Once upon a time, all really good southern Indiana high school basketball players went to Indiana. Guys like Calbert Cheaney, Damon Bailey and Steve Bouchie became Hoosiers because of Bob Knight, the program’s tradition and a chance to win national and Big Ten championships.
Then life got more complex and, as we know, Tom Crean arrived to restore order to the Cream ‘n Crimson universe. The best way, of course, would be to go 36-0 and win the national championship.
How hard could it be?
Of course, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, but what COULD happen is that a very significant southern Indiana basketball player might sign with the Hoosiers.
Yes, we’re talking about Cody Zeller, who just might do what older brothers Luke and Tyler didn’t do –- become a Hoosier. Luke went to Notre Dame. Tyler is at North Carolina.
As the world knows, Cody has narrowed his choices to Indiana, North Carolina and Butler. He will decide in time for the November signing period after making his three official visits.
It’s the timing of those visits that provide the best indication of where Cody is leaning. In case that indication isn’t clear enough, we have decided to utilize our years of journalistic experience and keen insight into the way teenagers think tell you.
Any questions before we start?
SO HOW DO TEENAGERS THINK?
It's too scary to detail here.
DIDN’T YOU USED TO HAVE HAIR?
Yes. I was told that if I shaved my head and grew a goatee, I would look EXACTLY like George Clooney.
DID IT WORK?
Anyway, the 6-10 Zeller is set to visit Butler Oct. 9-11, North Carolina Oct. 15-17 and Indiana Oct. 29-31.
A couple of things about that. North Carolina was not really interested in Zeller until July, when this Washington High School standout played at a very high level on the AAU circuit. Coach Roy Williams noticed and the recruiting scene altered because, well, Williams and the Tar Heels are tough to turn down.
So Zeller hasn’t, at least not yet.
Butler might have had a chance before last spring’s Final Four run. Now it’s a program all recruits have to consider. Yes, that means Zeller.
The Bulldogs’ surprising surge to the national championship game provided a game-changing boost to recruiting. It showed that a small school does have a shot at a national championship –- and landing big-time players.
Zeller’s visit to North Carolina comes on its annual Midnight Madness. This is, and we can’t state this enough, not a coincidence. The pageantry surrounding this kind of event to kick off college basketball practice can overwhelm your average recruit.
Zeller, of course, is not average.
Thus, IU gets the last crack at him, and this is very good. You want to make a lasting impression. Be the last thing on his mind before he makes one of the biggest decisions of his life.
No matter what happens, figure Zeller will make the right decision.