That’s A Wrap: Nick Zeisloft

  • 04/06/2015 8:37 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2014-2015 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Nick Zeisloft.

Zeisloft (34 games): 6.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 67.4 eFG%, 45 3PFG% in 19.6 minutes per game.

When Indiana announced the addition of Illinois State transfer Nick Zeisloft back on July 7, the news was met with skepticism from many Hoosier fans.

Why would the coaching staff have interest in a player with two years of eligibility who just came off a season at Illinois State in which he made just under 36 percent of his 3-pointers? In the program’s release to announce Zeisloft’s addition, Tom Crean cited things like Zeisloft’s ability to help space the floor, physical and mental toughness and leadership and maturity on and off the floor.

It wouldn’t take long for Zeisloft to start proving critics of his addition wrong.

Less than a month after joining the program, he traveled on the foreign tour to Canada and made 11 of the 20 3-pointers he attempted. With Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson alongside him in many of the lineups IU featured in Montreal and Ottawa, Zeisloft was able to find space and splash in open looks. This was exactly the role Crean envisioned when he watched film of Zeisloft last spring and summer when contemplating whether to bring him in.

As far as leadership goes, it was clear what Crean thought of Zeisloft when he took him to Chicago for Big Ten media day as one of IU’s two player representatives last October. And days later in the aftermath of the Devin Davis accident and player suspensions, it was Zeisloft who went face to face with the media and answered questions about the current state of Indiana basketball.

“We need to keep each other very accountable for our actions on and off the court,” Zeisloft said on Nov. 5. “We have to have that accountability 24-7 and it can’t let up from that.”

The season began, the distractions started to wane and Zeisloft found his role quickly on the IU roster. He started the first five games and had 16 points in the season-opener against Mississippi Valley State. Surrounded by a deep stable of perimeter talent, defenses simply could not afford to focus on Zeisloft and his ability to move without the ball garnered him plenty of open looks.

He finished the season 63-of-140 on 3s and hit an impressive 51.4 percent from behind the arc in Big Ten games. Zeisloft’s offensive rating of 151.9 in league games was the best in the Big Ten and his overall ORtg of 139.1 was second nationally. His turnover percentage (10.0) was the best on the team.


Zeisloft struggled often as a defender, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort or communication. He frequently tried to direct the IU defense while on the court, but lacked the athleticism to keep up against some of the upper tier opponents on the schedule. That said, his overall impact was a major plus because his ability to both shoot and take care of the ball were major upgrades over those who he replaced on the roster in Austin Etherington and Evan Gordon.

Bottom Line: Zeisloft was a great addition by the IU coaching staff for a variety of reasons and the fact that he’ll return with another season of eligibility remaining should help the program moving into next season. He’s a leader on and off the floor, is arguably the best pure shooter from 3 Crean has had at Indiana and is well liked by his teammates and coaches. He certainly has room to grow on the defensive end as he enters his final season, but will provide quality guard depth and experience as the Hoosiers aim for bigger goals in 2015-2016.

Quotable: “We’ve come far, but we haven’t come far enough. We’ve got plenty left for us and we realize that. This one really hurts because we were right there.” – Zeisloft after Indiana’s loss to Wichita State

Previously: Robert Johnson, Max Hoetzel, Emmitt Holt, James Blackmon Jr.,Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams, Collin Hartman, Hanner Mosquera-Perea

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  • Jon Kee

    He’s turned out to be a great addition, but I would argue that Jordan Hulls is the best pure shooter of the Crean era, no?

  • iuoiu

    Man was he a pickup or what? Seriously Nick and Holt, two total question marks when their additions were announced turned out to be pretty darn good pieces to the team. And the best thing is that both players got great PT and experience this year, especially during the BIG season. Well played Mr. Crean, well played.

  • David Macer

    I would agree so far to date. It will be interesting to see how JBJ does in his 2nd year and perhaps his 3rd.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Outstanding pickup by Crean and staff. He did exactly what we brought him in for: shoot the lights out. I really like this guy and his presence on the floor. He showed a lot of fiery spirit at times too. No, he’s not a great defender but I think his positive still outweighs the negative.

  • OhioHoosier

    I specifically remember when NZ attempted an all-out dive at a ball when another team (maybe Michigan or Rutgers or Penn State idk) tried to roll it in and save time. It was an aggressive play and ended up in a foul I believe, but I loved it. The dude is a winner and is not afraid of the big moment.

  • OhioHoosier

    Roth has gotta be up there too

  • Rie

    Yes. James Blackmon certainly has a chance to overtake him, but as of right now, it is undoubtedly Hulls.

  • Missing Moye

    Good call. I think Hartman may be in that conversation by the time his career ends as well.

  • IU track Alumni

    Hmm I would have to argue Yogi Ferrell above anybody else on our team in the shooting category. Especially if he decides to give it another year. I haven’t looked up any stats but isn’t he pretty close to surpassing Hulls in made 3’s and career points?

  • enickman

    Matt Roth was automatic!

  • SilentBob

    I like this dude a lot and am intrigued to see what a full off season in Btown can yield for him. There is no doubt that his leadership and shooting were a great addition for this years team. That being said he is the definition of the stereotype on white basketball players. He can shoot the lights out the gym and hustles his butt off but can’t do much else.

    With this team being more experienced next year, a lot bigger, and as a result a lot higher expectations…… He is going to have to improve by leaps and bounds to help this team get to where it needs to be defensively. While saying you’re only as good as your weakest link isn’t wholly true, it is certainly true to some extent. You may not be able to make a Cadillac out of a Volkswagon, but if you add the right parts you can still make a Volkswagon into a pretty nice car.

  • SilentBob

    Excluding things like a possible national title run, having a three point contest between current and former Crean players would probably be the second most entertaining thing Crean could put together. Right behind a dunk contest and or well put together dunk montage of Vic, Will, Troy, Hanner, and Cody.

  • Kyl470

    Hulls was a career 44% on 3’s and hit 254 in his career. Roth was a career 42% on 3’s and hit 126 in his career.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Yogi is sitting at 193 made 3pfg’s. His last 2 seasons he’s made over 80 so if he returns for this next season and comes anywhere close to his average… I wouldn’t call Yogi a pure shooter though. Maybe it’s just my definition but I think of Roth, Hulls and Alford as pure shooters. Yogi is a “carry the team” point guard who happens to be a great 3 point shooter.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Oh, and yes, Yogi has already passed Hulls in career points.

  • IU track Alumni

    Well put. Thanks for the info!

  • IUBizmark

    That shot chart is other worldly. Never seen anything like it in my life.
    You know that was printed off by the opponents before every IU game and he still manged to do it night in and night out.

  • Eljay

    Nick impressed me when he handled the media after Devin’s accident (…and other assorted issues with the team). When I saw his poise under pressure, I thought “This kid was a great ‘get'”…

    …and then he proceeded to start tossing in treys!

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    I agree wholly.
    I think both players came out and gave 110% when they got the chance.
    Those are the types of players I like best, the ones who give their all no matter what their particular talent is.

  • Speed

    Nick represents IU well unlike the poor sportsmanship demonstrated by some UK players after their loss. Of course Calipari defended them stating they were only boys and boys make mistakes. You win with class and then you lose with class, something Coach Cal obviously forgot to teach.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    That was THE worst officiated game I have witnessed in my life! Their reviewed calls were pathetic. I now hate DUKE cuz of the obviously tainted calls.

  • SilentBob

    Yepp it was bad but it went both ways. The missed replay was a joke, but there was at least one clean block called for a foul on Okafor and another phantom foul. Plus the usual traveling by Frank and Sam. The Badgers three stepped all the way to the title game. Jk kind of, but both teams were worthy of hoisting the trophy. Yes there were bad calls but that happens every season, all season since good Dr. Naismith invented the game

  • Ryan Goods

    I had my skepticism too, but boy was I wrong. I’m a huge NZ fan now. We all know he can shoot the lights out when he’s feeling it, but I love his motor and tenacity everytime he plays. Reminds me of how energetic Sheehey used to get. Diving for lose balls, playing hard nosed D even when he’s over matched, and how about the maturity and leadership. Can’t wait to see what he does next year.

  • Dave Carnes

    James needs to realize how hard he needs to work to be a college player.If he focuses on being a college player he can be good.All this talk of pro ball by kids that aren’t even close makes me squeamish.

  • Dave Carnes

    Perhaps third?This kid ain’t a pro.f he ever is it will be after four years and some hard work.

  • esapata

    I have to agree. He has the offensive tools, but his defense just isn’t there yet. He has a lot of work to do, but I think he can get there.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    that buffoon call occurred at a pivotal moment in the game with the Badgers down 5 and less than 2 minutes to play. They get the ball, score, completely different outcome. Duke did not win objectively, but was awarded the game by unethical influences. Sux for the Badgers.

  • SilentBob

    All moments of the game are pivotal and so are all blown calls. That’s why they play for forty minutes and not two. Had Okafor and Winslow not gotten in foul trouble from terrible calls, who knows maybe we’re talking about a double digit Duke victory. Same if they had called two travels on Kaminsky and Dekker. Or this or that on Duke. Both teams came to play and at the end of it Wisconsin had no answer for Dukes two freshmen guards.

  • SCHoosier

    Nick more than earned his keep last season. After a period of early games..when h e took quick three’s (to Coach’s disliking)..Nick settled down. Frankly..during our end of year slump in the conference..I didn’t think he took enuff shots. A great defender neither were most of the other Hoosiers. He did battle..and tried hard on the boards. Glad we got him..and I think he will figure out his role quickly. NZ is our best 3 pt shooter..and if he can get an open away!

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    the plays under review should NEVER be called incorrectly if there is 100% video evidence to support a call. just sayin’ . . .

  • SilentBob

    In there mind it wasn’t enough. Can’t blame them it was close. Also I’m not sure how great of an angle and zooming abilities they are given compared to what we see at home. Blame the refs not Duke. There is no reason to think if that call was correct that Wisconsin would have won.