Around the Hall: Zeller at McDonald’s All-American game

  • 03/31/2011 8:47 am in

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew. So go ahead, get your read on. (Photo credit: Brian Spurlock – McDonald’s.)

Hugh Kellenberger of The Herald-Times writes that Cody Zeller was content with his experience at Wednesday’s McDonald’s All American game.

— Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star has reaction from all three Indiana kids that played in the McDonald’s game.

— Zeller wrote about his experience in Chicago in a diary for SLAM ONLINE. Zeller also recorded a video diary after his first day in Chicago. compares the McDonald’s All-American’s to current NBA players. Zeller’s comparison? Jeff Foster of The Indiana Pacers.

Zeller tells The Chicago Tribune that he used to receive 10 to 15 recruiting letters per day and the most interesting letters he received included comics, some of which included his likeness.

Jody Demling of The Louisville Courier-Journal talks to Zeller about his whirlwind week.

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  • fundamentals_man

    I’m sorry, but anyone should be able to see that Cody Zeller is much better than Jeff Foster offensively.

  • N71

    I watched the McDonald’s game last night and thought Cody did great. There was Davis (Kentucky) and then everyone else. Cody was on par with Rivers, and all the others. Considering Cody is not yet built like Charles Oakley he clearly made things better when in the game and helped his team, particularly with his passing. Watching the game I kept on thinking how happy Tom Prichard will be playing with Cody for 3 or 4 different reasons. If Tom can improve his free throw shooting I could see him have a great, great year considering he’s still Tom Pritchard and not Anthony Davis. To me, Cody and Tom are a nice 4 and 5 combo. I prefer Hulls at the 1 to reduce turnovers, and don’t have the answer for our 2 or 3 spots. Austin if he can defend perhaps at 2 because we know he can shoot (assumes Mo is not 100%) and the 3 Watford I suppose but sure would like to see some improvement in foot speed. That’s not a bad line up. The trend seems to be “Cody is not the savior” which is where I was before watching him. Watching him though I think he’ll have a massive impact because he does so many things well. We should be very competitive next year if my watching only 1 game with Cody in it is any indication.

  • CemDinc

    No point in putting unrealistic expectations around Zeller, but I was pretty impressed by what I saw in the game. Seems like a smart, team-first kind of player. I’m trying to think what would be appropriate to expect from Cody next season. I would be really happy with something in the neighborhood of 10 points, 6-8 rebounds per game. Anyone think that’s nuts?

  • Anonymous

    I thought Cody did really well last night in a game that is always dominated by guard play. While I certainly would not anoint him the “savior” in his freshman year, there is a lot of improvement riding on his shoulders. The part of Cody’s offensive game that I feel is not getting enough attention is his great passing out of the post. With Hulls running the point, as he should be over VJ next season, you can run a lot of the offense through Cody down low and play an inside out game.
    If CZ can make some of the passes he made last night and continue to show the great vision on the floor his presence will open up shots for Hulls even if he is the 1 and all of the other guards. It has been a long time since IU has had a great post presence, let alone someone who can handle the ball and pass as well as CZ. I like what his game brings the team in addition to scoring and rebounding.

  • Diesel

    Agreed, massive impact.

    He’s not going to sit on the block and demand the ball, although he can. He’s got a nice spin move already. He also stays out of foul trouble. What he does do well, we don’t have, and that equates to a massive impact:

    – finishes around the rim
    – cleans the glass
    – tireless worker
    – runs the floor
    – hit from 15-17 feet
    – finds the open man
    – shot blocking threat

    He is 215 presently, I think he’ll be at 235 at start of season which is what Watford was at. This kid can’t get on campus soon enough.

  • I was like Jeff Foster? Really? That’s the best we can do. Just because he’s 6’11” and white with no tatoos let’s compare him to Jeff Foster, lol. Their games are completely different.

  • Anonymous

    If he was pulling into a parking space in front of Cook Hall right now it would not be soon enough. There is a spot in front of Cook Hall right next to the door with a sign that says CZ parking only… isn’t there ? LOL

    I too think we should not get to the point that we are placing unreal expectations on him but……I also think he will make a very big difference for exactly the reasons that you stated and in the areas that you mentioned. The area of his biggest impact may be one that doesn’t show up in his game stat sheet but rather shows up in his teammates stat sheets.

  • millzy32

    I totally disagree. Jeff Foster has range and a pretty smooth game. Comparing Cody to Jeff is a complement for sure. Cody can only dream to one day get where Jeff is and be half as good as he is. Seriously? I think some people don’t know the difference between being a good pro and being a good college player. Foster would score 30 a game and pull down 15-20 boards a night if you put him back in a college game.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite thing I saw from him was his passing skills from the block. If he got the ball down there he did not force the issue into a bad situation. I thought he had great IQ to see the open man. I saw him pass into a couple of dunks and an open three in the first half. I missed the second half so I don’t know what he did there. From what I saw I already knew, but the passing was a nice surprise. I feel we have too many players that try to force things and miss open players. It will really help our assist ratios with some dimes coming from the post.

  • Kelin Blab

    I think Cody will help Pritch also if he can regain his confidence and begin to play like a big man. I like Anthony Davis athletic ability, but I could see him getting pushed around alot next year….(ok I will say it, anthony dude lose the unibrow) Glad KY comes to Indiana next season, they should be highly rated if not #1.

    Other Thoughts
    + The 2012 McDonalds All American will definitely include Hanner and Yogi, don’t think Buss and Hollowell have a chance but that will be great motivation for them. Gary Harris will be there as well, hopefully representing IU

    + Dunk Contest are getting old

    + Kids are getting so much bigger, stronger, and faster….I think I am going to start my 4yr old on supplements and olympic lifting next week

  • Kelin Blab

    The Jeff Foster comparison was idiotic.

  • JerryCT

    It will be difficult for Cody to disappoint me. He will still be a teenager playing against grown men so I am giving him plenty of time. He said himself…………… strength is what he needs to work on.

    As for our team next year the keys are obvious.

    + Perimeter defense
    + Ball pressure defense
    + Team defense
    + Dribble Drive w/o bringing a big up to the 3pt line to shake JH or VJ loose.

    From what I saw last night Cody was willing to set tons of screens and can pop. This might be exploited by us since JH and VJ are really not able to do much driving w/o a screen.

    Now if he can add his own drive to the basket we could be looking at our version of Draymond Green

  • MillaRed

    From what I can see, Cody’s ability to run the floor at his size is a big deal. Not sure we have the horses to take advantage of this next season but Yogi is going to love it. Cody will be a factor on the fast break. I realize most of you forget what a fast break is after the last three seasons. But trust me, they really do exist.

    So they are comparing these kids to current NBA all-stars and hall of famers and you give us Jeff Foster? Hey ESPN, bite me.

    The Mickey D All American game is a complete joke. Was I playing X-box or watching a real game? I mean, if chucking 30 foot contested jumpers that brick off the backboard interests me I will hit the PS3 in the basement. That game was horrible with a capital H.

    Cody will make a difference next year folks. I don’t think he is afraid of the pressure. I expect more than a handful of double doubles and 1st team FR all big ten.

    And by the way, you know those players that always seem to get calls out there? Well, we finally have one. Watch and see.

  • HuntingtonHoosier

    Was very impressed with the skill Cody has making nice passes. Love that we will have a power forward that can average around four assists and six to eight rebounds. This kid is going to be a team changer when he gets to Bloomington this summer or next year. Glad that he will not be playing just 15 minutes at IU. He will easily be able to get a nice amount of double-doubles next year. Cannot wait!

  • Cody reminds me more of Gasol (lakers) with a nice midrange game and outside shot and great passer. I like the comparison to the intensity of Foster though. Of all the comparisons this is the only one where the high school player is actually better than the pro.

  • milla – got to agree again…but Sheehey,VO, and Mo can run with CZ and eventhough Yogi is not here yet – you gotta luv Hulls attitude and I do think with a summer working together that this team could be pretty good. Still feel a guy like Traylor is the missing key…

  • michaelhermon94

    ******Do you guys know if Guy Marc will still be practicing with the team this season? I think Cody could really benefit from having a real 7 footer to push him in practice. I think by the time we are 18-20 games in to the season he could be dominant.
    ******* Anthony Davis is going to have a Greg Oden type impact for Kentucky next year. *******James McAdoo looked incredible too, I think he could push Austin Rivers for ACC freshman of the year.
    ******** If Banden Dawson is a 4 year player for MSU we will all hate him by the time he is done, he plays with a nasty edge and is also very skilled.

  • Diesel

    I think some might have seen him running the floor last night and figured well that’s just an all-star game and the bigs aren’t getting back, but anyone who watch UNC in the NCAA tournament folks, not against directional Mississippi school, saw Tyler outrunning the bigs all game long for an easy 2-3 buckets per game. At least going to wear the other bigs out trying to keep up with him.

    And Jordy will find him for easy buckets on the break and in the offense. Book it! Now if we can just get a few other guys to lift their heads while driving to the basket…

  • marcusgresham

    Any starting lineup that doesn’t include Will Sheehey should be adjusted to do so. Best all-around player on the team.

  • jcopey

    I assume many of you also saw Cody run the floor like a deer in the state finals last weekend. I was amazed at how fast he can cover the length of the floor with those huge strides . . . very fluid runner.

    Great players make everyone around them better, and I think Cody will have this impact. Pritchard will really have a chance to shine – as he’s already a decent interior passer, and he & Cody will get some screen & roll / high screen passes for buckets. It’s up to The Pritch to get a nasty “I’m a senior now” attitude and rake in some points & rebounds.

    Also, teams will not be able to double-team Watford now. Opening him up to do so much more – as he won’t have to force shots.

    Now we can actually PASS INTO THE POST and run some of our offense through there. Cody seems to be a great decision maker, and can kick out to a shooter, drive, or pop a 12 footer.

    I really think he’s going to take pressure off the others, and all will improve (as long as we play unselfishly).

  • JG

    Sat front row last night at the McD AA Game (oh by the way, Yogi was in attendance with who was probably his dad, he’s definitely taller than 5’11”)
    Biggest things I saw out of Zeller weren’t just in the game, but also in shoot around. He has a terrific shot. A high release point with a mid-high arch and great rotation. His mid range J was automatic from any angle. He also shot a considerable amount of 3s and at one point hit 5 in-a-row so he looked very comfortable stepping outside.
    In comparing his size to other players. He is every bit as tall as Plumlee who is listed at 6’11 and maybe a shade taller. I know Wiltjer was listed at 6’10 but Zeller was easily an inch or two inches taller than him. I’d say its safe that he is 6’11” He has some filling out to do but you can definitely tell he has some strength and especially in his lower body. Getting stronger in his upper body will be the next big step this off-season.
    In the game, first – he is a great team player. All star game are always guard dominated because they always have the ball. With that said, when Zeller had the ball he didn’t always shoot, he made some very good passes, especially a nice bounce pass for a dunk and a kick out for a 3 after a post up on the block, spin move and going under the basket to find the open shooter when he didn’t have a shot. Second – the kid can run. He was constantly up the court after a made basket. I’m sure he has picked this up from his brother at UNC. This led to 3 easy dunks. Lastly, I think he’s tough. He went inside against Christmas, O’Bryant and McAdoo who are big time athletes and banged bodies with them holding his ground and drawing two fouls. He also looked physical on the glass in boxing out his man. It won’t alway show up on the stat sheet but he will be a formidable presence inside. One improvement I hope to see, and this may be because this wasn’t a game where players always gave 100% effort, but getting up off the court quicker. To be a great shot blcoker and rebounder you have to have that quickness off your feet. I’m sure that will be something he will be adjusting to in the college game because in high school he has had a big size advantage.
    Overall, I can’t wait for next season. He is a very good player and from all accounts a great kid. Everything you want to build a program around.
    And my thoughts on Plumlee he’s athletic and aggressive but seems awkward at times. And lets face it, he’s going to do exactly what his brothers do, rebound, dunk and take up space. Rivers will be a one and done, he’s going to be ridiculous. Branden Dawson is great inside with rebounding and dunking but can’t shoot. Wiltjer will not fit in at Kentucky. He is slow, looks like he’s 15 and is just a set 3 point shooter. Anthony Davis will be one and done, he could be a great player, but he has a lot of work to do on his strength. Marquis Teague will be another guard who is perfect for the dribble drive offense for Calipari, same old story. One guy to look out for is Chem Birch, going to Pitt. Guy has a motor and very active hands. He was constantly involved under the basket, grabbing rebounds, scoring put backs and drawing fouls.

  • Anonymous

    Not nuts.

    We’re rightfully keeping expectations reasonable. But hoping they’re exceeded.

  • Anonymous

    I’m squinting and trying to imagine some bad-guy DE tats on those upper arms.

  • Casey B.

    Comparing Cody Zeller’s talent ceiling to Jeff Foster is like comparing a Ferrari to a Chevette because they both have wheels and an engine.

  • MillaRed

    Yes we need the Traylor kid. Please go get him.

  • MillaRed

    Pretty sure Guy will be looking to play in Europe. Either way he won’t be a Hoosier next year IMO.

  • Anonymous

    Racial stereotyping in sports in painfully obvious throughout journalism.

    People have a hard time seeing the player’s play, and want to focus more on the players character(race plays a factor in whether a prospect is “gritty” or “athletic”). Don’t even get me started on “basketball IQ”

    Anyway, I think the NBA player Zeller is most similar to is…

    Chris Bosh. Not quite a traditional PF in terms of their offensive game – both spend a lot more time outside the block than most PFs. Zeller is a better rebounder, while Bosh has a stronger midrange game than Zeller does at this point. I think they’re both unusually weak blockers for their height but play decent defense and they can both run the floor better than nearly anyone at their height… Zeller has always reminded me of Bosh with less offense and more rebounding.

  • Anonymous

    That’s actually the exact same comparison I came up with. Beat me to it though.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not saying this is correct, or is the way it should be, but there’s no way AE starts over either Hulls/Jones. It won’t happen. I think you can almost pencil in a lineup of Hulls/Jones/Watford/Zeller/Pritchard.

  • Anonymous

    Is this sarcastic? Foster doesn’t have a jumper from more than 10 feet…

  • Anonymous

    Just a heads up, I think DJ averaged 12 and 5 as a freshman in pretty extensive playing time. Nothing against CZ, but I would be shocked to see him average 8 rebounds per game. He’ll make an impact though.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I am pretty pumped to have watched the McDonalds All Star Game and actually to have had an interest in a specific player because I know he is coming to Indiana. Next year it would be better served if there would be an East and West team for all the other players and the winner plays the McDonalds All Indiana Team. Pretty sure it would be like a JV versus Varsity game…. IMO

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    NO. That’s exactly right. I posted a lengthy post after watching him in the state finals at Conseco and said the exact same thing. He plays the game under control, forces nothing, plays smart, rebounds well, passes great, and I’d be thrilled if he average 12/6 but 10/6-7 is more likely in Big Ten games. He’s going to make everybody else better around him because of how he plays the game.

    But, he is no savior and he’s not going to come in and score 15 ppg unless he really packs on the weight next year and he’ll frustrate us on defense occasionally because he does get out of position every now and again.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Here’s winking at you VJ and CW!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    By the way, his outside shot still needs work. He has to have a lot of time to get it off. He took two at the state finals (1 airball and 1 brick) and once he realized he wasn’t getting the time to get it off he stopped shooting out there. That shows good decision making on his part because he wasn’t hitting, but it also definitely showed that his shot still needs improvement and he needs to get it off a bit quicker if he’s going to take those shots at the D1 level.

  • N71

    VJ3 is turnover prone and limited on D.
    Mo can not guard if he’s not healthy.
    VO is not a deep ball threat but good at everything else.

    Everytime I watch VJ3 drive and loose the ball I want to throw myself onto a rusty butter knife. It makes me sad to see Mo limp around the court wanting it so badly but just not healthy yet. VO is a treat to watch so that would be my preference if Austin is not the answer.

  • I certainly hope none of those appear on Cody.

  • eph521

    And don’t forget. Both Zeller and Foster:

    – have a first name four letters long
    – last name six letters long
    – last name that ends with er

    I mean, it’s obvious.

  • Anonymous

    Not saying this will not be the starting lineup and I myself, for next year anyway, would prefer 3 bigs and two guards, but one has to remember how strong Crean’s thinking is when it comes to playing what amounts to 3 guards. If this is what comes about then who do you think sits out of those 3 bigs?

  • Anonymous

    I still think Crean views Watford as a 3, in an ideal situation. If I had to pick one of those three to sit, it’d be Pritchard…and personally, I’d bring VJ off the bench and start Hulls alongside either VO or Will (or Creek, if he’s healthy and has his stroke back, but hard to bank that at this point) and then go with Watford/Zeller/Pritchard. I think Crean has shown a tendency to go with three guards because if he went with 3 “bigs” he’d still be undersized, based on the roster.

  • Casey B.


    I totally didn’t consider that. My perspective has been turned upside down.

    Other supporting arguments:

    – Both require oxygen to sustain life
    – Both play basketball
    – Both have lived in Indiana
    – Both are Caucasian

    I mean seriously – ESPN is supposed to be setting the standard in sports reporting. This article screams “I watched two minutes of footage on each player and made arbitrary comparisons.” No thorough research. No real insights. No well-thought-out content.

    Cody has a better jumper NOW than Foster has ever had.

  • and Gonzalez, Collie and Blair White were the “next Brandon Stokes” or if they have a really god game the “next wes welker”!

  • Dude who gave you the Tom Pritchard cool aid? I love the kid and his effort, he is Matt Howard if Matt Howard sucked. You are tryting to bench Watford the leading scorer? Starting line up is Hulls, Oladipo or Jones, Creek or Sheehey (depending on health), Watford, and Zeller. I don’t think there are any other questions here. 2 and 3 are the only question marks.

  • I have been salivating at what Zeller could do for Hulls’ 3 point looks.

  • Jeff Foster would never score 30 in a game. Love him to death, but probably never even scored 30 in high school.