2012-2013 Player Profile: Cody Zeller

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Cody Zeller.

Key stats: 15.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 62.3 FG%, 11.2 OR%, 75.5 FT%, 67.3 free throw rate

When Cody Zeller signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Indiana on Nov. 11, 2010, he was immediately tabbed as the savior of Indiana basketball. And while such a title is unfair to place on one player, Zeller has lived up to every expectation cast upon him and then some.

As he enters his second season in Bloomington, the expectations have ratcheted up another level. Big Ten Player of the Year and National Player of the Year are two of the many preseason accolades he’s already collected. But having followed Zeller closely since he was finishing up his sophomore season at Washington High School, it’s become clear that outside expectations don’t have much of an effect on him. That’s because he expects and demands more out of himself than anyone else.

So what, precisely, can Zeller do to follow up on a debut season that was phenomenal?

Tom Crean has touted Zeller in recent interviews as the most improved player (along with Will Sheehey) on the roster and that could end up being scary for the Big Ten. Now a true 7-footer, he’s added 15 pounds of muscle since the end of the season. He’ll likely begin the season at close to 240 pounds after weighing 212 when he arrived on campus in June of 2011. The added weight doesn’t figure to slow him down at all, which is important for arguably the nation’s best running big man.

A perimeter game for Zeller, who didn’t operate much offensively outside of eight to ten feet a season ago, may also surface. “I kind of have to, just because I don’t want to be double teamed the whole game,” he said recently at the IU media challenge. “We’ll kind of move me around a little bit just to kind of make it tough to double team.” The ability to knock down mid-range shots or even 3-pointers isn’t necessarily something new for Zeller. He did it regularly in his prep and AAU career, but integrating it into his game at Indiana will make him even tougher to cover.

Rebounding will also be another point of emphasis for IU’s sophomore center, who led the team as a freshman. The Hoosiers ranked eighth in defensive rebounding during Big Ten play last season and Zeller figures to be a key to improvement in that area.

Bottom line: There’s a strong case to be made that Zeller is the premier player in all of college basketball. He makes everyone around him better and his efficiency in scoring the ball is remarkable. As a sophomore, he projects as an even more well-rounded player who should benefit tremendously from an offseason where he keyed on strength, conditioning and footwork. Another factor that could come into play for Zeller is becoming more of a vocal leader, an area that didn’t show itself much in games last season. If the Hoosiers are to hang banner No. 6 in April of 2013, Zeller will be front and center in their efforts.

Quotable: “I don’t really care (where we’re ranked). The beginning of the season doesn’t matter too much. We’re trying to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season, so we’re not really worried about it at the beginning of the season.” – Zeller at the media challenge

PreviouslyDerek ElstonChristian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Maurice CreekVictor Oladipo, Will Sheehey, Remy Abell

  • http://www.facebook.com/geoff.chenoweth Geoff Chenoweth

    When (not if) he starts making outside shots, he will be unstoppable. Black eye, scratched up arms, taped fingers – he embodies the toughness that makes this team great.

  • iudawg

    Yes. Life is a bit sweeter with Big Z in Candy Stripes!!!

  • HoosierTrav

    I love this kid for coming to IU. All Indiana star high school players need to pay attention to the celebrity that is Cody Zeller and ask themselves, “Can University-x offer me this?” they will eventually realize the answer is NO! You can get all that the UK’s and UNC’s offer and some. Remember, history tends to repeat itself and our history is RICH and well overdue for a payday. Get on board boys!

  • Jethro Troll

    IU has depth and talent, but their title hopes rests on Zeller. If he’s become the monster I think he is, IU is clearly the favorite to win the NC. This kid is that good.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Cody is averaging 20 and 12 on the video game I downloaded current rosters on… Ha it’d be nice to see video games come to life. He’s got the ability, I think he averages over 9 boards a game this year.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    And the good gets better. If CZ simply maintained what he did last year, it’d still end up being a good year for the Hooisers. But he’s bigger, stronger, and has a year of experience under his belt? My God… I feel like opposing coaches are going to be found on their floors muttering Kurtz-like “The horror…. the horror…”.

    And if Sheehey’s upped his game too… my God. We might actually be back in the position of turning opposing coaches catatonic while game planning.

    Man, the future feels so good right now, doesn’t it?

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    what would be even better is if CZ decides to stay in school!! maybe 1 year with yogi won’t be enough!! ready for the season to start…

  • MomAlum

    And so humble, SMART, TEAM player, just an all around Great Kid! I can’t wait for this season to begin. Just seeing the team together at the football game this past weekend gave me chills. Proud of the iufb…but can’t wait for iubb!! Banner 6 is on the horizon. Who knows, if Zeller sticks around for his degree, might even manage Banner 7 before he leaves?!?!

  • MomAlum

    And so humble, SMART, TEAM player, just an all around Great Kid! I can’t wait for this season to begin. Just seeing the team together at the football game this past weekend gave me chills. Proud of the iufb…but can’t wait for iubb!! Banner 6 is on the horizon. Who knows, if Zeller sticks around for his degree, might even manage Banner 7 before he leaves?!?!

  • IUMIKE1

    What else can you say that hasn’t already been said.

    Wait till this year is in full swing and CZ will give us plenty of new things to say.

  • MillaRed

    If 10 of us sat down 2 years ago and were granted a single wish between us that would take this program to the next level, there is no doubt it would be the addition of Cody Zeller knowing what we know now.

    His importance in every aspect simply cannot be quantified.

  • MillaRed

    If 10 of us sat down 2 years ago and were granted a single wish between us that would take this program to the next level, there is no doubt it would be the addition of Cody Zeller knowing what we know now.

    His importance in every aspect simply cannot be quantified.

  • IUMIKE1

    Not that it matters and not that none of us feel any different but CZ is currently the runaway leader on CBS Sports opinion poll question right now for who will POY.

    Evidently pUKe fans haven’t seen it yet and started picking someone else just cause thats just the way most of them roll.

  • SCHoosier

    Cody the first round draft choice needs to show he can score facing the basket, Cody the leader of IU’s march to the Final four needs to be more of a defensive intimadator and board hog. I’m bettin’ this kid accomplishes al three!

  • IUMIKE1

    Here, here…. in my best British Parliament voice while raising a pint of Guinness.

  • Hoosier22

    its too bad he’s gonna be leaving after this season..he’s already got enough credits to graduate

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    He’s big and handsome.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    He’s big and handsome.

  • jaywiz

    I mean, the guy isn’t THAT good. I’d put him second team all big ten.

  • calbert40

    I think you are right, Milla. Honestly, I don’t think it is hyperbole to say that he is the single most important recruit in the history of Indiana basketball. Without his addition, I doubt we get a lot of the guys we have over the past few seasons.

    I had high expectations, but he has exceeded them. What a fantastic player, foundation block and young man. Still so excited that he is a Hoosier!!

  • Mel Piepho

    I don’t think that he has enough credits to graduate by the end of this year. People on this website were saying that it would take him until the middle of his junior to have enough credits. Many of his earlier credits were probably from Advanced Placement tests or something else. Also, it’s harder to take 3-hr upper class courses than simple 5-hr under-class courses. I think that he will listen a lot to his brother Tyler in regards to turning pro. He could easily stay his junior year and work on improving things like his outside shot.

  • Jake

    Sarcasm?

  • HoosierRyno

    Or pUKe fan?

  • HoosierRyno

    Or pUKe fan?

  • Derbus

    Cody arrived w/ 16 credit hrs. He took 6 hrs his frosh Summer and 12 this Summer. Add a full load of 15/semester and total of 94 hrs after 2 years. Couple that with attending the Kelley SoB, a top 20 program nationally, I do not see how he can accomplish it before 3 years.

    Compare his major to a pUKe major, they major in watching tobacco plants grow! Lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.evers.7 Brandon Evers

    I would take 9 boards a game. He has to ave more then 6.6 rpg if they want to go far in the tourney. I remember a few games he would get 2 to 4 rpg. His size and skill alone should get him close to 10.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.evers.7 Brandon Evers

    I would take 9 boards a game. He has to ave more then 6.6 rpg if they want to go far in the tourney. I remember a few games he would get 2 to 4 rpg. His size and skill alone should get him close to 10.

  • marcusgresham

    Zeller and Watford need to combine for about 15-17 rebounds a game. At least.

  • marcusgresham

    Zeller and Watford need to combine for about 15-17 rebounds a game. At least.

  • marcusgresham

    The British Parliament voice is OK, but given the circumstances the beer should be a Red Stripe.

  • skotchie

    Stay all four and hang up three.

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