Cody Zeller declares for 2013 NBA Draft

  • 04/10/2013 5:36 pm in

IUMSUITH0005Those close to Cody Zeller said they didn’t know what his decision would be in the days following Indiana’s season-ending loss to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen. His older brother Tyler, now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, was even asked about it before Tuesday night’s game against the Pacers.

But in reality, Zeller kind of knew all along. It’s time to go to the next level.

“After awhile, you just kind of know,” Zeller said at a press conference in Assembly Hall on Wednesday afternoon. “I kind of knew, barring a serious injury, that this might be my last year.”

And so you have it. The young man who helped bring Indiana basketball back will forego his final two college seasons and enter June’s NBA Draft. He joins teammate Victor Oladipo, who declared for the draft on Tuesday.

“I know what we’re losing,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said, “I’ve got the stat sheets. But I don’t dwell on that. People were really looking forward to the opportunity to come play with Cody and win with Cody, and that’s exactly what they did.”

Zeller is projected by many experts to be a lottery pick, though his stock has slipped some from the beginning of the season. Zeller averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game for the Hoosiers last season.

When he told his teammates about his decision to declare, Zeller said they weren’t surprised.

“I think those guys kind of expected it,” Zeller said. “The people that have been helping me the most to make the decisions, I tried to have them put themselves in my shoes with what they would do in my situation. A lot of my teammates would tell me to go to the NBA because if they had the opportunity that I have, I think they would do the same thing.”

Zeller, like Oladipo, has not yet signed with an agent, but plans to shortly. He also plans to finish his business degree at Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, where he will need 35 more credits after this semester to graduate. Zeller said it will take him two summers to finish.

“These past two years have been probably the best two years of my life,” Zeller said. “I could have made a case for either side. Obviously, my education is definitely important to me. … But I had to do what is best for me. I feel like this is the best thing for me.”

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  • jermhoosierfan

    I am surprised? No. Do I want to be greedy and want him back for one more year? Hell yeah. But when it is your dream and have this opportunity? You got to do it. Nothing but the best is what I wish for him. I do think that the team next your will have an edge to it like last year’s which isn’t a bad thing. Will will be the leader to show the new kids how hard you have to work to have success in the B1G. Good Luck, Cody and Victor. Been a joy to watch you two play although my wife still says you aren’t ready, Cody.

  • jermhoosierfan

    I am surprised? No. Do I want to be greedy and want him back for one more year? Hell yeah. But when it is your dream and have this opportunity? You got to do it. Nothing but the best is what I wish for him. I do think that the team next your will have an edge to it like last year’s which isn’t a bad thing. Will will be the leader to show the new kids how hard you have to work to have success in the B1G. Good Luck, Cody and Victor. Been a joy to watch you two play although my wife still says you aren’t ready, Cody.

  • IU80

    The legacy that Victor, Cody and the Seniors have left is a culture of hard work, way beyond what’s expected. Talent (physical and intelligence) alone is not what IU is all about; it is about what you do with it.

  • Mike from Starke County

    I can’t find fault with Victor or Cody making the decision to leave IU and go to the next level. They decided to be a part of Indiana basketball at a very tough time when they could have gone elsewhere. They and the people they love will benefit from it and they helped bring IU out of a situation that I never could have imagined. Will I think about what could have been sometime during the 2014 Big 10 season? Absolutely, but the love I developed for Indiana Basketball when I moved to Northern Indiana as an 8 year old from the South Side of Chicago taught me that IUBB is something bigger than any coach or player can give me. Good luck to both of them, to next year’s team and most importantly, GO HOOSIERS!

  • Mike from Starke County

    I can’t find fault with Victor or Cody making the decision to leave IU and go to the next level. They decided to be a part of Indiana basketball at a very tough time when they could have gone elsewhere. They and the people they love will benefit from it and they helped bring IU out of a situation that I never could have imagined. Will I think about what could have been sometime during the 2014 Big 10 season? Absolutely, but the love I developed for Indiana Basketball when I moved to Northern Indiana as an 8 year old from the South Side of Chicago taught me that IUBB is something bigger than any coach or player can give me. Good luck to both of them, to next year’s team and most importantly, GO HOOSIERS!

  • Champswest

    Cody was a credit to Indiana basketball. The B1G will miss him.

  • To many homers on here. Im glad cody will make a living doing what he loves but im an IU fan not an nba fan ans Cody simply wasnt ready for the next level. some B10 games he looked lost. Syracuse made him look small and weak. Most real IU fans know he needed one more season period.

  • There are a multitude of national stories and posts on our two future NBA Stars, however Indiana Fans when they read these stories should post and inform the masses that both of these players will have a college degree. We need separation from the NBA farm teams, and that will help cement our reputation as place sought out by quality recruits.

  • AZIU71

    You still don’t get it. He’s being drafted on his potential not the player he is now. And by the way, my children are grown but if your children or grand-kids are looking for a role model or someone to emulate, try Cody Zeller.

  • cdog

    It would be hard for anyone, you and I included, to turn down a dream job that will pay him $6 million guaranteed over the next three years. His brothers will teach him what he needs to learn to become a long term player in the NBA. Worst case scenario is he is a bust and gets a job one year later than he would have anyway with millions in the bank. Most likely he is a 12-14 year guy and whether he becomes a regular starter or just a journey player, he will make more money in his career than 99% of the population. Kelly business students are tought this concept and Cody learned well. Good luck and thanks for making IU better.

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    Thanks to 4 and 40. Helped bring back Indiana hoops and I am forever grateful. Bottom line Cody needs a big man to work with him and finely tune his craft, he simply was not getting that at this level from Crean and staff. If he had a 15 foot jumper or actual post moves like great big men, we win the title, period. I am ready for Crean to get in “his kinda guys” the next few years and see what his offense truly is instead of the ’84 Lakers fast break offense that we relayed on heavily this season. Then we will really see what kind of coach this guy is because his recruiting greatness is still up in the air with “the movement” being, for the most part, a an over hyped failure with only one player contributing significant minutes, another contributing some at the end of the season and the other 2 nearly unplayable and the 3rd winding up at a prep school and another university. Sorry if my expectations are tempered at this point. Some guys are builders and some make money inside the business once its built. Call me greedy but I want to make some money

  • SCHoosier

    I think the GM who will write the big check when Cody is drafted probably thinks differently..and yes..some of that money will be bet on Cody’s potential. Ready or not..here he comes.

  • Darkside9861

    I am not worried. I think with Noah and Luke, this team could still be just as good. From what I hae seen, Luke could be just as good as Zeller if not tougher. I am not saying he can run the floor like Zeller could but he might be more intimidating in the middle than Zeller. Other opponents knew Zeller had lost his edge in the middle towards the end of the season.

  • calbert40

    Count me as a “homer” then, because I think he made the right decision for himself. He will only get better, and this is a down year for the NBA draft whereas next season is expected to be ridiculously deep. I don’t know exactly how much a draftee makes based on draft position, but the difference between Top 10 and around 15-20 is MILLIONS of dollars. No brainer decision for him.

    IU fans who are mad that he jumped are looking at it selfishly. I’d love to have him back, but one can hardly blame him for making this decision. He will probably make more money in the next three years than most of us will in our lifetimes!

  • calbert40

    I read a scouting report on him, and you hit it on the head: 10-12 years in the league as an athletic PF who would start on a mediocre team or play rotational minutes on a good team. Hard to blame him for jumping.

  • Wouldn’t go that far, but I’d say he will do a lot better than many around the country think, the NBA is a lot more finesse-based, and the refs call games way tighter than in college

  • achurt

    I think you are severely under valuing Cody Zeller. I’m very confident that Luke won’t be half the player Zeller is offensively… and he still might be a very nice freshman big man. However, hopefully he isnt a defensive liability like Zeller was. If he can play defense – you may be on to something.
    I hope you’re right about Luke… and i especially hope you are right about next year’s team being just as good, but i just don’t see it. We lose our stud, our universe… Zeller. We lose all of our shooters. We lose our best defender.
    I thought if Z stayed – we were a title contender. Without him – i think we are a top 25ish team.

  • BlakeD1223

    I agree, he had to go. The draft next year will have more talent. He couldn’t take the chance of his stock going down more next year. A couple things to think about as well is that Zeller probably won’t get double teamed in the pros like he did in college. I also think the NBA will use him more as a shooter then a post player. I think he’ll be good. He won’t be a superstar but my gosh if Juan Howard can still be in the league then there’s a place for Cody!

  • Actually college is after there freshman year for basketball.

  • Purdue players want to leave early too but the KFC in West Lafayette only has so many places on its roster.

  • calbert40

    I think it is unfair to say a) Cody didn’t get better because of CTC and b) to question his recruiting effectiveness due to the “Movement” being less than advertised.

    Regarding Cody’s improvement, I think he did improve. His per game averages increased in points, rebounds, assists and minutes (not getting into foul trouble every game like last season). He didn’t have off-the-charts improvement like Vic, but when your freshman season is 15.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.4 steals, etc…it is hard to show marked improvement on your stat line. JMO.

    Regarding CTC’s recruiting chops, let’s just nip this argument in the bud right now! Let’s ignore his first season in B’Town, because he built that roster with spit, duct tape and toothpicks (other than Tijan, of course). Look at his other classes.

    2009 – Hits: CWat, Jordy, Misses – Bawa, Capo, Injury issues: Mo, Elston
    2010 – Hits: Oladipo, Sheehey, Miss – Guy-Marc (got screwed by NCAA)
    2011 – Hits: Cody, Incomplete grades: Etherington, Remy
    2012 – Hit: Yogi, Incomplete grades: Hollowell, HMP, Injury: Jurkin.

    He has had an unmitigated hit or two in every class. I still think if Mo hadn’t gotten severely injured like he did, we would’ve turned it around sooner than we did, and we may have had a longer season this year. It is easy to forget that he was the BEST player in that ’09 class, which I believe is CTC’s best class to date. I think it is too early to grade AE, Remy, JH and HMP. I believe at least one if not two will be placed in the Hits list soon. Add to this that we have had at least one hit each season, it is very realistic to believe that Vonleh, Williams, Robinson and/or Fischer will have a strong shot to make that list within the next couple of seasons.

    And let’s not forget that all of this recruiting has basically happened when we were awful. Now we are strong, and recruits are taking notice.

  • Ben Ancelet

    I don’t think cutting down the nets in Assembly made the team any less hungry for a title. Something I did think towards the end of the year is the players looked tired to me. They looked like they had run out of gas. We peaked in February and looked like we were on empty in the tournament. I know CTC is known for his hard practices, but if even Oladipo looks a bit tired maybe dial it back a bit towards the end of the year the next time we have a title contender.

  • Tom S

    It’s different because the rules are established by the leagues – NBA, NFL, MLB – and not by the NCAA.

  • I think there is a strong possibility that VO will be rookie of the year. Both will be on lottery eligible teams, meaning they should get minutes. I think VO starts and averages 15+ points, 2 steals, 5 rebounds a game and averages 30 minutes a game. I predict both will play in the rookie all star game. I think Cody will put up numbers similar to Tyler in his first two seasons, then likely blossom into a solid starter with 15pts/8reb per game.

  • AZIU71

    You got it,either fatigue or overwhelming pressure but they lacked energy.

  • Ole Man

    No, most REAL Indiana fans are cheering for both Cody and Vic.
    He didn’t need another season in the B1G being hacked on every shot.
    He didn’t need another season of “side-ways” development.
    Michael, your wrong both in your evaluation and in what most Indiana fans “know”.

  • InTheMtns

    Personally, I think you are right about fatigue. The players and the coaching staff said on several occasions that the players weren’t tired and CTC said he’d cut back practices early to guard against fatigue.

    But, look at the shooting percentages of each of our four 1000-point scorers and we see a significant drop off during the month of March. To me that says no legs. No legs suggests fatigue. Physical, emotional, mental, or combination of all three, I don’t know; but I think the team was tired in March.

  • Kenneth234

    Whether the team peaked or not is difficult. Perhaps they simply reached their full potential for this past season, and their upside was not as high as some other teams had, but more than anything else this team had a poor night against a team that presented a lot of problems stylistically for them. Overall, I do think that the expectations were a bit high. Sure Zeller was pretty consistent in his production, but still had some weaknesses. Watford was always been a better perimeter player than a post player, Oladipo was certainly the bright spot. Hulls had a tough time getting his offensive flow going in many games, and to expect Ferrell as a true freshman point guard to play at a level to make up for many of this teams deficiencies is unfair, but he also had some of his own deficiencies that popped up from time to time. The bench was quite disappointing; Sheehey was generally a major plus all season, Hollowell grew into a dependable player eventually, but Abel had a very poor Big Ten season campaign. Then the injuries to Elston, Creek, Etherington, Perea, and Jurkin all rendered them less than dependable as well. Considering all that, they still won 29 games, won the Big Ten Conference outright, won the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, and made a return to the Sweet 16; to me that is an excellent season. Just the expectations were a little to grand. They certainly were capable of reaching such a lofty goal if many things fell right for them, however, to make a National Championship an expectation to which anything less is a failure is certainly as unfair as expectations get.

  • Kenneth234

    Personally, I feel more confident in the player that Fischer is coming into Bloomington than I did about the player that Zeller was coming in. Perhaps it is the increased amount of video I have seen of Fischer than I seen of Zeller, but I see a player that in High School knows his game better than Cody knew his. That doesn’t mean that I think he will be as good as Zeller was as a freshman next year, but I do think that Luke will get big minutes and settle into whatever role he is asked to play next year. And not to criticize Watford, but I do not think that he was a front court player that Zeller needed to have around him in order for him to utilize his mid-range shooting game that he could have had, that Fischer will have in Vonleh. Watford was a 6’9″ SF who was playing out of position, and for the most part did an admirable job, but Vonleh and Fischer will be able to play inside and out because they both are capable of rebounding and stretching the opponents defense away from the basket making it more difficult to double either of them.

    We are loosing a lot of shooting ability with Watford and Hulls moving on, however I think Sheehey and Hollowell will make up for quite a bit of that long range shooting. Yogi, Abel, Robinson, and Williams can also contribute in these areas as well. I would love to say that Creek and Etherington will also make a lot of this up, but knowing that someone will have to go to make the scholarship limit work, I don’t know who will be the odd man out. Perhaps they will both return, which may mean that either Davis or Hartman will look into post graduate school somewhere or even that Jurkin could transfer.

    However, personally I would favor either Creek becoming a graduate assistant coach, or Hartman or Davis going to a post graduate school for a year, and come in for the 2014 class with another year of development to their game. Overall, I just think that Jurkin with his size can be developed into a dependable defensive player off the bench in the next couple of seasons, and perhaps a stop gap starting Center in his Senior season that would make interior scoring difficult for other teams with his length. It is just hard to teach 7 feet tall into kids who are not. As Hoosier fans we should be accustomed to 7 footers who are 3 year projects, because we have had our share of them over the last couple of decades. Crean may have brought us Bawa, Jobe, but that doesn’t mean that Jurkin is likely to pan out the same way. Not every big man is going to provide major dividends right away, some you just have to wait on. And I hope he gets that chance.

  • Kenneth234

    I actually think that when this year’s recruiting class is evaluated in a few years, it will be far better than even the 2009 class turned out to be for the Hoosier. Even if one or more of these players leave early to the NBA, there is every indication that Williams, Vonleh, Robinson, and Fischer have potential to be impact players right away. Davis and Hartman may not make quite the splash that the others could right away, but in a couple of seasons they could be the engine that drives and the leaders of some new highly talented Hoosiers on very good teams.

  • Kenneth234

    Those are lofty expectations for Victor I believe. Not to take anything away from the young man, but he didn’t even average 15+ against college competition. I would expect him to find a role on whatever team he goes to, but be a supporting cast player for a year or two before really establishing a more developed offensive game. If I had to put some numbers out, I would say he averages 5 to 9 PPG, under 2 steals (more likely 1 per game), and about 3 rebounds per game in about 25 minutes per game. But there is certainly nothing wrong with that level of contribution, for many teams that could be the difference between 5 and 15 wins, which is what Victor is best at providing. The will to win is what will eventually make Victor a wanted commodity for any NBA team in the future.

  • calbert40

    I agree with you. I am trying to temper my expectations, but I have a hard time believing that this class won’t be better than the ’09 class…barring serious injury. I still have trouble letting go of what might have been if Creek hadn’t ever gotten hurt!

  • Kenneth234

    I believe that Creek if he had not gotten hurt would have moved on to the NBA after his second season with the Hoosiers. A player that could create his own shot, had a high energy level, and could get extremely hot from time to time would have heard the rumors of a high draft choice very early on.

  • Anne Jam

    Cody Zeller will not be in the NBA in 4 years, he needed to develop
    some moves, period. He was shut down by every single double team. His
    inaility to estalish apost presence is why we were made to look foolish
    against syracuse, he cant pass, shoot jumpers or dribble. He needed a
    skyhook, some passing skills would help. I think it is an insult that he
    simply discarded a free education. There are young men sacrificing
    their lives to get a partial payment on an education its called the GI
    bill. I think he and his family should be ashamed of themselves. Cody
    agreed to take a scholarship for a free education and reneged. I think
    he is an example of all that is wrong with our country. Further, there
    is no way he is makes it in the NBA. He struggled against James Madison
    for cryin out loud. Instead of becoming legend he has earned the
    eternal Ire of REAL hoosier fans, he is a chump. if you are for him and
    happy for him, you are not a hoosier, you just became a fan because you
    are currently attending but will soon forget Indiana after you leave or
    its just the in thing in your neighorhood to do right now. He a had a
    chance to help indiana achieve true greatness next year but passed on it
    because of some internal character flaw. No Cody Zeller the REAL
    Hoosier Nation will never forgive you

  • Anne Jam

    I wish ITH would ban ole man all he ever does is down other people and ask ITH to ban them or delete, this is a really offensive comment.

  • Ole Man

    You obviously have a personal vendetta against me. Why, I’m not sure.
    I haven’t asked ITH to ban or delete anyone.
    There is nothing offensive in my comment. Michael made a strong statement; I strongly disagree.

  • Anne Jam

    you are always trying to be thought police and that is so unamerican