USA TODAY Sports
The nation's top ranked team excels off the court as well.
As if being ranked #1 in the polls, being in control of the Big Ten with four games to go, and having two likely first team All-Americans weren't enough, IU received word yesterday that two Hoosiers were being honored for their work in the classroom. Cody Zeller was named a first-team Academic All-American and Jordan Hulls was named to the third team. Zeller and Hulls are the first Hoosiers to be so honored since Luke Recker (who?) in 1999. This also marks the first time IU has had two Academic All-Americans in the same season since brothers Dick and Tom Van Arsdale made it in 1965. Other names of local interest: Warsaw native Mason Plumlee of Duke and Ohio State's Aaron Craft join Zeller on the first team. Peyton Siva of Louisville and Andrew Smith of Butler are on the second team.
Foremost, congratulations is due to Zeller and Hulls, who apparently have put in as much work in the classroom as they have on the court. In addition, the academic support staff within the athletic department deserves credit for what they have done. Finally, what about the culture that Tom Crean has established at IU? Of course, the idea that IU should recruit good kids who go to class and graduate has been around for a long time, particularly when Bob Knight was the head coach. But Crean had to rebuild that culture from scratch when he arrived at IU. Congrats to all involved.