May 19, 2010

Third times a charm for Zeller?

When it comes to the Zeller family, Indiana is 0-for-2.

The Hoosiers have had a pair of chances already to land the two oldest Zeller's, Luke in 2005 and Tyler in 2008. But instead, the former Indiana Mr. Basketball winners spurned their state school for Notre Dame and North Carolina, respectively.

But fortunately for Hoosier fans, it looks like IU is going to get one more crack at it and head coach Tom Crean is going to try his luck at it.

Indiana is hoping the third time for a Zeller is a charm, as forward Cody Zeller is becoming a hot commodity from Washington, Ind. and has solidified himself as IU's No. 1 recruiting target for the Class of 2011.

Standing at 6-10 and weighing about 210 pounds, Cody is on a mission to take a step out of his brothers' shadows and make a name for himself. He is already rated nationally as the No. 35 prospect in the Class of 2011, a solid four-star ranking. But with his increasingly solid play on the summer AAU circuit, he could land that sought-after fifth star to his name.

"(I have been playing) pretty well, the whole team has been playing pretty well," Zeller said at the AMC Classic in Bloomington on Sunday prior to his team's unexpected loss to Team Southern Indiana in the quarterfinals. "It's good to play against the best competition in the country and see what I need to work on. It is always good to see different players on different teams."

Like all big men, Cody has been hitting the weight room harder, which is obvious from his increased upper body strength. The extra weight has not affected his shot, as his stroke is smooth for a player of his height. His rebounding is coming on nicely, along with his aggressiveness on the offensive end. While he still needs to work on footwork and his aggressiveness, along with becoming more vocal on the floor, he is still a highly desired player for most colleges.

Zeller holds offers from about 10 schools, including Indiana, Butler, Purdue, Notre Dame, Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida and Wake Forest. He is also getting a lot of interest from North Carolina, no doubt thanks to the recommendations from his brother and UNC forward Tyler.

"They have been calling me a lot and coming to my open gyms," Cody said of the Tar Heels. "We will see if they have an open scholarship. It is definitely a great program. The coaching staff is unbelievable and they have a history of winning�I can't find anything bad about the school."

With bigger schools getting involved, Indiana will have to step up to land the coveted forward. However, they are aware there is time, as Cody is not going to trim his list to five until after the summer period. From there, he will take all five of his official visits and decide after that, which may or may not come before his senior basketball season at Washington.

As for Indiana, Crean and the Hoosiers have made a pretty big impression on the Indiana native.

"They have been calling a lot. They get one call a month and they have been using that," Zeller said. "They have been e-mailing, mailing, coming to see me workout. They are showing about as much interest as they can show."

The biggest problem the Hoosiers have run into, though, is the lack of scholarships. With the recent signing of Guy-Marc Michel for the Class of 2010 and the commitment of Zeller's Indiana Elite teammate Austin Etherington in 2011, Indiana currently has zero scholarships on paper.

A Big Ten rule allows all conference teams to oversign by one player, but means IU would have to have a transfer for that player to sign.

However Zeller said he has been told not to worry about the scholarship situation by Crean.

"(There's no talk) about that at all," Zeller said. "He [Crean] just said I have a scholarship and he hasn't said anything different� If they don't have a scholarship for me when I commit, I guess that will make my decision easier. So I don't know, we will see."

But don't let the scholarship crunch make you think Zeller is not interested in joining the Hoosier squad.

"I am definitely highly interested," Zeller said of Indiana. "They obviously have a nice new facility. I think they are doing a nice job of rebuilding the program with the guys they have coming in and they recruits they have� [Crean] said he wants to rebuild the program and I can be one of the rebuilding blocks of getting it back to what it used to be."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!