Cody Zeller – Freshman
Washington High School- Washington, Indiana
6’11" – 230 lbs.
Cody Zeller has quite a task on his hand for his college career. He has been pegged as the feet for which all of Hoosierdoms hopes and dreams of being a relevant program are laid. Is this unfair to a 19 year old kid fresh out of high school? Likely. Is that going to stop people from putting that kind of pressure on him to succeed? No. Zeller is the kid who has to be a strong player immediately in order for this season’s Hoosiers to be a threat to anyone in conference. As of now, it appears that he has shown up to handle that responsibility.
A 2011 grad of Washington High School, he was named Indiana Mr. Basketball (IU’s 26th such recruit) and garnered a first team All-State selection. His 25 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists a game as a senior also landed him in the McDonald’s All-American game where he scored 10 points and grabbed three rebounds. He is by far the biggest recruit to step onto campus at Indiana since Damon Bailey and why shouldn’t he be? If he were a racehorse he would have a top billed pedigree. His oldest brother Luke was 2005 McDonald’s All-American and has probably the greatest shot in the history of high school basketball since Bobby Plump’s in 1954. His other brother Tyler was a 2008 Burger Boy and current starting center/forward for top ranked North Carolina and his uncle was a standout at Missouri. Between the three siblings there are 4 state championships and 3 McDonald’s All-American bids. Elite genetics right there.
The business major comes into the 2011-2012 season with high expectations no doubt, but there are some things he is going to have to do in order to live up to those expectations. First of all coming into the summer he was entirely too skinny to battle in the Big Ten. He was going to have to add some weight. From June to November he was able to pack on 20 lbs. of muscle to bring him to his current weight of 230. To go with that added weight was the necessary strength to become more of a defensive presence. He still lacks the major post presence on the defensive end necessary to deter some of the more elite guards from slashing to the basket but that should come with a bit of time. Until then he has great defensive awareness to get a lot of rebounds and weak side blocks.
The biggest thing Zeller will bring to this team this season is an offensive presence down low. He doesn’t even have to score a lot for this team to be successful. He just has to be a big enough threat on the offensive side of the ball that teams will have to put more focus on the Hoosiers front court. That is what has been missing for the last couple years. Just by being, Zeller will improve this team exponentially. I would expect about 8 points out of him a game to go with 6-7 rebounds a game. Anything more than that is icing on the cake. However, because of his presence the outside shooting of the Hoosiers is going to improve greatly. If the first three games are any barometer then there will be open looks a plenty for the sharpshooters as Zeller draws double teams in the post. I’ll end this with a quick warning for the future games this season, don’t expect Zeller to move the heavens for the Hoosiers this year. He’ll be at his best as a facilitator and rebounder in the post. The points will come naturally, don’t expect the Hoosiers to force it to him.