An update on 2011 Washington forward Cody Zeller

  • 05/13/2010 2:11 pm in

It’s already been a busy and successful AAU season for Cody Zeller and Indiana Elite, and May isn’t yet half over. Zeller and his teammates — several of whom rank high on IU’s wish list for the 2011 and 2012 classes — already notched wins in two tournaments, including a revenge win over St. Louis Gameface at the Fort Wayne Run-N-Slam earlier this month.

Individually, Zeller is also using the summer to refine several parts of his game that he might not so easily improve during high school season.

“In high school, I was always being guarded by two and three guys,” Zeller told Inside the Hall. “It gives me a chance to work on post moves and drives and things like that against a different player, a different type of defender.”

Of course, there are plenty of Indiana fans who probably wouldn’t care if Zeller skipped his last season at Washington High (where he will be defending a state title) and just came to Bloomington in the fall.

Zeller, like his brothers Luke and Tyler before him, is an incredibly appealing prospect, particularly with his special blend of size and ability. Getting a commitment from Zeller would represent a benchmark recruiting win for coach Tom Crean, who has made few bones about focusing on closing Indiana’s borders when it comes to in-state high school talent.

That said, Zeller isn’t rushing his decision. He said since the end of the season, when several schools underwent coaching changes and staff turnover, he’s been getting interest from new schools, including Texas, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

For that reason, he said, he’s not ready to narrow a list down to five schools and is instead trying to keep an open mind. But that school just a little over a hour northeast of his home in Washington, Ind., still sits well with the 6-foot-10 prospect.

“Now that others have gotten involved, they’ve picked it up a little bit,” Zeller said of IU’s interest. “I could definitely see myself playing there.”

How he’d get there is a question that has some fans worried. With the recent commitment of junior-college post man Guy Marc-Michel, the Hoosiers have no open scholarships in the class of 2011, with highly-rated prospects like Zeller and Elite teammate Jeremiah Davis still in play. Another Elite player, Austin Etherington, has been a solid verbal with the Hoosiers for some time.

Zeller said no one from IU has specifically mentioned “anything other than I have a scholarship offer.”

Whatever the situation, Zeller still appears one of IU’s primary targets for the immediate future, though Zeller himself admitted staying close to home wasn’t much of a priority.

“We figured out with Luke and Tyler that you’re not gonna get home much no matter if you’re an hour or two hours away or 11 hours away with all the school and practices and games and everything, you might get only get home Easter and Christmas,” he said.

For now, as just about any prospect will tell you, Zeller’s focus is on this summer, on improving, and on working with his teammates to “win every tournament that we play in.”

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  • marsh21

    Without the ups and downs and crazy talk all the time this would be a boring site. Let's keep having fun because that's what it is, fun.

    You make good statements and I've made the same before but I like the ride.

  • iufan4life

    Branden Dawson is one I would like to see commit, he is a man among boys on the glass!

  • JerryCT

    I too get a little weary of covering the same ground over and over on prospective recruits.

    In fact I suddenly began to wonder ….. why doesn't “baseline” rhyme with “vaseline” ? ………..anybody know ?

  • millzy32

    Rex Chapman anyone?

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I'm not that huge of a Zeller fan either–he's not going to get us a banner–but I think 50% of his recruitment is winning one of the big names in the state, getting the 4 and 5 star players to think legitimately about Indiana (“If Jeremiah Davis and Cody Zeller–both top 50 players in their class–chose IU, maybe I should think about it too,” and/or “IU must be closer to being 'back' than I previously thought,” etc.).

    I love the 2012 class too (we could field a starting lineup!), but in order to get some of those kids to consider us in the same manner as a MSU or OSU or PU, we have to put a winning product on the floor and Zeller and JDavis could certainly help out with that.

  • Tom Crean and company will do whatever it takes to add Zeller and Davis to the 2011 class. A MUST. The others just leave them alone and focus on 2012 and 2013 prospects.

    Zeller compared to Capo, Pritchard, and Bawa will not cut it. This GUY dude has to be better than those guys as well to be granted a scholarship which ties up all full rides.

    JD… needless to compare

    Expect Capo and Bawa to fight for a scholarship
    Expect Pritchard to transfer to OHIO U

    Sheehey will not like IU after the WINTER season

  • Hardwood Wizard

    Good points. I think all of us here would want IU to be better sooner than later. But we can't always get what we want and every year there are good players to be had.

    I think a couple of things we fans need to be realistic about is the “style” of play that CTC is developing and who exactly fits into it.

    I think JDavis fits into any style because he has combo guard skills and is versatile.

    If we are going to have a 3 guard offense which Crean has historically had, than maybe Zeller doesn't fit. He is pretty good on the floor, but will he have the physical presence we need at the 4 or 5 spot in that offense. I think we all saw Elston improve this past year. Here is a kid that has some floor skills but with another 20+ lbs on his frame, he could be a 10 and 6 guy this season.

    We also do not know where VO or WS are going to fit in. What will Roth add to the mix? We already have Rivers, VJIII, Creek, Hulls who play the guard positions.

    In the article about Zeller, CTC says he wants to recruit in state and close off the boarders. With AE, JDavis, and Zeller, CTC would make huge strides to attain his goal.

    The bottom line is we have to get talent in the door. Good coaches adjust to the team and their skill set. Look at Coach K this year at Duke. With better talent, I think we will see how CTC measures as a coach and what he can do in the crunch with one possession that wins or loses the game.

  • Kelin Blab

    Looking at who IU is recruiting for 2011, that class isn't nearly as deep as 2012 and not as many impact players….which leads me to believe 2012 is THE class to really dial in on

    2011
    PG Nic Moore is the only one I am for certain IU is interested in w/out an offer. Then there are the Stevie Taylor rumors

    SG/COMBO guards….Jeremiah Davis, Aaron Thomas

    Forwards..B.Dawson,

    Centers/Forwards….Zeller and Michael Chandler

    That is about it kiddes…however 2012

    Guards…DSR, Yogi, Gary Harris, R. Patterson, K.Thomas
    Fowards…Hollowell,Kamenski, Perea, Marrerro, TJ Bell
    Centers….Jurkin, Hammons,

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    And what about the kneejerk reaction/panic that briefly ensued following Carlino decommitting? Ha ha, that's clearly going to be filed under the “blessing in disguise” category. I think we can call agree that his scholarship will be better served by JD or Zeller.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    What about bicycle and motorcycle? Tell somebody that you rode your bi-sigh-cle somewhere and they'll fetch a straightjacket for you; tell a dude that you really like his Harley motor-sickle and he'll probably assault you with a tire iron.

  • millzy32

    Agreed that player development is key and Crean's style of recruiting dictates that it be so. Kentucky was pretty bare last year when all the five stars decided to get with Calipari and they became bare again and reloaded this year. It's the type of recruiter he is, he gets the top guys plain and simple although they are most likely one and done.

    Crean is trying to be the opposite and recruit guys that want to stay a few years and build a program. Well if he's gonna do that he has to develop the players once he has them. That's his system.

    In my opinion he has guys that can win this year. Maybe not be at the top of the big ten but certainly compete game in and game out (none of these 30 point blowouts that became common place last year). This is his year to show he can develop guys like Watford and Elston and maybe even Rivers who all have a ton of potential.

    Crean is focusing on good guys with good grades as you can see from him twittering about 3.16 gpa. To do this and be successful you have to develop. This is the year. If all of the guys on this team we have now develop to their fullest none of us will care about Zeller or Davis or any of these guys.

    Come on Crean and McClain do your jobs and get these guys ready for 2010-11 season.

    Go Hoosiers.

  • Kelin Blab

    I agree 100%….IU winning this year could go along way for the 2012 class. An above 500 record would speak volumes with some signature wins…..

  • millzy32

    Great comment. I now live in Cleveland, OH and watched the unmotivated LeBron James who is supposedly the best player in the world pretty much implode against the more experienced Celtics. If you don't want to be somewhere you just won't perform. Good riddance to Teague and anyone like him who doesn't want to be at IU. We need Randy Wittman's and Ted Kitchel's, and Calbert Cheaney's and players that love to be at IU.

    The John Wall's and his kind can stay one and done at Kentucky.

    Is Davis doesn't want to be at IU then develop Hulls. He was Indiana Mr. Basketball for crying out loud. Look how good Coverdale became by his senior year.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I know some idiots will scream, “This is IU! We shouldn't be satisfied with the NIT! Tom Crean should be fired!” But I think the NIT would be a huge step forward for the current roster, and it would at least let Tom Crean talk about “postseason play” to the 2012 kids; and, with the addition of JD and Zeller accompanying the experienced upperclass roster, it would seem to make the NCAA tourney a lock for '12.

  • marcusgresham

    Not an encouraging sign

  • marcusgresham

    It also gives an extra however-long-you-last-in-the-NIT of practice together. I'd love to see this team in the Big Dance next year (no, I'm not expecting it, nowhere close,) but the NIT might be a better opportunity for this group just to get to play together more because an NCAA bid wouldn't last past the first weekend.

  • marcusgresham

    I've always kind of wondered, though, if Crean prefers the 3-guard line up or if that's just like you said about adjusting to what he had and went with his strength. I'd think in a perfect world he'd take a big 3 like Watford over another guard, but I could be wrong.

  • marcusgresham

    2013–Darryl Baker…
    The list goes on. Some of these guys are going to find their ways to Bloomington.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    Care to expand on this?

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    Keith Smart had a crazy vert. like that.

  • Hardwood Wizard

    Sheehey had to think about the weather before he signed, I doubt he is going to let the weather effect him.

    I am willing to bet that TP is looking to transfer hard core right now. he is no better than 4th on the depth chart to see pt this year….1)Elston 2)Guy 3)Capo 4) TP or Bawa

  • JerryCT

    You think that is bad ?

    Tell a dude you are “going to deny him the “bass- a- leen “

  • Hardwood Wizard

    I think you are right if all the pieces fit together, but Watford played mostly the 4 man last year.

    If we can get JDavis or a player his size, in 2011-12 we will have Hulls at 6', VJIII at 6'4″, Creek at 6'5″, VO at 6'4″, WS at 6'5″, AE at 6'6″ and JDavis at 6'3″. That is some really good size for guards.

    With AE and WS playing the 3 in combo with Watford and Creek, we should be able to shoot over the zone and have some match up issues on the blocks if a guy like AE is being guarded by a 6'3″ guard.

    Watford is 6'9″ and already causes problems at the SF on offense because most guys are smaller. in the PF position he will be a force because he is quicker than most 6'8-6'10 players who will guard him.

    He is on the right track by recruiting taller guards, I think this fits his style. He loves to tell stories about Novak and DWade when recruiting, both big guards. This is why JDavis at the PG spot is huge. Who has had a 6'3″ PG in the Big 10 in a while who has been an absolute force?

    Possible line up in 2012-2013

    PG JDavis/Hulls
    SG Creek/WS/AE
    SF WS/AE/Watford
    PF Watford/Elston/Capo
    C Zeller/Bawa

    That is a tall, athletic team with a solid 8 to 9 man rotation.

    This is why JDavis and a player the caliber and size of Zeller is so important.

  • walton

    Thanks for the video!!!! It was one of those videos that gave me goosebumps when I envision him slamming it down in Assembly Hall and the whole place going insane.

    I do get more and more excited everyday to see what Olidunk can bring to the table next year and the few following.

  • Hardwood Wizard

    I do think JDavis is interested in IU. He and AE talk about rooming together. JDavis has to see that the opportunity to play right away exists here.

    Don't let a guy who goes to school with JDavis sway anyone by saying JDavis made fun of IU. I could see it playing out something like this, “Hey JDavis, what is up with IU? They played terrible last night.” JDavis says, “Yeah they didn't look good.” “Hey JDavis, are you sure you want to play for a team that barely wins 10 games a year?” JDavis says, “Nope!”

    Obviously this is a hypothetical, but could you blame him if he said something to that effect? Who wants to be on a 10 win team? But, by the time JDavis arrives on campus they are a 15 to 18 win team with some talent in place form 2009, now they are looking at a 20 win season.

    There is a big difference in a 10 win team and a 18 or 20 win team.

    I am sure he knows that IU is on their way up. We also have no clue how badly Mich St, OSU and Tennessee want him either. Maybe he is the #2 guard those schools are trying to get in ,but here at IU he is out #1 guard?

  • Disco_Briscoe

    I posted this on the last topic but I think it fits here too and may be seen more.

    Pritchard is and will be our best big man this coming season and Capo will be next in line. What's up with all this Bawa and Guy fighting for a starting position? Tall and long doesn't mean anything unless they are coordinated and know the game. I'll take Pritchard and Capo, the smart, physical, brawlers even though their lack of vertical kills me. Maybe Bawa and Guy have something but until I see it on the floor in cream and crimson I'm not even close to being sold on their height, wingspan, JUCO stats, and all. Who knows, maybe Elston is starting/playing the 5 in our system and I'm not against that either if the match up fits.

  • Indiana Red

    Am I missing something? From Yahoo, re: Lebron's future:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-lebron

    “Kentucky’s John Calipari is along for the ride, working with agent Leon Rose and middleman William Wesley, and all hell promises to break out now.

    The plan they’re talking about includes Calipari coming to Cleveland as James’ hand-picked coach. “He’s got to listen if they come calling,” a source close to Calipari told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday night.”

    Calipari is working with NBA agents? I'm no lawyer, but doesn't that seem like something the NCAA would frown upon?

  • JerryCT

    Yes you did and I agreed.

    We donot have a good scouting report on Bawa or Guy. IF ( and its a big if ) they can:

    1. deny position near the basket
    2. protect Hulls/Jones on defense with a solid HEDGE to neutralize the ball screen and exhaust the dribble
    3. catch and pass the ball
    4. set solid screens
    5. recognize the shot clock and trigger the final offensive attempt w a ball screen
    6. not swat at everythign that looks like a shot
    7. leave their man to help D and get back

    If they can do these things in addition to rebound they have a shot at alot of minutes.

    I am not holding my breath but very anxious to see the improvement and what Guy brings to the team.

  • wbellamy

    IU fan, Cody has not committed to IU yet, so I guess I can throw this out there. What about these 7 ft. players from Crakistan, Serbia, Croatia, etc. Guys who are 280 lb and have played basketball for a couple of years. Some are now pros. A couple of the posters have been right on, i.e. we need to develop what we have and what we will have. Am very excited about prospects of this team, but after some of the centers we have had in past, I want to be able to play in your face basketball, dunk. A little pushing around by IU for a change. The” five passes before you shoot” is ok some of the time, but after what we have been through, it is time for a little in your face time. Just MHO.

  • JerryCT

    Now that we are talking winning where are the points coming from ?

    Keep in mind we are losing almost 8/gm in B10 with Dumes gone. SO we need to find 8 more PTs just to break even and probably add 12 more PTs to make the NCAA a 20 PT swing:

    Here are my hopes , trying to be realistic

    1. Defense improves ALOT and we gain 8 pts
    2. Elston elevates 6 more PTs /gm
    3. Watford improves 4 PTS/gm
    4. Rivers improves 3 pts/gm
    5. nobody goes backwards in scoring
    6. Center position adds 4 Pts/gm

    That is 25 more Pts from this squad , 17 more than w Dumes ……….. and doable IMO

  • walton

    I agree – the pieces are starting to fall in place. Obviously always like the idea of taller guards – look at Ohio State, Duke, etc – taller guards cause nightmares for the competition on offense and defense.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I realize these are out of order, but I'm writing as it comes to me….

    7. Take away Dumes' 8 pts/gm in B10 play, but add in Creek's 12? 15? He was averaging nearly 17 pts/gm in non-conference play (some weak opponents in there, but put up 30 against UK, a good defensive team), so I don't see any reason why Creek wouldn't average at least 15 pts/gm in B10 play–provided that he's healthy. And take away whatever minutes that Moore and Finklemier (sp?) and Dumes had and give them to Oladipo and Sheehey (I realize that those two won't play Moore's position, but I'm assuming Hulls steps up his game and takes most of the minutes Moore got last year), so that's got to be more points, right?

    8. And we can count on Roth for a made 3-pointer/gm right?

    5. You might have to deduct points from VJIII b/c Creek will be getting some of his shots, but maybe VJIII shoots a higher percentage and stays relatively close to where he was last year…? And what did Capo average? I'm sure that's got to go up by a point or two.

    1. Are you counting at least one–if not two–blocks per game from Guy as a part of your improved defense? If not, maybe that goes up to 10 pts/gm that we gain..?

    Sorry for the scattershot approach, but those are my thoughts. Response?

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    So many fond memories of Coverdale… Hulls would need some inches/pounds to pull that off, but it's been a while since I've thought of the red-headed menace of our '01-'02 run. Hulls certainly has the outside shot, but he needs to improve defensively. Coverdale wasn't the fleetest of foot, but he seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Tell me something Jerry, does Tom Pritchard know that you are his biggest fan? I think it's only a matter of time before he takes out a restraining order… 😉

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Isn't that how a Cirque du Freak team would pronounce it?

  • JerryCT

    I guess when I look at my primary points are:

    a) we need to keep pace with the progress of all other B10 teams which could further add to the need for more “net” Pts/gm improvement over last year
    b) we also lose PTs on O and D from Dumes leaving
    c) which players etc have the most upside to make up the difference and add enough pts to make the NCAA

    When I look at it my underlying feeling is that team defense is the KEY. No new player or improved old player is likely to make up the difference

  • JerryCT

    Hey I did not even mention TP.

    BUT, I am using his play however as a surrogate for what I think CTC is asking the position to do. It really is alot of things. The high ball screen probably starts our half court offense 40% of the time and deep in the clock he starts the bail out too.

    If Guy cannot do these things then Jones will suffer alot.

  • hoosierfan2

    I hope Cody Zeller hasn't read all these comments about how people aren't sold on him. Every IU fan should be sold on him, because IU needs him. He would be the best post player at IU right now. The best part about him is that he's hungry on the boards, and that is something IU desperately needs.

    As for Dawson, sure he's good on the boards in high school, but he's only 6'5″ and primarily a post player, I am not sold. Also, in the 3A state title game he only had 11 boards to Zeller's 26. Zeller is like the college 4's and 5's that Dawson will play against in college.

    The 2012 class should be a monster class if Drew Adams can get his AAU team to IU (DSR, Perea, Jurkin). However, I could see Zeller meshing well with that group because Perea is extremely athletic, but not as skilled and Zeller has some nice skills with some nice athleticism. Jurkin I think will need a little bit of time to develop.

    Zeller needs to be priority number one for IU right now.

  • Kelin Blab

    hoosierfan2…..I think even those who are not completely sold on zeller would still like him to be at IU. With any recruit there are always questions. With Davis, the question is can he play and be a true PG? With Zeller. is he more face up than back to the basket and which does IU need? I don't think Zeller would be our best Post right now, he is not nearly strong enough yet to get position on Guy, Capo, or Pritch….but he could probaly hold his own. He has yet to face ANYONE with a 7'6 wing span…..

  • marcusgresham

    PhD stole my thunder–Creek didn't play in a conference game, and I think we'd all trade Dumes for Creek as far as points are concerned. Watford not playing out of position is an upgrade. Everyone's a year older, hopefully a year wiser, and a year stronger (especially the sophomores-to-be, and everything I've ever seen said that the greatest strides a college player makes is usually between his freshman and sophomore seasons,) and maybe more important than anything else CUT DOWN ON TURNOVERS! If you commit 3-5 less a game, that's a potential 6-15 points your team can score, not to mention the fact that it cuts out the likelihood of your opponent getting easy breakaway opportunities.

  • marcusgresham

    I like the taller guards too, but if we have to have a shorter PG who's quick as lightning and handles the ball well I'll be OK with that. As poor as the front line played at times last year, you couldn't have asked for much more out of the guards as far as rebounding is concerned. Sure the defense was spotty at best, but those guys (VJIII and Rivers, particularly,) took rebounding to heart.
    I want Watford at the 3, but if he can bulk up he can be a 4 at some point–at least a college 4, I don't know about the pros. He just needs to be strong enough to withstand contact and not get his damn shot rammed back in his face.
    Novak was a forward, though. He's 6'10″. He spent most of his time at the 3-point line from what I remember, but he wasn't a guard.

  • Hardwood83

    I don't necessarily disagree with your analysis- but it sure appears the Coaching staff is unsatisfied with the returning post players from last year. The recruiting targets for 2010: Abraham, Negendu, Yagette, Guy, Noreen, etc. Seems they see a definite need to upgrade inside. I like TP & desperately want him to develop some consistency….but it appears he is being intentionally recruited over and taking a 2yr player like Michel would indicate to me that his window has closed.

  • IUbriz

    You are forgetting the most important piece Jerry, Mr. Mo Creek! Plus if you add a few three's from Roth that will get the points up. I think our Defense will be a leading cause in our point production, transition baskets will be up.

  • IUbriz

    Played with basketball smarts, something Jordy definitely has.

  • Hardwood83

    Calipari is so obviously dirty and the NCAA hasn't done anything up til now- of course it looks like USC may FINALLY get some punishment for the Reggie Bush/Pete 'the cheat' Carroll era so who knows. I will LOVE it if Calipari bolts after one (1!) season at pUKe- their angst will be off the charts! what verminous d-bag could they drag in next? Maybe Sampson is ready for a return to college?

  • marsh21

    This is to good to be true. Oh my, I will dance on the table all night if this happens and laugh at those UK robots and the UK president!!!

    I've hated UK since I was born in little Shelbyville, IN and can't wait for the dominos to fall. Those boosters will have no time to get anyone at this point and UK will be up the creek because none of those 5 stars will want to come now.

    My fingers are crossed!

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    It didn't take Carnac the Magnificent to know of whom you spoke…

  • MillaRed

    Do we have any background on TP's parents? Are they still married? Did JerryCT make a sales call to Ohio 20 years ago?

    Things that make you go “Hmmmmmmmm?”

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I agree with what Kelin said; I think most of the people “not being sold” on Zeller means that they don't think he's going to come in dominate and change the program around single-handedly… at least, that's what I've meant when I've said it. Do I think he's going to have some sort of John Wall or Derick Cousins or Eric Gordon type impact? No. Do I want him at IU? ABSOLUTELY! Not that he's going to be DJ White (I don't think he'll ever have that body type), but that's the type of impact I'd like him to have: four pretty solid years–improving each season (minus injury)–and somebody we can count on for points and rebounds.

  • JerryCT

    You guys are funny.

    On a serious note however , if you can possibly do it , watch the Minn game from 1/18 where we won in overtime. I think it is the model for winning next year. Every single player made a positive contribution and we played alot of kids ….. with more better players I see us playing lots of kids , all of whom do somethign to win the game.

    Highlights are:

    1. For 31 min TP holds Sampson3 to 0 FG's and out rebounds him by 5, TP scores 5
    2. Rivers stops Joseph more than once to keep the game alive
    3. Capo hits off balance shot as clock expires to save the possession
    4. Elston plays the entire overtime and most of the last moments of the game and is a factor
    5. Jones was determined and cool on offense to win the game