Indiana Hoosiers Basketball: Why Cody Zeller and Christian Watford Need to Stay

Isaiah ClarkCorrespondent IApril 5, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Cody Zeller #40 of the Indiana Hoosiers looks on against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Indiana Hoosiers have been the talk of the town ever since the National Championship game concluded. In fact, quite a few articles have been posted about an extremely early top twenty-five preseason poll for the 2012-2013 with the Hoosiers staking the early claim for No.1.

Of course this is all reliant upon the return of Cody Zeller and Christian Watford. 

Are they good enough to go pro?

Zeller? Yes.

Watford? No.

Now the big question is, whether it would be more beneficial for them to stay or go. The apparent and obvious reason in my opinion is it's a MUST that they stay.

Most polls have Zeller going in the top ten of the upcoming NBA draft. Don't get me wrong he could make it in the NBA, but not right away. There is still plenty that needs to be developed in his game.

There is no question he is a freak athlete for his size. He runs the court like a deer, has the vision and passing skills of a quarterback. However, he hasn't developed much of a shot or mid-range game. Of course that wasn't asked of him much this past season with the way the Hoosiers shot the ball. Developing that mid-range game will not only make him one of the toughest players to stop in all of college basketball, but it will make them that much better.

He would get slapped around in the NBA mainly because he hasn't completely evolved as a player yet. Some of you may be raising your eyebrows right now wondering what in the heck I am talking about, but hear me out.

Like I stated before, he is a phenomenal athlete, but he has yet to fully grow into his frame and without a mid-range game or the ability to bang on the boards like he should, he would struggle for a few years if he went to the NBA.


Now, personally I think Watford must have hit his head to think he even has a shot in the NBA at this moment. Sure he put up some big numbers offensively, but it took him forever to become a force on the glass. He is 6'9" and should almost be averaging a double-double nightly like Zeller. Just because you focus most of your offensive attention from 15-feet and out, doesn't mean you shouldn't be aggressive on the glass.

So offensively he may be ready, but defensively he is a liability. A lot of that has to do with him defending smaller and quicker players, but when he is matched up against a less inferior offensive presence he still struggles, on account that he isn't that quick. As much as I like him, his game reminds me of an old man at the YMCA. Can shoot lights out, but when it comes to defense, forget about it.

Not only would both Zeller and Watford benefit from coming back for another season because they could improve on their overall game, but they would likely have a very good shot at competing for a national championship. If they came back, that would mean all of their starters would be returning (minus Verdell Jones III), plus Maurice Creek who missed all of last season and the No.2 recruiting class according to

This would be one of the deepest teams in the country. All I have to say is Zeller and Watford please make the smart decision and come back for another season. One that will be promising and could bring that elusive sixth banner to the real Assembly Hall.

Watch out everyone, the HOOSIER NATION is BACK!!!!!!