Zeller Headed for NBA Draft
Cody Zeller led the Hoosiers in both points (16.5ppg) and rebounds (8.1rpg). He was the pre-season Player of the Year and remained a viable candidate in the discussion all year long, though Trey Burke was the eventual recipient. Zeller gave the Hoosiers a much needed inside presence that allowed for the Hoosiers to have a great deal of success in his abbreviated two year career.
Zeller is a true 7-footer which automatically makes him an enticing prospect. When you factor in his ability to run the court and his nice touch from the free throw line, it puts him above and beyond your average 7-footer (if there is such a thing as an "average" 7-footer). He did bulk up quite a bit from his freshman to sophomore year, but be still needs to put on some additional weight and muscle to be able to bang with grown NBA big men. He also needs to continue to develop his feel for the game and learn to play more like a true 7-footer.
All things considered, he is unquestionably a lottery-pick in this year's draft. Many said that he would have been had he entered the draft after his freshman season, though I think he is probably glad to have returned to Indiana for the additional development and experience.
Zeller's announcement just the day after Oladipo's, coupled with the exit of seniors and leaders Jordy Hulls and Christian Watford may leave Hoosier fans wondering about the immediate future. Freshman point guard, Yogi Ferrell will be the only returning starter. Will Sheehey is the only other Hoosier who saw significant minutes in key moments throughout the year. This puts the hopes of raising that fabled banner in Assembly Hall as just that -- more of a hope than anything. The Hoosiers won't be completely decimated, but losing four starters with that combination of talent and experience leaves the future up in the air.
Regardless, the Hoosiers appear to be back. They have certainly had a fantastic two-year run, and Hoosier Nation has certainly enjoyed being relevant. Best wishes to Oladipo and Zeller, as well as the graduating seniors, moving forward.