Cody Zeller Archive
For IU fans, the immediate reaction to the news that sophomore Cody Zeller and junior Victor Oladipo will both enter the 2013 NBA Draft is one of a bittersweet nature.
On one hand, it’s hard to escape the thought of what next season could have looked like had the two All-Americans opted to return for another crack at a national championship. It’s been 26 years since the last national title in Bloomington and the thirst for a sixth banner is undeniable.
But there’s also a sense of pride in knowing that two of the best ambassadors the program has ever seen will get a chance to continue doing what they love and make a living out of it. Both players are expected to be lottery picks and that’s an opportunity that must be taken advantage of when it arises. Oladipo will leave with a degree and Zeller will finish his in short order.
As we move into a new chapter of Indiana basketball that begins now, it’s important to examine the role both Oladipo and Zeller had in the revival and how their early departures, as difficult as they’ll be to overcome next season, are a positive for the long term health of the program.
When Zeller signed his Letter of Intent in November of 2010, he was instantly anointed as the savior. The fact that he spurned North Carolina, a program that at the time was coming off two national championships in the last six years, was significant. It validated what Tom Crean was building in Bloomington with an elite recruit, even if the on court results had yet to materialize. And maybe more importantly, he paved the way for other kids from the state to follow him to IU.
By the time Indiana tipped off the 2011-2012 season, the enormous expectations placed upon Zeller would have been enough to crack most 18-year olds. This wasn’t a batch of McDonald’s All-Americans arriving in Bloomington. It was one McDonald’s All-American who wasn’t going to be able to ease his way into fray of the nation’s most physical conference. Indiana had to win and win big. And it did, largely because Zeller didn’t play like a freshman. He didn’t feel the expectations or the pressure. He just played and did so brilliantly.
A day after junior All-American Victor Oladipo announced he would forgo his senior season and declare for the 2013 NBA Draft, Indiana is expected to lose another All-American early to the NBA.
Sophomore Cody Zeller, according to reports by Bob Kravitz and Dustin Dopirak, will forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the 2013 NBA Draft.
The announcement is expected to take place at approximately 4:10 p.m. at Assembly Hall and will be shown live on IUHoosiers.com.
An IU spokesperson said the press conference will discuss Zeller’s “future plans,” the same wording used leading up to Oladipo’s announcement.
Zeller is projected as a lottery pick in several mock drafts, with DraftExpress.com ranking him as the No. 6 overall prospect.
The 7-foot big man was a second team AP All-American and averaged 16.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks and shot 56.2 percent from the field as a sophomore.
Zeller’s departure means that Indiana is now at 14 scholarship players for the 2013-2014 season.
Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Cody Zeller.
Zeller (36 games): 16.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.3 bpg, 1.0 spg, 56.2% FG, 75.7% FT in 29.5 minutes per game.
Few players in college basketball this season were discussed and dissected as much as Cody Zeller. Coming into a year where Indiana was the nation’s preseason No. 1 team, Zeller was showered with various accolades and preseason player of the year awards. If the Hoosiers were to make a run into late March and early April, the belief was that Zeller would be the guy leading the way.
Indiana’s run ended in Washington D.C. in the Sweet Sixteen, and, viewed through a lens of such lofty expectations, Zeller’s season was unfairly characterized by some as a disappointment in part because he was overshadowed at times by a teammate, Victor Oladipo, and didn’t play well against Syracuse.
The truth is, it was far from a disappointment.
Whether Zeller opts for the NBA Draft or returns for his junior season, he’s already established himself as one of the best big men to ever play at Indiana. His sophomore season was once again efficient as he shot better than 56 percent from the field, posted a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 73.2 percent and was the best transition big man in the country. His shooting percentage took a dip from his freshman season, but he also used more possessions as the focal point as one of the nation’s best offenses. When that offense was operating at its best, it was playing through Zeller first, which created opportunities for others on the floor.
Zeller also showed improvement as a rebounder, increasing his per-game average by 1.5 and bolstering his offensive and defensive rebounding percentages. He had 11 games with 10 or more rebounds, up from five as a freshman.
But beyond the statistics, there were moments where Zeller stepped up and made plays when Indiana needed him the most.
Most notably, his six points in the final 52 seconds of a 72-71 win at Michigan on March 10 lifted the Hoosiers to an outright Big Ten title for the first time in 20 years. He also took a key charge late in a win at home over Michigan State and chased down a pivotal loose ball rebound in front of the IU bench in a win over the Wolverines at Assembly Hall. In five games against teams ranked in the top 10, IU finished 5-0 and Zeller averaged 20.6 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Indiana fans will soon learn the status of All-Americans Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo as it pertains to the 2013 NBA Draft.
Both players are projected as lottery picks in mock drafts and according to multiple reports, will announce their intentions for next season this coming week.
The NCAA’s deadline to withdraw from the draft is April 16, but the NBA’s deadline to enter is April 28, which means the NCAA date is only relevant for those who declare and then wish to withdraw and retain their eligibility.
In an interview on Saturday with Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star, IU coach Tom Crean said that both players have put in paperwork with the NBA’s undergraduate advisory committee to receive feedback on their draft status.
The deadline for receiving a response from the undergraduate advisory committee is April 15, one day before the NCAA deadline to withdraw from the draft.
Projections for both players continue to vary, but every major projection has both in the lottery, which includes the top 13 picks.
First round picks receive a guaranteed three-year contract with a team option for a fourth season. Compensation for rookies in the 2012-2013 NBA season ranged from $4.28 million for the No. 1 pick to $2.55 million for the No. 6 pick to $1.59 million for the No. 13 pick.
In the immediate aftermath of Indiana’s Sweet Sixteen loss to Syracuse on March 28, neither player was prepared talk about the draft.
When Indiana lost in last Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen game against Syracuse, the naysayers came back out in full force. Many commenters and some national voices criticized the way IU’s season ended after the Hoosiers failed to advance farther than a season ago.
Indiana athletic director Fred Glass hears all that chatter. He spent a good portion of his interview with Inside the Hall on Thursday night talking about the things that have been said and defending Tom Crean, even when he wasn’t asked to do so.
“He won the Big Ten title by beating Michigan twice and Michigan State twice,” Glass said. “Tom Crean coached the heck out of that game at Michigan, including a great coaching job down the stretch. We exorcised a lot of demons for people who said we couldn’t win on the road, Cody [Zeller] wasn’t the go-to guy, this or that. And I thought we established Victor Oladipo as the Big Ten Player of the Year. Trey Burke’s a great player, but I thought Victor sealed being the Big Ten Player of the Year, and I sure as heck thought Tom Crean sealed being Big Ten Coach of the Year. Great respect for Bo Ryan, but I thought that win sealed Tom winning that. But you control what you can control.”
In some ways, the Hoosiers underperformed in the NCAA Tournament. They were a No. 1 seed, after all, making them the favorites to make this weekend’s Final Four in Atlanta. They missed open shots. They struggled to attack the zone. They couldn’t stop Michael Carter-Williams.
But in other ways, they ran into one of the nation’s hottest teams. Look at what Syracuse did to Marquette in the Elite Eight (and the Golden Eagles should be used to that zone).
Either way, there’s no denying the fact Indiana accomplished a great deal this season. The year may have ended early than expected, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good one.
Indiana junior Victor Oladipo was named a first team All-American by the Associated Press on Monday afternoon and his teammate, sophomore Cody Zeller, was named to the second team.
Oladipo becomes the first Hoosier to be named first team AP All-American since A.J. Guyton in 2000. He averaged 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game and shot 59.9 percent.
He was previously named first team All-Big Ten, the Big Ten defensive player of the year and the national player of the year by The Sporting News.
“I’m kind of speechless to be with the great names in college basketball, the NBA, in basketball history,” Oladipo told the Associated Press. “To be put in a sentence with them only makes me want to work harder.”
Other first team AP All-Americans to play at Indiana include Guyton (2000), Calbert Cheaney (1993), Steve Alford (1986, 1987), Isiah Thomas (1981), Kent Benson (1976, 1977), Scott May (1975, 1976) and Don Schlundt (1954).
Zeller, who was on the AP’s preseason All-American team, averaged 16.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks and shot 56.2 percent from the field.
He was also named first team All-Big Ten last month and a third team All-American by The Sporting News.
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.