2015-2016 Player Profile: Nick Zeisloft

  • 10/22/2015 9:09 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Nick Zeisloft.

It’s a story we all know by now.

The addition of Illinois State transfer Nick Zeisloft raised a curious eyebrow from some IU fans last summer. But by season’s end, Zeisloft’s addition had won just about everyone over — and then some.

Statistically speaking, Zeisloft finished second in the country in offensive rating (139.1) for all players regardless of possessions used, finishing just a touch behind John Simons of Central Michigan (141.8). In conference play, Zeisloft sported a 151.9 offensive rating, good for best in the Big Ten.

Offensive rating measures an individual’s offensive efficiency and there was no denying Zeisloft’s excellence in that category. As primarily a 3-point shooter, the Lyons Township product connected often from behind the arc. Do it a high percentage as Zeisloft did (45.0 percent, 32nd best in country), and that’s how you become just about the most efficient offensive player in Division I college basketball.

While Zeisloft clearly has good technique and form on his shot, he’s also supremely confident in his shooting ability. He thinks every shot is going in and that mentality keeps his spirits high when he’s in the midst of an off night.

Yet, despite his superior 3-point shooting, Zeisloft has work to do elsewhere with his game. Start with defense. While his D didn’t stand out in the way James Blackmon Jr.’s often did, his size, athleticism and speed can put him at a disadvantage against some of the better talent in the Big Ten. Zeisloft is unlikely to become an elite defender, but if he buys into the team concept, gives high effort and communicates, it can go a long way in raising his defensive abilities.

“He’s improving defensively and knows he has to,” Tom Crean said at Big Ten media day.

Zeisloft has also been working on expanding his offensive game to make him more than just a shooter. That includes work with Indiana’s guards on getting to the rim and drawing fouls.

“We don’t want to take it away from him being a great shooter, but he has to get fouled,” Crean said. “He’s got a chance to be an 85, 90 percent free throw shooter.”

Bottom Line: On a team stacked with offensive talent, Zeisloft has earned his keep. But to go out with a bang in his senior season and help Indiana reach elite status, he needs to evolve beyond just being a shooter. If he can show more versatility on offense and improved defense, Zeisloft will be hard to keep off the court. He’s also a mentally tough, mature kid that can pass on some of his wisdom to Indiana’s freshman this season.

Quotable: “Definitely shooting a lot on your own. Form shooting. And just working on different things with your shot is what I do. You can’t just shoot it one way sometimes. You’re going to be put in tough situations where you have to shoot it when you’re open, when you’re guarded, when you’re rushed — just working all types of situations is how you can improve your shooting. And if you have a great shot to begin with,  your percentage after that.” – Zeisloft at Big Ten media day when asked how he can improve upon his elite 3-point shooting

Previously: Thomas Bryant, Juwan Morgan, O.G. Anunoby, Harrison NiegoTim Priller, Robert Johnson, James Blackmon Jr., Troy Williams, Collin Hartman, Max Bielfeldt, Ryan Burton

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  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    great addition to the team last year, love his confidence. i think he could average double figures this season, primarily behind the arc. come to think of it, i think we’re gonna see several double digit averages: YF, JBJ, TW for sure. TB, NZ very likely. RJ wouldn’t surprise me. CH will have multiple double digit games. bottom line, if one player is having an off night, there will be more than a few others who can step up. should be a fun season

  • sarge

    Agree 100%, well said.

  • GaHoosier

    Nick has been a great addition to this team…on and off the court. He understands that wearing the candy stripes is a privilege!

    I don’t know if he will average double figures a game due to lack of playing time, but I do believe he is a necessary piece to make a deep tourney run.

    I wish they would run some double screens to get him open shots. But with this dribble drive offense…set plays such as this don’t happen.

    Thanks Nick for being a Hoosier. You have earned your stripes.

  • BC Hoosier

    Big NZ fan. He always seemed to hit timely shoots that stopped or started a run. I think his minutes may dip slightly this year with the talent they have, but with not a ton of guard depth and CTC wanting to play 3 guard line-ups, he’ll still see the floor enough to make an impact.
    I could see Morgan and Zeisloft’s minutes tied together depending on the opponent….play a bigger team JM minutes increase, smaller team Zeisloft picks up more minutes.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    right on, need more guys like him

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    my guess is we’ll still see the 3g lineup. now that the frontcourt is thinned out, CTC’s probably thinking he needs to keep MB on the bench to sub for TB in case he gets into foul trouble. doubt we’ll see those two on the floor at the same time very often

  • Miamihoosier

    ESPN ranked Indiana 2nd in the Big Ten overall, and under the team description, called us “the golden state warriors” of college basketball. This offense, along with the improved shot clock, is going to be a blast to watch.

  • sarge

    I agree that we will probably start the 3 guards like we did last year. But look for Colin to come in and take Troy’s spot at the 4 and move Troy to the 3. You have to start your most talented lineup which is probably still the small ball lineup with TB. I can see more subbing earlier, especially with NZ, CH and MB being very capable at multiple positions. I think our other guys on the bench will be role players and will be inserted into the lineup to fulfill a specific need against certain teams and situations. I know a lot of people doubted CTC on NZ coming in last year and what an addition he turned out to be. I have a ton of faith in what CTC can see in a players game before they get to IU. He isn’t RMK, but I am impressed every year at what things CTC does well at.

  • IULore

    Stop griping about the offense. He would do no better in any other system

  • straight no chaser

    Stop griping, period!

  • GaHoosier

    At no point did I gripe about the offense. I merely stated that I wished they had set plays for Z. I never downplayed the dribble drive offense. Once again, I merely stated that the system doesn’t focus around set plays such as double screens for an open shot.

    I like IUs offense. They score points and are fun to watch.

    If you read any of my posts over the past several years, I don’t believe I ever said anything negative about the offense. Other than two years ago when we didn’t have anyone that could hit a shot (other than Yogi), but even then it was about the horrible shooting and not the offensive system.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I think the 3 Guard Line up depends on how far along JM is. If JM is able to be where EH was then that gives us More bigs in the rotation and takes a lot of pressure off MB and TB. Keep in mind JM was a top 100 and a 4 Star.

  • straight no chaser

    You shouldn’t have to apologize for what you said, even if you didn’t like our offense.

  • sarge

    Valid point, maybe he and OG get more minutes than we expect. It will be a fun and interesting season as it plays out with some very good competition and matchups. Is it November yet?

  • IULore

    sorry I didn’t research you posts over the past several years

  • sarge

    I hope this year’s squad is as defensive minded as these fan posts!

  • straight no chaser

    And as offensive, LOL!

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Cannot wait and the speculation of what may or may not happen is part of the anticipation of the season and it’s awesome.

  • IUBizmark

    Despite my best efforts, anytime I see “NZ” in anyone’s post, my mind always says “Noah Zonleh.” I am not a smart man…

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    what gets JM on the floor is the same thing CH said got him on the floor: hustle, defense, rebounding (i can’t remember exactly what it was, but i know hustle was in there!). with the firepower this team has, that’s all he needs to worry about. so who knows, he could be a pleasant surprise this season.

  • straight no chaser

    We are actually not a very fast team, at least not in the sense of time per possession. See our AdjT stats on kenpom for the last few years. We might be fast-moving, but we move a lot before we take a shot. I’m happy to proven wrong, but this is my reading of the stats. Now we may be different this year …

  • MK

    Many fans see what they want to see. There are plenty of screen set in our offense. Just because it is called the “dribble drive” doesn’t mean there aren’t set plays or screens.

  • GaHoosier

    You guys are really making me regret posting. I think I’m gonna stick to the Forum. I do see what I want to see, and I know they have set plays and they set screens…but once again I just mentioned set a double screen for Z. I watched every game last year…and I can’t remember seeing a set double screen play to get Z an open three!

    That is all. I’m done.

    Thanks Nick and have a great year!

  • TomJameson

    I see your point, but I think the addition of a premium talent like TB will speed up the shot-taking part of it all. He has been compared to CZ in the ‘running the floor’ category, and indeed that has been credited as one of his strengths, so stands to reason that it will speed things up considerably.

  • TomJameson

    You’re okay GaHoosier, just try not to let these things get to you. You are good insightful poster and should continue to do so.

    That said, I know what you mean about the Premium Forum, it is argumentative at times, but mostly seems to be a lot more civil. More knowledgeable also, I know I’m always learning things from most of those posters. Well worth it!!!

  • SilentBob

    I like Nick a lot, but I really hope he doesn’t see much more than 10 minutes a game. That’s because I’m really hoping, like everyone else, that we’ve been working hard on defense. As the article somewhat eludes to, his problem really wasn’t aggressiveness, awareness, or know how. It was genetics. Not strength and conditioning. Anyone who has seen this guy without a shirt on knows he has one of the best developed physiques on the team. It’s plain old genetics.

    I have to believe that he is one of the biggest reasons we played a lot of zone last year. Anytime the opposing offense was able to get a mismatch and isolate Nick, it always resulted in a bucket.

  • Young Hoosier

    He needs to do the Wes Matthews now and arrow after every three. At least someone on the team does. That’s the greatest 3pt celebration ever.

  • Young Hoosier

    I don’t think you have to start yuppie most talented but most college coaches aren’t to the point of understanding that. Or they just don’t have a situation for it to be discussed. I think we can easily bring RJ or JBJ off the bench. It isn’t who starts, it’s who finishes.

  • straight no chaser

    Yes, I’m glad you see my point, because I did say we may be different this year. But all I’m saying is that the historical evidence on its own is not on our side. In the two Cody years our AdjT rankings were #108 in 2012 and #109 in 2013.

  • TomJameson

    I just don’t put all that much faith in stats, that’s all.

  • MK

    I agree they didn’t set double screens for nick