Zeller: “I’m just not ready to grow up yet”

Cody Zeller just isn’t ready to leave Bloomington.

Addressing the media for the first time since he announced he would return to Indiana for his sophomore year, Zeller said this year wasn’t the right time for him to make the jump to the NBA.

“It’s a tough process. I mean, it’s a lot of money,” Zeller said. “I’m just not ready to grow up yet. Paying rent, getting a house, becoming an adult — I’m not ready for all that. I’m enjoying my college career, on and off the court. I’m definitely happy to be here.”

Christian Watford, who also explored his NBA options before deciding to return for his senior season, said he’s excited about playing with the Hoosiers’ highly-rated recruiting class coming in next season.

Watford has been “resting” during the early weeks of the offseason because of a heel injury he played with throughout the season. He had a walking boot on his left foot at the team’s awards celebration Thursday night.

“I just wanted to come back and be a part of this team,” Watford said. “I feel like we can do some great things this next year and help build from right where we left off.”

Jones not ready for career to end

Senior guard Verdell Jones, who missed the NCAA tournament after tearing his ACL during the Big Ten tournament, said Thursday his surgery went “very well” and he is currently working on rehab.

“It was painful the first week after, I couldn’t walk at all,” Jones said. “Slowly but surely it’s gotten better. I’m currently off the crutches, I can walk a little bit. It’s still a little painful when I walk.”

Jones also said he plans to hire an agent “in the next week or so,” and attempt to play professional basketball overseas in Europe.

Postseason awards

Indiana coach Tom Crean and his staff handed out awards for the season at a special fan event at Assembly Hall. The award winners are listed below.

Scoring, rebounder — Zeller

Free throw, assist — Jordan Hulls

3-point percentage — Matt Roth

Deflections leader — Victor Oladipo

Mr. Hustle — Will Sheehey

Best Defensive Player — Oladipo

Leadership — Hulls

T-N-T (toughness and tenacity) — Zeller

Landon Turner Inspiration — Jones

Hoosier Award — Zeller

Freshman Student Athlete of the Year — Remy Abell

Most Improved Player — Oladipo Sheehey, Watford

Outstanding Player — Zeller

  • Dwhite0829

    Were there any speaches during the awards?  I would love to see a video or read the speaches if there were.  Sad I couldn’t be there

  • Dwhite0829

    Were there any speaches during the awards?  I would love to see a video or read the speaches if there were.  Sad I couldn’t be there

  • HoosierFanaticFromUSI

    I think The Big Handsome will graduate from IU.

    Crean mentioned in a presser about kids graduating in 3 or 3 and a half years. I have a hunch that Cody could be one of the guys he was talking about. I would love to see him at IU for 4 years, but 2 or 3 years is more Zeller than any other team (besides UNC & ND) will have the privilege to enjoy.

  • Bucky

    I wonder what his long-range plans are.  I could see him playing in the NBA, making his millions, then owning his own player’s rep agency afterward.  He’s cool, focused, and never intimidated.  He’d be great at it.

    He might make more money after the NBA than during.  What a great incentive for him to get his degree.

  • 888

    Cody saying hes not ready to grow up is a game changer. He might end up staying 3 years #1 pick or not. That would be grteat for IU!!

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    That boy grows up any more, he may not fit under the basket.

    ;)

    —–

    Ok, being serious now: I like Zeller’s attitude. He’s right: It is early for a guy to strike out on his own, being only a year removed from high school. Why rush things, especially when he can benefit by at least another year in school (and hopefully longer!) and raise his draft stock, plus grow a little more in every sense of the word. 

    Don’t get me wrong; a high school graduate is no “kid”, even though I often refer to them as such. You’re an adult when you get to college; you’re just a young one. At the same time, striking out so early is unnecessary, especially when you’ve found a good balance between a comfort and a challenge zone where you’re at in school. Why rush things? He can get better here without the pressures of dealing with the professional league. 

    Staying is the right thing to do. It’s right for HIM, not just for IU. Good for him.

  • SCHoosier

    Zeller’s right..of course his family upbringing and general fiscal situation doesn’t require him to make a “go now” decision”..that isn’t true with many young urban athletes. I assume and hope the family has taken out a major insurance policy on this kid to protect his financial future as best it can against an unforseen injury. All that said..great to see such a great kid enjoying his college career. Looks like they got the awards right…kudo’s to Abell for the student-athelte award..what’s his GPA..anybody know? Quiet kid..making his mark on and off the court..love it!

  • HoosierPat

    Good for Verdell. I really hope playing overseas works out for him.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I think Cody is a little too honest to be an agent.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KCZUX4SBFXXM2GEHVKTVKOIYTY Aaron

    “I’m enjoying my college career, on and off the court. I’m definitely happy to be here.”

    Can you imagine his life off the court?  The most loved person on campus…

  • marcusgresham

    Isn’t it ironic that the kid who’s probably mature enough to strike out on his own is the one wise enough to postpone it, unlike the hordes of nearly illiterate clowns dragging their entire posses with them to the NBA?

  • marcusgresham

    I’d assume CTC has told him, “while you’re there, if you happen to see any players let me know.”

  • marcusgresham

    “Watford has been ‘resting’ during the early weeks of the offseason because of a heel injury he played with throughout the season.”

    He finished on that monster tear with an injury?  Can it PLEASE be October already?

  • DarkSouth

    I’m not ready to grow up either!  I wanna be Peter Pan. 

    As great a future as all these guys have, I hope they realize they may never have more fun than they’re having now and don’t waste it.  I don’t care how good a pro career you have, being so high profile on a campus like IU while playing with guys who are truly your friends will always beat out contract squables, teammates who have to put their own career first, and traveling so much you don’t even know where you’re waking up.  As much as I’d love to be an NBA player, I’m betting these guys’ lives are more enjoyable.

  • b_side

    So what do you think about Kevin Durant, Greg Oden, Eric Gordon or any other non-illiterate clown who left school after their freshman year?

    Cody’s decision is not ironic at all if you ask me. He comes from a well-to-do family.  It’s highly unlikely either of his parents have ever worked two jobs at the same time just to put food on the table.  Many parents make sacrifices, in a sense investing in their son’s future.  And if an athlete wants to repay their parent(s) for all the hard work and dedication, who are you to judge? Just because an athlete leaves school early doesn’t make him illiterate, a clown or someone dragging their posse to the league.  In some cases, yes, the player is a “meal ticket” for lack of a better description.  No one stomps their foot when the Nationals drafted Strasburg or Harper out of high school. No one cares that any tennis player (and sometimes golfers) worth his/her weight is a pro by age 18 or earlier. 

    Anthony Davis can take a bullet for his country when he turned 18, but couldn’t put his name in the draft where he would have been a top 3 pick, maybe #1, before stepping foot in Rupp arena.

    Think about all that for a second.  To me, your words come across a bit harsh and unwarranted.

  • b_side

    So what do you think about Kevin Durant, Greg Oden, Eric Gordon or any other non-illiterate clown who left school after their freshman year?

    Cody’s decision is not ironic at all if you ask me. He comes from a well-to-do family.  It’s highly unlikely either of his parents have ever worked two jobs at the same time just to put food on the table.  Many parents make sacrifices, in a sense investing in their son’s future.  And if an athlete wants to repay their parent(s) for all the hard work and dedication, who are you to judge? Just because an athlete leaves school early doesn’t make him illiterate, a clown or someone dragging their posse to the league.  In some cases, yes, the player is a “meal ticket” for lack of a better description.  No one stomps their foot when the Nationals drafted Strasburg or Harper out of high school. No one cares that any tennis player (and sometimes golfers) worth his/her weight is a pro by age 18 or earlier. 

    Anthony Davis can take a bullet for his country when he turned 18, but couldn’t put his name in the draft where he would have been a top 3 pick, maybe #1, before stepping foot in Rupp arena.

    Think about all that for a second.  To me, your words come across a bit harsh and unwarranted.

  • Almaza865

    Well said b_side. Cody is fortunate that he has both the maturity and a family with a comfortable financial situation when making his decision to stay in school. Many other athletes don’t have the latter. I begrudge no one for making an informed decision one way or the other, that is in their particular best interest. While we can applaud Cody for his decision, we should be respectful of others that might have a different perspective.

  • InTheMtns

    Check out Dustin’s article over on the Scoop. There’s audio links at the end. No speeches by the recipients, but you can listen to the presenters. Plus each player told what their favorite moment of the season was.

  • And_One

    Take your time, my friend. The years spent as a student at IU are some of the best in a person’s life. It is a golden time, even if you aren’t a Big Deal. Stick around, Cody, and everyone wins.

  • gerald

    why would he want to be an agent? all they do is negotiate a contract, take a fee over the life of the contract, and then negotiate it again when the contract is up.

  • Outoftheloop

    I really liked the way that Remy established his game for the team. He raised his FG% to 44.4% (above Watford’s); his 3-pt % to 40% (above Oladipo and Sheehey); his FT% to 78.6% (above Zeller, Oladipo and Sheehey); his points/min was .361 (just a little behind Hulls .389 and Sheehey .384); his rebounds/min was 1.08 (ahead of Hulls .083); and his assists/min was .060 (ahead of Sheehey .049). We all saw how much he improved towards the end of the season. Remy is a solid IU returning veteran. Now we learn that he totally bought in to the team’s academic expectations. Congratulations on a very good Freshman year!

  • Outoftheloop

     I can see Cody being President of GE or any other major corporation: personable, cool, analytical, disciplined, talented, hard-working, with a real sense of humor and of self.

  • Outoftheloop

     I can see Cody being President of GE or any other major corporation: personable, cool, analytical, disciplined, talented, hard-working, with a real sense of humor and of self.

  • Miamihoosier

    With the way Luke Fischer is progressing, if he were to get a year with Cody to work with him, we might not see a huge drop off at all in the post, for 4 to 5 more seasons….can you imagine that?  A dominant 7 footer for six consecutive years?    That makes building a championship calibre team so much easier.    To mean point guard, and center are your two critical spots if you want to win it all.   That being said, I would feel so much better about our ability to contend year in and year out for the next half decade, if we could land a PG in 2013. 

  • dtfreed

    Maybe if more college kids were honest with themselves the NBA wouldn’t have so many knuckle heads. Paying 40-50% tax on all those millions will get old soon enough : )

  • Walt

    Think Marcus is overall correct. Talking about the “hordes” of one and dones.  IMO your words b- come across a bit Preachy (if that is a word)

  • 888

    I think I enjoy your comments more than anyone!! Your like the Confussus of hoops.A basketball guru if you will. Would be a blast to go party with.

  • 888

    For every good example you can give Im afraid theres 2 who should have stayed. I hear what your saying but man these bad examples could have at least got an education. If they would have been around people like the Zellers perhaps they would have made a better choice. Its just sad to see young people with that much talent make a terrible choice that effects them forever.

  • marcusgresham

    Durant, Gordon, and Oden weren’t among the list illiterate clowns of whom I was speaking.  I’m talking about the guys who aren’t anywhere near ready but listen to the hangers-on they’ve surrounded themselves with telling them how great they are because it helps that group plans on leeching off the guy.

    As for baseball, that’s an argument that has little or no merit because those (with extremely rare exceptions,) get sent to the minors where they’re allowed to progress and mature before going straight to the majors.

  • marcusgresham

    Yet there are people who think he should bolt to make room for others.

  • marcusgresham

    Yet there are people who think he should bolt to make room for others.

  • marcusgresham

    and going bankrupt.  Unless a guy has been duped by someone he trusted (once upon a time Joe Louis was bilked out of millions by his accountant, for example,) I find it virtually impossible to find sympathy for them—Antoine Walker, Allen Iverson, etc…  

  • dtfreed

    no I’m talking of the graduated income tax system being unfair, 20% of 5 million is much more than 20% of 30,000.00, but of course they want 40% of  5 million. Not feeling sorry  for them just a reminder of what is yet to come.

  • Jmfriedman

    When over 80% of NBA players whose career was less than 5 years are broke within 5 years of leaving the league, I think a  degree may have just a slight bit of value.  Except for a select few, the “one and done” kids end up wasting their long term opportunity.  It is like shooting a half court shot to win a game.  Sometimes you hit it and it is unbelievable, but overall is going to be disappointing in the end.

  • IUJeff

    Totally agree with Cody. No hurry to travel every night and have to play with entitled, enabled thugs like Artest. The total opposite of the players he will be playing with at IU. 

  • b_side

    No merit, are you serious? What kind of education are these baseball players getting in the minors?  In your theory, there would be just as many illiterate clowns playing minor league baseball as there would in college b-ball.

    Furthermore, are these minor leaguers playing for free or are they getting paid?  

  • b_side

    My intention wasn’t to preach though I can see your viewpoint after re-reading my post.  

    Playing devil’s advocate here because the issue isn’t so black and white. There are a lot of shades of gray to this story. 

  • RickSB

    I see Cody Zeller staying four years, the national championship game his senior year is at Lucas in Indianapolis. It would be awesome for him to win a championship there.

  • RickSB

    I see Cody Zeller staying four years, the national championship game his senior year is at Lucas in Indianapolis. It would be awesome for him to win a championship there.

  • marcusgresham

    Maybe looking back, I didn’t word things correctly.  Some dudes, when you hear them in interviews, make you wonder how they’d ever pass a college class in the first place.  Please, no one make the assumption that this is a racist statement because I hear players of all races who sound less than brilliant.

    Yes, you’re correct—given the sheer numbers of professional baseball players to basketball players, there are probably far more boneheads in the minors than there are in basketball.

  • marcusgresham

    Believe it or not, I filter myself far more on here than anywhere.  You miss my best material. lol

  • marcusgresham

    I guess that would suck if you were in that position.  I’d personally just like the opportunity to be in the position to complain about being in that tax bracket.

  • marcusgresham

    I guess that would suck if you were in that position.  I’d personally just like the opportunity to be in the position to complain about being in that tax bracket.

  • b_side

    Oh man, no worries – never thought you were hitting the the race issue, just came off a bit too generalized.

    Sure Derrick Rose couldn’t pass the SATs without a little “help”, but I’m not here to judge the kid for pursuing his dream after a year of college.  Same goes for any player leaving early.  It’s a game of chance.

    Overall, I just feel there’s a double standard for athletes.  Think of Mark Zuckerberg…does anyone bat an eye because he dropped out of college to build Facebook?  There were no guarantees it would turn into the billion dollar company it is today, but he took a chance like any other athlete to pursue his dream.

  • EB

    I understand what you are saying but some of those pro baseball players that are developing are also sent to school by their organizations so they do schooling while developing their skill before being ready for the pros.  Also Strasburg wasn’t drafted out of high school he went to San Diego St. Univ and was coached by Tony Gwen. 

  • b_side

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always preferred college bball to the NBA. But for every Ron Artest, there are 10 Steve Nash’s or Roy Hibberts who are great ambassadors to the league. 

  • Derbus

    Alot of indoctrinated individuals posting on here.  Zuckerberg followed his passion, believing he did not need a college degree to make that happen, and he became very successful.  Whether he made a million or a billion, he made choices without the sole focus on money.  Does anyone on here think Bill Gates quit college because he thought he would be worth $50 billion+ someday???  No, they do what they do because they live their passion.  That is why I believe Cody Zeller will gradutae @ IU b4 he goes pro, for the passion and experience. 

  • Can_Confirm

    As a fellow IU freshman, I can confirm this.

  • just sayin

    Strasburg and Harper both went to college

  • http://www.facebook.com/madmadstack Stacky George

    Here Here these are just kids & most are from condition we as American would Love to forget exist in our country! But alas they do & who are we to begrudge an 18 or 19 year older kid his slice of the American Pie more power to them!!!

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