Aug 11, 2011, 3:50 PM EDT
Cody Zeller’s the most highly touted prospect Tom Crean’s brought into Indiana. He’s a 5-star forward with a nice mix of size (6-10) and skill who can make an instant impact on a program that needs it.
Adding to that? Zeller’s an Indiana native, which means every Hoosier fan knows his name and knows he should be one of IU’s top players next season.
A basketball-mad state produces a player that a basketball-proud program expects to thrive? That’s pressure most NBA players can’t handle.
Thankfully, Zeller knows this. He’s ready for it, and is (trying) to stay grounded.
Zeller said he has put on 10 pounds this summer. He was asked about the different pressure he has now. Before it was whether he would come to IU, now a lot of people are expecting him to contribute right away.
Zeller: “I’m just glad to be here and working out. I am just going to work as hard as I can every day and see what happens. I don’t have any numbers in mind that I’m looking to put up, I’m just trying to get wins for the team and do whatever I can to help the team win. That is all I can do.”
Keep that attitude, kid. You’ll need it as Indiana continues to work its way back into Big Ten contention, which’ll probably take yet another season.
The Hoosiers have gone 6-25, 10-21 and 12-20 under Crean, who essentially had to rebuild from scratch after the program was hit with NCAA sanctions. If Zeller was expected to carry the team, it’d be another lackluster season. But withy guys like Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls on the roster, Zeller can be a contributor and not the go-to guy.
And that’ll help him keep that grounded attitude. At least until he is ready to take the starring role.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
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