Thursday, November 11, 2010

Counting The Ways to Zeller’s Decision

By now we know two things:

1) Cody Zeller is coming to Indiana

2) Tom Crean loves tough guys.

3) The Zeller family is VERY organized.

Okay, so math isn’t our strong point.

Anyway, here’s an idea of how thorough the Zellers were to ensure Cody made the best decision possible in his college choice.

After Cody had made his official visits to Indiana, Butler and North Carolina, after he had investigated the business schools of all three universities, it was time to really analyze things. So Cody’s father, Steve, went into debate mode. For three straight nights, he pretended he was a representative of one of those schools and pushed his son hard.

“I picked out a different college each night, and I did it in alphabetical order, and tried to convince him which college to go to. One night it was Butler and I rode him all night long on how he should go to Butler. The next night it was Indiana. North Carolina was next. I had him think about everything he had to do. It was almost like a debate.”

The idea was to solidify in Cody’s mind the wisdom of his choice so there would be no second thoughts or regrets. Let’s face it. He couldn’t have made a bad choice. All three are great schools with great programs. It was a matter of picking the right fit for him.

It helped that Cody had already been through similar recruiting processes with older brothers Luke (went to Notre Dame) and Tyler (a senior at North Carolina).

“I went on a lot of their visits with them. I knew the coaches before they started recruiting me.”

Cody’s official visit to IU was crucial in his decision.

“You get to spend time with the guys on the team and see what college is like there. I built some relationships. The players at IU are fun to be around.”

Now the idea is for the Hoosiers to have fun by winning a ton of games. Indiana coach Tom Crean has no doubt that Zeller can help them do that.

“When I look at Cody Zeller,” Crean said in a university release, I see a great teammate. I see a young man who had a mental toughness that is not normal. I see a young man who has endurance and a will about him that is going to pay dividends at Indiana, and for many years after that.

“Obviously he is a year-round winner from the program that he is in. He plays for one of the finest coaches in all of high school basketball in Gene Miiller, and the proof is there in his record.”

Proof, by the way, includes Cody’s academic transcript. He has a 3.99 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

Still, it’s Cody’s basketball prowess that sets him apart. Last year he averaged 20.5 points and 11.1 rebounds and led Washington to the Class 3A state championship.

Cody continued to play well after the season and into the summer AAU circuit. Crean saw him a ton and was impressed.

“When you use the phrase, ‘The sky is the limit,’ you can put Cody’s name next to it,” Crean said. “I see no ceiling right now for that young man athletically, ability wise, stature...

“When you look at the entire package … He is as good of a defensive rebounder as I have ever recruited, not just because of his size, but his tenaciousness. He has improved his range. He has improved his skill set. He is outstanding at the elbow area (of the basketball court) and is very good around the post. But what he is getting now more than ever is the ability to shoot the ball from range.”

There’s more, of course, and will address that in a future blog.

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