In an era when virtually every elite prospect leaves college for the NBA at the first opportunity, Cody Zeller returned to school for the 2012-13 season. The decision may prove costly in terms of his draft status. A likely top-two pick had he turned pro a year ago, Zeller now is listed as the 12th-best prospect by ESPN.com draft analyst Chad Ford, for example. Still, the player possesses a unique blend of size and skill that make him an intriguing selection.
Things the Draft Experts Like:
NBADraft.Net: “Big man with an excellent basketball IQ and all-around athlete ... A gazelle. Runs the floor extremely well for a 7-footer. He also has great body control for a center, showing unusual ability to convert plays on the break ... Plays with great energy, a focused and intense competitor.”
ESPN.com: “He is one of the two or three most skilled big men in the country, is exceptional leaking out on the fast break, has great hands and is difficult to contain when he catches the ball in the high post.”
DraftExpress.com: “The intrigue around Zeller continues to revolve around his excellent combination of size, athleticism and scoring instincts. A fluid, coordinated 7-footer, Zeller runs the floor as well as any big man in college basketball and can make plays above the rim with ease if given a running start.”
Draft Expert Concerns:
DraftExpress.com: “His short wingspan and seemingly small hands appeared to be a major factor when looking at his ability to finish over length at the collegiate level, as he has a low release point on many of his shots around the rim, and gets his shot blocked a lot more than you’d hope. With his frail frame, average explosiveness off two feet, and short arms, there are plenty of concerns about whether he'll be able to finish consistently in traffic at the NBA level.”
NBADRAFT.NET: “While very composed, his moves can be too predictable, leading to blocked shots ... Unselfish to a fault. May never be a huge scorer in the league ... Seems to be more comfortable in a secondary role. Lacks an alpha male personality.”
Zeller played for the same Indiana University program as Pelicans shooting guard Eric Gordon. Both are also natives of the Hoosier State.