Minnesota Timberwolves 2013 NBA Draft Player Profile - Cody Zeller
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  • Shabazz Muhammad
  • Cody Zeller
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Article

Cody Zeller

Cody Zeller

INDIANA
Year: Sophomore
Position: Power Forward
Height: 7-foot-0
Weight: 240 lbs.
Editor’s Note: Throughout the month of June, Timberwolves.com will profile a series of prospects that could be available at Minnesota’s No. 9 or 26 picks, or if they choose to move up during the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Part X profiles Cody Zeller, the standout from Indiana who helped the Hoosiers spend much of the winter atop the college basketball polls.



Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Mock Draft Projections: 1st round, picks 5 through 13

2012-13 Season: 16.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG, .562 FG%, .757 FT%
2011-12 Season: 15.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.4 SPG, .623 FG%, .755 FT%

There are a lot of players with NBA family ties in this NBA Draft, but few have as many connections as Cody Zeller. Zeller grew up playing against two brothers who made it to the NBA—Tyler and Luke—and his uncle, Al Eberhard, played four years for the Pistons.

It’s easy to see the blood lines follow suit with Cody, who will likely end up being the highest draft pick out of the group.

During Zeller’s two years with Indiana, he helped bring the Hoosiers back to national prominence after years of missed NCAA tournaments and early exits. The Hoosiers reached the Sweet 16 in each of his two seasons, marking the first time since 1994 that Indiana made back-to-back appearances in the regional semifinals, and the Hoosiers attained a No. 1 national ranking for the first time since the 1992-93 season under Bobby Knight.

You can tell by Zeller’s work ethic in his Draft workouts that he brings the type of energy and commitment needed to achieve those types of team goals. He’s a guy who will bring it every day. That, combined with his 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season, make him a standout and intriguing prospect in this year’s draft.


At the NBA level, where, according to Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders, he projects as a power forward, Zeller will likely have more room to showcase some of the ranging skills he possesses on the offensive end. Clearly a player who runs the floor well and spent much of his time at Indiana on the block, Zeller will likely get more opportunities to show off his midrange game at the next level. That’s something he didn’t show as much in college but showcased for the Wolves during his workout here in Minnesota.

And while the Wolves aren’t exactly thin at the power forward position, Zeller said he could be a good fit here with the Wolves.

"I think it fit in well,” Zeller said. “To be able to grow behind Pekovic and Love. They are definitely a talented team. I know Rubio will be a lot of fun to play with."

STRENGTHS

During his two years in Bloomington, Zeller has been a highly celebrated player and was named the Associated Press Preseason Player of the Year. That’s because he is an incredibly efficient and diverse scorer who can hurt opposing teams in transition and in the half court. Zeller was one of the top bigs in college basketball last year when it comes to running the floor. His transition scoring was prevalent in virtually every Indiana game, and he certainly can help a team in that regard at the next level. At Indiana, his half court touches often came with his back to the basket, and he certainly has the touch and the footwork to get to the rim on the block. But he also showed Saunders and the Wolves’ basketball operations staff just how well he can shoot in his midrange game during last week’s workout. “He shot the ball well—did good things that we thought he could do that he didn’t do as much in the Big Ten with a lot of back to the basket,” Saunders said. Thanks to his footwork and feel for the game, Zeller has shown he can be an effective player in the pick-and-roll game. From a personal standpoint, Zeller has an intense work ethic and drive. You can tell he puts all his energy into his workouts on the court.

WEAKNESSES

Zeller’s biggest challenge at the NBA level will be his strength and toughness inside. Saunders said he told Zeller that Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe “kicked his butt” during the Hoosiers’ upset loss to the Gophers in February. That’s a big reason why Saunders views Zeller as more of a 4, not a 5, in the NBA. He has the size and the scoring touch to be a nice player in the league, but he will be at his best when he’s not being matched up with guys like Roy Hibbert and Dwight Howard. “I've always been a little bit undersized, but I make up for in how hard I work and scrapping and clawing,” Zeller said. “That goes back to growing up with Luke and Tyler playing in the driveway. I've always been a little undersized and learned to play with it.”

THEY SAID IT

"I don't worry about it at all, we had such a talented team and I'm a team-first kind of guy, so seriously I could care less about where my Draft status was throughout the year. As long as we were winning games. I'm going to end up in a good spot no matter what." — Indiana F Cody Zeller on Draft stock falling by returning for sophomore year

WHAT HE CAN BRING TO THE WOLVES

Zeller runs the floor incredibly well for a big, as he was one of the most mobile front court players in college basketball last year. That style of play works incredibly well with a point guard like Ricky Rubio, who makes his teammates look great in transition. Zeller also is a gifted offensive player who shot better than 60 percent from the floor in his first season with the Hoosiers, ensuring he has a soft touch at the rim and is capable of taking high percentage shots. The question with Zeller is mostly his positioning—the Wolves are adamant he is a power forward at the next level, and with Love, Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham currently taking those minutes, Zeller would be joining a logjam at the 4.

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Time Draft Picks

Year
Player
Pos.
School
Rd / Pick
Ht / Wt
Class
2012
Robbie Hummel
F
Purdue
2 / 58
6'8" / 215
Sr
2011
Derrick Williams
F
Arizona
1 / 2
6'8" / 248
So

Donatas Motiejunas
F/C
Italy
1 / 20
7'0" / 222
Int'l
2010
Wesley Johnson
G/F
Syracuse
1 / 4
6'7" / 215
Jr
Luke Babbitt
F
Nevada
1 / 16
6'9" / 225
So
Trevor Booker
F
Clemson
1 / 23
6'8" / 240
Sr
Paulo Prestes
C
Brazil
2 / 45
6'11" / 260
Int'l
Hamady Ndiaye
C
Rutgers
2 / 56
7'0" / 235
Sr
2009
Ricky Rubio
G
Spain
1 / 5
6'4" / 180
Int'l

Jonny Flynn
G
Syracuse
1 / 6
6'0" / 185
So

Ty Lawson
G
North Carolina
1 / 18
5'11" / 195
Jr

Wayne Ellington
G
North Carolina
1 / 28
6'4" / 200
Jr

Nick Calathes
G
Florida
2 / 45
6'6" / 194
So

Henk Norel
F
Netherlands
2 / 47
6'10" / 230
Int'l
2008
OJ Mayo
G
USC
1 / 3
6'4" / 200
Fr
Nikola Pekovic
C
Montenegro
2 / 31
6'11" / 265
Int
Mario Chalmers
G
Kansas
2 / 34
6'1" / 190
Jr
2007
Corey Brewer
F
Florida
1 / 7
6'9" / 185
Jr

Chris Richard
F
Florida
2 / 41
6'9" / 255
Sr
2006
Brandon Roy
G
Washington
1 / 6
6'6" / 215
Sr

Craig Smith
F
Boston College
2 / 36
6'7" / 250
Sr

Bobby Jones
F
Washington
2 / 37
6'7" / 215
Sr

Loukas Mavrokefalidis
F
Greece
2 / 57
6'11" / 260
Int'l
2005
Rashad McCants
G
North Carolina
1 / 14
6'4" / 207
Jr

Bracey Wright
G
Indiana
2 / 47
6'3" / 210
Jr
2004
Blake Stepp
G
Gonzaga
2 / 58
6'4" / 194
Sr
2003
Ndudi Ebi
F
Westbury Christian H.S.
1 / 26
6'9" / 195
HS

Rick Rickert
F
Minnesota
2 / 55
6'11" / 215
So
2002
Marcus Taylor
G
Michigan State
2 / 52
6'3" / 195
So
2001
Loren Woods
C
Arizona
2 / 46
7'1" / 245
Sr
2000
Igor Rakocevic
G
Yugoslavia
2 / 51
6'2" / 184
Int
1999
Wally Szczerbiak
F
Miami (Ohio)
1 / 6
6'7" / 244
Sr

William Avery
G
Duke
1 / 14
6'2" / 180
So

Louis Bullock
G
Michigan
2 / 42
6'2" / 180
Sr
1998
Rasho Nesterovic
C
Slovenia
1 / 17
7'0" / 248
Int

Andrae Patterson
F
Indiana
2 / 46
6'9" / 240
Sr
1997
Paul Grant
C
Wisconsin
1 / 20
7'0" / 245
Sr

Gordon Malone
F
West Virginia
2 / 44
6'11" / 215
Jr
1996
Ray Allen
G
Connecticut
1 / 5
6'5" / 205
Jr
1995
Kevin Garnett
F
Farragut Academy H.S.
1 / 5
6'11" / 220
HS

Mark Davis
F
Texas Tech
2 / 48
6'7" / 210
Sr

Jerome Allen
G
Pennsylvania
2 / 49
6'4" / 184
Sr
1994
Donyell Marshall
F
Connecticut
1 / 4
6'9" / 220
Jr

Howard Eisley
G
Boston College
2 / 30
6'3" / 180
Sr
1993
Isaiah Rider
G
UNLV
1 / 5
6'5" / 215
Sr

Sherron Mills
F
Virginia Commonwealth
2 / 29
6'9"
Sr
1992
Christian Laettner
F
Duke
1 / 3
6'11" / 235
Sr

Marlon Maxey
F
UTEP
2 / 28
6'8" / 250
Sr

Chris Smith
G
Connecticut
2 / 34
6'3" / 191
Sr

Tim Burroughs
F
Jacksonville
2 / 51
6'8"
Sr
1991
Luc Longley
C
New Mexico
1 / 7
7'2" / 265
Sr/Int

Myron Brown
G
Slippery Rock
2 / 34
6'3" / 180
Sr
1990
Felton Spencer
C
Louisville
1 / 6
7'0" / 265
Sr

Gerald Glass
G
Mississippi
1 / 20
6'6" / 221
Sr
1989
Pooh Richardson
G
UCLA
1 / 10
6'1" / 186
Sr

Gary Leonard
C
Missouri
2 / 34
7'1" / 246
Sr

Doug West
G
Villanova
2 / 38
6'6" / 200
Sr

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