • stroot

    Anyone know if Jordy or Elston is doing well financially? Those two (in-state tuition, and seniors) seem like the most likely options to pay their own way.

    When I saw the news this morning, that was the first thing to come to mind — the “mo’ money, mo’ problems” dilemma: having too much talent, so we need to find a way to rescind one of their scholarships.

    If I were to guess, I’d say Remy would be the most likely to transfer, Jurkin would be the most likely to spend a year in prep school, or Hulls/Elston would be the most likely to foot the bill for their final year on the team.

  • iujunebug

    Woohoo-hoo-hoo-Hoosiers!

  • iufan4life10

     Cody is the most likely to say “Hey big bro spot me a couple grand.  I want to be the first player to win a title and the POY as a walk-on.”

  • Lucas Vaal

    This news just made my day…week…month! GO Hoosiers!!

  • rgd213

    Congrads to Hoosier fans everywhere! …CTC has done a remarkable job of finding talent and classy players like these 2 great young men, that every IU fan can be proud of. I will admit I was never all in on the CTC hire in the begining ,but I have never been happier for a coach doing it the right way and the University as a whole. Excellent work Coach Tom Crean…IU is back to the team I remember growing up with during the 70’s and 80’s with a future even brighter now….Congrads and Thanks again CTC

  • cpmichae

    How funny would that be? I don’t really give that a chance, but I guess if his family is doing well financially (which with all the money his parents will be saving by not flying out to UNC games, that should cover tuition for a year, right???) and the fact that he WILL eventually make nba dollars. In a perfect world, I’d say it could happen.

  • iufan4life10

     Tyler is probably going to be a lottery pick (or close) and will make plenty of money next year.  I’m pretty sure he understands what he would be investing in and there are no rules about a family member paying for your school.

    I think this team truly thinks of themselves as a team and will do what they can to keep the team together.  There are so many potential HUGE headlines to come from this if it were to happen.

  • Kentc

    Whew

  • Kentc

    Whew

  • MillaRed

    This…..team…….is……..DEEP

  • http://twitter.com/erikholm Erik Holm

    About 10 years back Mizzou had a guy who’s older brother was in the NBA and he paid for him to be a walk on due to an over crowded roster. (Sorry I forgot the names.) I’m not sure it’s right that a Senior should have to literally ‘pay’ for a coaches decision to over sign on players.

  • Jackson

    JR Smith (NY Knicks) is paying for his younger brother Chris Smith at Louisville.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    i hear you brotha! this is gonna be one long summer! 

    still a lot of undecided in the top 50, will be interesting to see where they land.you’ve got to imagine they’ll be split up between pUKe, unc, cuse, dook, and kansas (i.e. teams who, unlike iu, lost underclassmen)

  • WhatsUpKnight

    great problem to have, but how is he going to get these guys minutes??? my guess is will and jordy’s minutes will go down. and i’m not sure if we’ll see much of remy or derek at all. guess it depends on where creek, perea, and jurkin are at in their development.

  • knuckledrager

    First, I’m a disabled vet on a fixed income, but I’m going to find some extra cash to give to ITH. This is  the finest Hoosier site any where, by far and I’m going to do what I can to help keep this site viable. Everyone should. Thanks guys.
         Second, I want Cody Zeller to father my babies. I’ve been listening to and watching I.U. basketball for a very long time. He is the most complete freshman I can remember. Never have I seen a more poised, smart, unshakeable, freshman. Add to this his talent, drive, athletic ability, ETC…Man, what a player. What a season. Second best over all record in the BIG10. What a season. 
         Third, hate to point this out, but CZ didn’t say how long he was staying, he just said: “I’m not ready for my college experience to be over,”. But, every season is a gift. Looking fore to the coming season and what the new guys will add. 
         And, GGGGGGGggggggggggOOOOOOOoooooOOOO  HHHHHHHHHhhhhOOOOOooooooooooSSSSSssssssssiiiiiiiEeeeeeeRRRRrrrSSSSssssssss. Peace on you all. I love this site. Can I have your beer? Time for my meds, shock treatments, and partial frontal lobotomy. Again.

  • SCHoosier

    Have to say the players and IU staff did a good job of coordinating this announcement…given the way some of the departing players  make it all about them. Now fans..and students..circle the first game on the schedule and make sure there is a standing ovation with appropriate signage for WAT..no surprise about Cody…but give him a standing O also:)

  • SCHoosier

    I hope I’m wrong..but not at all sure Mo is gonna make it back…at least at the level where his minutes would get in the way of a teammate needing development. Don’t get me wrong..I hope the kid pulls a “Hummel” and lights up the league…just have this bad feeling based on how he looked when he came back last time. Crean’s gonna have to have one coach keep track of player minutes/rotations..:)

  • HoosierDadE

    Yeah, there is some serious unsigned talent and like it or not…pUKE will get their share.  In my very UNINFORMED opinion (minus reading stuff on the Internet) here is where I think they’ll go and I’m interested in what others think too…

    Noel – pUKE
    Muhammad – UCLA
    Bennett – pUKE
    Jefferson – NC State
    Parker – KU

    *Starting to think Noel to Cuse might happen but can never count out Oil Salesman Calipari

  • IUMIKE1

    Kyle Kuric, son of a surgeon, also paid his way last year at UL, so actually they were able to carry 2 extra scholarship players at no cost to the school.

  • IUMIKE1

    In my best Barry White voice…REAL deep in fact DANGEROUSLY deep.

  • 888

    Great news and smart choices! We should enjoy Cody this year because it will be his last. Hell be the number 1 pick next year and he shouldnt pass that up. Hell be able to use the money from basketball to come back for his degree. If you think it wont happen just ask yourself why it took this long to decide? If he cared about a degree first he would have said so. He said its always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA. I for one am ecstatic for him. Hes a REAL role model for kids and will always represent IU in a fantastic way. Just sit back and enjoy this year as he leads us to a national title. Its gonna happen. Were back where we belong and were here to stay. His commitment to IU has opened the flood gates and well always be in his debt. GO IU!!!

  • Ryan Goods

    This is why I’m going through a Master’s program. One more year of #iubb

  • Kenneth234

    I could not disagree more with your guesses that Remy would be most likely to transfer and Jurkin to go to prep school!  These are two key players for IU’s prospects of winning a national title.  We need a second true center coming off the bench, if it is just 4 to 8 minutes a game to spell Zeller, or if he exceeds expectations and can spell Zeller even more than that, it is something that will be extremely valuable next year.  The next biggest guys are Watford and Elston, we need a true backup Center, and he needs experience in the event that Zeller decides to take his opportunity if he is projected as the number 1 pick come post season 2013. 
    As for Remy Abel, the guy was very solid and came up big in big games for us last year as a true freshman.  He has earned the trust of the coaches, fans,and his team.  His role may be reduced slightly next year with Hulls and Yogi, but certainly he is more floor ready than Patterson at this point, and his opportunity will again come as a Junior to take on huge responsibilities on the floor, which if he transfers he would find himself likely playing for a far less talented team and sitting out completely next year anyways.  As for what he brings to the team next year, at worse he can be a physical and reletively quick point gaurd to challenge and simulate Big Ten point gaurds for Yogi next year.  This may be as valuable as anything next year. 
    If I was to place my best guesses as to whom should transfer or go to prep school if no one steps up and pays their own way next year, it would be Etherington and Perea or Patterson. 
    Etherington may be a very good shooter, but moving forward CTC already has Hartman and Davis coming in to compete with him for minutes behind Sheldipo as Seniors. Then as for the most likely to go to prep school, I would prefer Patterson.  The main reason is that we are incredibly deep at the 2 gaurd next year.  He may be ready to go defensively, but with the depth at his position next year, I think he would be one of the most likely guys to be red-shirted next year anyways.  Perea is somewhat deminnished in value for next year with Watford and Elston returning, although Perea is probably more willing to defend the paint and compete for rebounds coming in next year.  But he is likely to be splitting back up minutes with Elston next year anyways. 

  • Kenneth234

    Way to read too much into a comment!  He never said that getting a degree was not important to him either!  He never said that he cares what pick he is either!  More than anything else, he never mentioned going pro after this year was over to start with.  All the speculation was from mock draft experts and meida talking heads, not ever coming from Cody.  I expect him to play 3 years and him to leave with a degree.  Both his brothers came back and finnished their degrees and played four years.  That being said, he has more talent than both, and from the way it sounds, he is on schedule to graduate early already.  It just seems like that would be his plan coming in and he is executing it very well.  To some degree, I am not sure if he expected to improve as much as he did in the off season and season last year.  So his next growth could be incredible or it could be modest, but either way he needs to add weight to compete against NBA PF or Centers in two years no matter what.  At his position, he will have a choice if he wants to be a project when he gets to the NBA or if he wants to be an instant impact player.  That is the decision that he will be making at the end of next year.

  • Kenneth234

    Way to read too much into a comment!  He never said that getting a degree was not important to him either!  He never said that he cares what pick he is either!  More than anything else, he never mentioned going pro after this year was over to start with.  All the speculation was from mock draft experts and meida talking heads, not ever coming from Cody.  I expect him to play 3 years and him to leave with a degree.  Both his brothers came back and finnished their degrees and played four years.  That being said, he has more talent than both, and from the way it sounds, he is on schedule to graduate early already.  It just seems like that would be his plan coming in and he is executing it very well.  To some degree, I am not sure if he expected to improve as much as he did in the off season and season last year.  So his next growth could be incredible or it could be modest, but either way he needs to add weight to compete against NBA PF or Centers in two years no matter what.  At his position, he will have a choice if he wants to be a project when he gets to the NBA or if he wants to be an instant impact player.  That is the decision that he will be making at the end of next year.

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