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Cody Zeller declares for the NBA Draft (UPDATED)

Apr 10, 2013, 10:20 AM EDT

Indiana Hoosiers Zeller shoots over Syracuse Orange Keita during the first half in their East Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Washington

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Cody Zeller is heading to the NBA.

Indiana’s star center will made his intentions known this afternoon in a press conference. Draft Express projects him as the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft, one slot behind teammate Victor Oladipo, who declared for the draft yesterday.

“I believe it is in my best interest to pursue my professional basketball career in the NBA next season,” he said.

Zeller was a second team all-american this season after averaging 16.1 points and 7.3 boards. In his two seasons with Indiana, he went 56-16 and played a major role in the renaissance of the program. If he doesn’t pick the Hoosiers, Indiana isn’t a Sweet 16 team in 2012 and they don’t win the Big Ten title in 2013.

It will be interesting to see just how good of a pro Zeller will be. He’s terrific in transition and when it comes to running the floor, but he struggled at times this season against teams with above-average athletes and length. He also doesn’t have a great back-to-the-basket game, which was exposed later in the season.

Indiana will lose their top four scorers this offseason, but Tom Crean has a stockpile of talent on his roster and another loaded recruiting class coming in this season, headlined by five-star power forward Noah Vonleh.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. metalhead65 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    hate to see him leave but he has to do what’s right for him and being a top 10 pick along with the money that comes with it is a no brainer. considering were they were before he got there and that he also has his degree he did allot in 2 years.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Yeah…I hate to see him leave as well Metalhead. If he is leaving it appears he will have his degree this summer. Word was…he might not have it till’ January. If so…I could see him staying another year (regardless of the top ten selection), This tells me he will earn his degree this summer (assuming he does leave).

  2. jpopejoy - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    While I understand why ($) he is leaving, he’s not remotely close to ready for the nba. Anytime he went up against a strong big man he struggled. He was 3-11 and blocked 6 times w a 6’9″ guy on him. He needs to either 1)improve his physicality and quickness gettin the ball up or 2) his jump shot.

    Oladipo is ready to play in the nba, I’m afraid Zeller will be in Europe in 3 years.

    As a Hoosier, I hope I’m wrong.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      While I agree he isn’t physically ready…I do NOT agree with your prediction of him being in Europe in 3 years. The NBA drafts on potential (perhaps more than any other league). He will most certainly be given time to fill out physically. As for the jump shot…he has one. A pretty decent one at that.
      In fact…he won the long distance shoot out at Hoosier Hysteria this year. It’s just that he didn’t need to shoot jumpers in College. Scratch that…he didn’t need to shoot jumpers in College with the exception of the Syracuse debacle.

    • gostlcards5 - Apr 11, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      Actually, I agree that Zeller is not ready to play in the NBA at his current state, but he has all the tools to do so. However, I don’t think that staying in college does him any good. Dakich talked about this on the radio a day or two ago, and I completely agree with him. Zeller will be better able to improve his physique in the NBA, where they have nutritionists, trainers, etc., and where he is able to work out every day for 5-8 hours/day. Compare that to him remaining at IU where he has other obligations potentially (classes, etc.), and they have limits on the amount of time that the student-athletes can train/practice.

      You get this guy with a good former center/center coach, let him get stronger, and I guarantee he will be a very good to great NBA player. I do not believe that Cody has yet shown his full playing potential, and additionally, he is a team guy with a great work ethic. He’ll be fine.

      • llfreedman - Apr 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        everyone saying he will end up in Europe has no idea what they are saying. Zeller has a few bad habits…These are easily correctable. He has remarkable speed and skill for a 7 footer. Eat crow haters…

        if MYERS LEONARD can play in the NBA and get minutes- I think Cody Zeller will be ok. Cody dominated him back when he was even skinnier. The NBA is a much more open game than college. Cody will be able to get better looks. Cody will also be able to use his skill against the Zach Randolphs of the world. I am not in the least worried about Cody’s pro prospects.

        People are judging Cody by the tournament where he was the focal point of the defense and college is just a much more crowded game. Come on people…

  3. nickp91 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Zeller will announce that he will forego his last two years of eligibility at Indiana to enter the NBA Draft

  4. jpopejoy - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Stl…I know what you’re saying re his jumper but unless I see it in a game he doesn’t have one. Jordy shoots like 85% from 3 in warmups.

    My point was more…he needs to improve one of those. Improved jumper puts in as a Pau Gasol type of player. Improved physicality puts him as a Marc Gasol type of player. Right now he’s a tweener in both.

    Also for what it’s worth Zeller barely made a mid range jumper in warm ups and halftime shooting vs cuse (was at the game)

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      I hear you JPJ. He should have shot that jumper during the Syracuse game.
      With their zone…that jumper at the free throw line has to be taken. That was really what I was getting at with regards to him needing it during that game. I did see him use it from time to time prior to the tournament starting. But it was sporadic. But again…he didn’t really need it then.
      Sorry you saw a horrendous game. How were your seats?
      Tickets easy to score…fairly economical?

  5. jpopejoy - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Seats were uppers in the section next to all IU fans (must’ve been reserved for IU). I bought the tickets before round of 32 so tickets weren’t bad…when IU won they went up $80 a ticket on stubhub.

    Tourney games are strange…4 teams fans, no beer served, etc

  6. jpopejoy - Apr 11, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Actually, I watched every minute of the season (and watched a handful of games a second time) and I love Cody Zeller…and I’m not a hater. I hope Zeller succeeds. I’m worried he could end up in Europe. Lets remember Sean May was a stud in college and is there now. It’s not that uncommon these days.

    I want Zeller to succeed and can see the benefits of going pro early for training etc (and really makes sense financially for him draft wise on a weak class).

    I just think if this was 10 yrs ago he stays one more year. I wish him the best tho…he was the landmark signing to bring IU back.

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