Here’s a clue as to how important academics are to Cody Zeller and his family.
He recently had breakfast with Don Kuratko, the chairman of the Entrepreneurship program for Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, to discuss available programs.
It’s not the first trip Zeller has made to IU’s business school as he analyzes all factors before picking a college. It’s a safe bet that Zeller made similar academic trips to Butler and North Carolina, his other finalists.
How many elite athletes do that?
Maybe 1 in 10.
Zeller is an outstanding student as well as the nation’s 20th best basketball player in the Class of 2011. He could get an academic scholarship if he wasn’t playing basketball.
That’s among the reasons why Zeller is such a prime target. He’ll boost a program’s academic standing as well as basketball performance, and that’s important in these days when graduation rates and progress toward graduation matter.
Speculation is rampant as to what school Zeller will choose and here’s what we can say with 100 percent certainty -- we’ll all know early Thursday afternoon.
Fans look for signs in the smallest of things to figure out where he’s going. One minute it’s a done deal for Indiana. The next, Butler is back in the picture in the big way. The next, well, North Carolina is such a stud magnet it’s hard to imagine anybody turning it down.
Okay, here’s a sign for you. IU decided not to release anything about Austin Etherington signing his letter Wednesday morning. Usually schools do. Purdue did with forwards Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson even though it’s waiting on Detroit Center Amir Williams, who isn’t expected to announce for another week.
That could mean that coach Tom Crean knows Zeller is coming to IU and wants to announce Etherington and Zeller together in one release. Or it could mean Crean wants to announce something Thursday to offset the loss of Zeller.
Or it could mean …
Amazing, isn’t it, how a teenager boy can have a state enthralled like this. Or, perhaps, it’s a sad commentary on our sports obsessed culture when there are so many truly crucial issues in the world like the economy, terrorism, global warming, Afghanistan and, say, why the NFL commissioner keeps fining Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
Okay, enough of the sermon. Of course it’s bleeping important! This is basketball in Indiana, for goodness sakes! The fate of college basketball dominance for the next several years could be determined by Zeller’s decision.
Zeller isn’t Lebron James, but he can be a huge piece in somebody’s national championship run.
He can run and has skill and, at 6-10, he has NBA-caliber height. He has to get bigger and stronger, and he will. He has to get fitter and tougher, and he will.
The media joke was that when Zeller makes his announcement at Washington High School, smoke will be released in papal announcement fashion. If it’s red smoke, it’s IU. Dark blue would be Butler. Light blue would be North Carolina.
In the meantime, stay up all night and pace if you must, buy some candy stripped pants if it makes you feel better.
Then remember what Hoosier Deep Throat said –- Zeller is a lock for IU. He still says it while chain smoking a major cloud in the shadows of an IU parking lot.
Is he smoking from worry or from confidence?
Guess it’s another sign to read.