Column: Cody Zeller isn’t ready for the NBA
by Terry Hutchens, USA TODAY Sports
I’ve never stopped wondering if Cody Zeller might just resist the temptation of going to the NBA after two years and play a third season in Bloomington. It would allow him to finish his degree as well as have one more year in college. Anyone that knows the family knows the importance of education to the Zellers, and anyone that knows Cody knows how much he has enjoyed the college experience.
But today’s story is something completely different. In the past, I’ve felt like Indiana fans wanted Zeller to come back for another year. There was no question about that. But based on his play through the first 10 games, I’m starting to wonder if Cody may need to play another year of college basketball before he’s ready.
I just don’t think he looks like he’s ready for that level. I’m no expert, and I don’t play one on TV, but I know an All-American performer when I see one. And while I think Cody could be there from a potential standpoint, I just haven’t seen it on a consistent basis. Yes, he did have 19 points and 19 rebounds in a recent game but I just feel like his play has been up and down.
Take Saturday’s 88-86 overtime loss to Butler. I just didn’t feel like Zeller was taking over the game. And I think when you’re as a big and talented as he is, I would think that would be the case. But Cody needs to command the ball more inside. He needs to go after rebounds harder than he is. Saturday he had five rebounds in 37 minutes. An average 7-footer should get five rebounds. The preseason All-American and Big Ten player of the year should be able to take that to another level.
And when he goes through a second time to all of the Big Ten venues, opposing conference teams will know how to game plan for him. So I hope for his sake, and that of Indiana fans that Zeller turns it around and has a big season. At the same time, I think it’s starting to … [For more on Column: Cody Zeller isn't ready for the NBA, click here.]