Cody Zeller Archive
With the 2012-2013 season complete, Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo have decisions to make in the near future concerning the 2013 NBA Draft with both players projected as lottery picks in most projections.
Here’s our latest edition of Draft watch, with a focus on the decision making process for each player, as well as a look at the stock of Christian Watford:
ESPN: (10) Draft Express: (3) NBADraft.net: (6)
· Analysis: Zeller’s final game of the season, and perhaps his Indiana career, was fuel for those who believe he’s not ready to jump to the NBA. He struggled to score against the length of Syracuse and had more of his shots blocked (5) than made field goals (3). But as alarming as that performance may have been in the eyes of some, the complete body of work for Zeller is still quite impressive. His scoring and rebounding numbers improved from a season ago, despite a dip in efficiency, and he was excellent in transition and at getting to the foul line. Whether he’s ready to be a regular rotation player in the NBA is up for debate, but his position as a lottery pick is not. That’s a proposition that’s hard to pass up for any player.
· Expert opinion: “Some scouts love him, many don’t. His stock is a bit more volatile [than Oladipo]. Not sure where he lands and whether he’d be better off returning for a year to add strength and a jump shot to his game.” – ESPN.com’s Chad Ford.
WASHINGTON — Jordan Hulls sat at his locker room in the Verizon Center, tears welling to his eyes when asked questions about the season and about his special senior class.
For four years, Hulls had dreamed of the opportunity he and his teammates had in front of them. They were a No. 1 seed, a favorite to reach the Final Four in Atlanta. All this after beginning from the very bottom with the NCAA Tournament a mere pipe dream.
This wasn’t supposed to end so soon. This was Indiana’s Dream Team, one constructed with so much talent and chemistry, it may never be replicated by Tom Crean and his staff. You can recruit all the top 50 players you want, but you can’t make them like each other and play together the way these guys did. There will never be an Indiana team quite like this again.
Crean and his staff know that, which is what made this one hurt more than most. The Indiana coaching staff remained in the Verizon Center locker room until after 2 a.m., and the team bus didn’t pull out of the arena until 2:21 a.m.
“There are no words to describe how I feel,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said after Indiana’s 61-50 loss to Syracuse in the Sweet 16. “I love playing with these guys. I’ll never forget this team for as long as I live.”
He should remember the good moments from this season. This team has earned that. Wins at Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. A Big Ten outright championship. Two All-Americans. A No. 1 seed. A second straight trip to the Sweet 16.
But, fair or not, the loss to Syracuse will probably always stick to the memories of the Indiana players the most. It was an opportunity missed, it turned an otherwise terrific season into a giant disappointment. The Hoosiers went to the Sweet 16 last year. This year, they needed to go further. They should have gone further.
“It’s over,” Hulls said, his voice cracking. “It’s just tough. We prepared so hard, we just didn’t go out there and execute like we needed to. It’s a terrible way to go out.”
All week long, we talked and heard about the challenge of the Syracuse 2-3 zone. The Hoosiers seemed confident on Wednesday, acting like they were prepared for the unique defense they would see.
But they were not. Twelve turnovers in the first half told you that. As hard as they may have prepared for Jim Boeheim’s team, they didn’t know and never did figure out how to attack and score against the zone.
“They’re length is not really something you can practice against,” Hulls said. “We turned the ball over, didn’t hit shots. We were overthinking, didn’t quite know what we wanted to do at certain times.”
The Hoosiers made a run in the second half — they got it to within six points at one point — but they couldn’t sustain it for a fairly simple reason: They didn’t make shots. To beat the Syracuse zone, you have to make some perimeter shots to loosen it up. Indiana was 3-of-15 from beyond the arc.
WASHINGTON — Tom Crean, Christian Watford, Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo met with the media following Indiana’s 61-50 loss to Syracuse in the East regional semifinal. Read comments from their postgame reaction below.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Indiana, student athletes Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller and Coach Tom Crean. We will start with an opening statement from Coach Tom Crean.
COACH CREAN: Well, we have had a heck of a ride with this group, and it doesn’t feel like that tonight, won’t feel like that for a couple of days, maybe longer.
But the bottom line is that this program has come from so far and I hope at some point in time, the seniors, the guys on this team will remember that they did things that hadn’t been done first off in 20 years at Indiana but more importantly there are not any programs, whether this be Syracuse, Kentucky, Carolina, Duke, you name it that are the blue blood programs of the country that have had to endure what these guys have had to endure. They have done it with perseverance, toughness, and improvement and they have done it with great class and they will all be better for it.
That’s how I view it. Our minds are around closure right now, they’re not. So we have to look at it that way. The story of the game for us is we didn’t take care of the ball enough. We gave them too many opportunities. We did not do a good enough job on a couple of their guys, especially Michael Carter-Williams and we couldn’t get over the hump. We couldn’t get that gap, that margin where we needed it to be. They played well and they deserve it, we didn’t play as well, we played extremely hard. They move on and we call it a great year.
Q. Christan, it must be hard to do right now but is there any way you can put into perspective your career at Indiana right now?
CHRISTIAN WATFORD: As you know, it’s been full of up’s and down’s but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my teammates and I’m happy to be an Indiana Hoosier at the end of the day.
Q. Victor, what made their two-three zone so difficult? What kind of challenges did they present in their zone?
VICTOR OLADIPO: They were just long and active. We just didn’t take care of the ball like we should have. In the first half we got a little too anxious, catching the ball, moving out the ball, not having the ball secure in our hands, and our shots weren’t falling at the same time.
So that’s pretty much it.
WASHINGTON — An earlier than expected exit from the 2013 NCAA Tournament quickly brought questions about the futures of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, both of whom are projected as lottery picks in this June’s NBA Draft.
But in the immediate aftermath of IU’s disappointing 61-50 loss to Syracuse, neither player was prepared to talk about what will come next.
“I have no clue. I don’t know how it goes, I don’t know what happens from here,” Zeller told reporters. “I was putting everything into this team, this tournament. I haven’t thought about it at all.”
“I haven’t even been thinking about that,” Oladipo said of his future. “I’m just really disappointed about the loss because we wanted to go all the way. I haven’t really been thinking about my future at all, just been in the present.”
Both players will have roughly a month to decide whether they’ll return to school as the NBA’s early entry deadline for the draft is Apr. 28.
Indiana coach Tom Crean was asked about the role he’ll play in assisting both Oladipo and Zeller with their respective decisions in his postgame press conference.
“I’m sure I will do what I would always do, try to be a voice of reson, do the right research, try to give them as honest of an assessment as I possibly can,” Crean said. “It won’t come from dotcoms and scouts, it will come from general managers, scouting directors, people like that that really have an investment in what those picks mean and where they would potentially go.
WASHINGTON — Watch and listen to what the IU players had to say inside their locker room of the Verizon Center as they prepared for Thursday’s NCAA Tournament game with Syracuse.
High-definition quality video is available in the embedded media players below:
Sunday afternoon’s game had so much to it, it was difficult to digest it all immediately after the game. Especially when a late March snowstorm was staring right at the greater Dayton area.
So, after more than 24 hours to think about and analyze the Hoosiers’ 58-52 win over Temple, and how they got there, I took a look at the game in a much more complete way.
First, when I said in my column from Sunday night that the Hoosier won ugly, I wasn’t kidding. It was UGLY in every possible way, and Indiana undoubtedly caught some breaks (like the fact that every Temple player not named Wyatt seemed to forget how to score), but to advance in the NCAA Tournament, you sometimes need an element of luck. Ask Marquette. Or Ohio State. Or Miami.
The fact of the matter is, in a game they had no business winning, the Hoosiers found a way to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. And ultimately, that’s all that matters. I remember sitting on my couch watching the 2008 team play in the Tournament. There was no fight, no will, no desire. The Hoosiers faced adversity, and they quit.
When Tom Crean took control of the program, he vowed to change the culture. So give him credit because he has done that. Even when the Hoosiers trailed and couldn’t seem to do anything right against Temple, they kept believing. They played hurt. They made winning plays.
That, more than anything, is what I take from Indiana’s third-round win. Sure, it was ugly and there are many things that need to be corrected before it sees Syracuse on Thursday night, but we now know that this team has no quit in it (if we didn’t already).
Who’d Wyatt score on?
Not everything about the Hoosiers’ win over Temple, of course, was pretty. There was this guy, Khalif Wyatt, who went off in the first half and poured in 31 points. Wyatt’s done it many times before, but his production against Indiana was a bit surprising because the Hoosiers knew how dangerous he was. And they had the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in Victor Oladipo to check him.
But nevertheless, Wyatt went off in a losing effort. So how much does it mean? How troubled is Indiana’s defense going forward?
Answer: Not very.