It’s a great time to be a Zeller.
Cody led Washington to the Indiana 3A state title with a 61-46 victory over Culver Academies Saturday night at Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse, then won the Trester mental attitude award.
Older brother Tyler has helped lead North Carolina into today’s Elite Eight showdown against Kentucky in Newark, N.J., for a berth in next weekend’s Final Four in Houston.
You figure parents Steve and Lorri are putting in some heavy travel miles.
Washington (24-4) won its second straight state title and third in the last four years, and fourth since 2005. It has seven state championships, second in Indiana history to Muncie Central’s eight.
The 6-10 Cody was a monster (in a good way) with 20 points and 18 rebounds.
“Their size affected our play,” Culver coach Mark Galloway said. “Zeller was blocking shots and changing shots.”
Cody has three state titles to best the two by Tyler (2005 and 2008) and the one by oldest brother Luke (2005).
Cody’s mental attitude award was just as impressive. He ranks second in his senior class of 159 students with a grade point averge of 3.99 while taking the toughest classes Washington offers. He also finds time to volunteer at Camp Illiana and Habitat for Humanity, participates annually in the Dr. Seuss “Read Across America” program in area elementary schools and is an active member at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Is solving America’s dependence on foreign oil next?
“Cody deserves to be the Trester Award winner,” coach Gene Miiller said. “He is an outstanding young man and player. He is also a great student and has high character.”
Miiller coached the Hatchets to their last three state titles. He’s the ninth coach in state history to have coached at least three state champions. The Zellers played a huge roll in that.
“They were all very coachable and they work very hard,” he said.
Cody will take that work ethic to IU starting this summer. Figure the No. 1 key for him is to get stronger. The sooner he gets to Big Ten-ready strength, the sooner he’ll thrive for the Hoosiers.
Another future Hoosier, Indianapolis Park Tudor point guard Yogi Ferrell, also won a state championship on Saturday. Park Tudor edged Hammond Bishop Noll 43-42 for the Class 2A title.
Ferrell had 14 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. He didn’t light up Conseco Fieldhouse with his shooting well (he was 6-for-15 overall, 1-for-5 from three-point range) but he ran the show well enough to produce a championship to go with last year’s runner-up finish.
Park Tudor was led by freshman Trevon Bluiett’s 21 points and eight rebounds. He scored the winning points. Yes, the Hoosiers have offered him a scholarship.
Ferrell is part of IU’s Class of 2012 that figures to rate as the nation’s best.
Does watching Butler play make you yearn for the time when Indiana will display the same tough-minded, crunch-time-thriving effort?
Of course it does.
That the Bulldogs should be in their second straight Final Four is amazing. They do not overwhelm with talent, although they have good players. They are smart; they execute the game plan; they rebound; and they play defense.
Oh, yes. They play with maximum effort and never quit. They trailed by 11 points to an athletically superior Florida team deep into the second half and still managed to win in overtime.
They get this from their most veteran players as well as their least experienced ones.
Experts figured losing Gordon Hayward to the NBA ended any national title hopes, and they were right until about early February, when Butler started a roll that has carried it to Houston.
Can this team actually win a national championship?
Don’t bet against it.