With the announcement of NBA-ready young adults abounding in college basketball, Indiana Hoosiers' Cody Zeller went against the grain and stayed in school. Zeller effectively turned down millions of dollars, as he was a surefire lottery pick.
Not to mention, he'd have bragging rights over his brother Tyler for being drafted higher.
As abnormal as the younger Zeller is for selecting a fate with much less money, fame and the glaring possibility of injury, he made the right choice. He doesn't need to go to the NBA, he can still improve, and he can finish what he started in Bloomington.
Here are three reasons why Zeller was wise to stay in college.
Starting the Hoosier Movement
Hoosier faithful know how important Zeller is to Indiana basketball. He chose to stay in-state instead of following in his brothers footsteps to North Carolina.
And with his signature, he laid the foundation for a brighter future in Bloomington.
But it couldn't be more accurate. Head coach Tom Crean has started a movement in the state of Indiana. Top players in the state want to play in Assembly Hall. Previous recruiting classes show a disparity in the amount of high school athletes from the state of Indiana, a state rich with talented high school basketball players.
Now, recruits like Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell are joining Zeller in Bloomington. Guys like Trey Lyles are committing to IU two years in advance. That's the power of what Zeller—and one successful season—will do for a program.
Likelihood of Winning a National Championship
No team in the Sweet 16 is returning more talent than the Indiana Hoosiers. Say what you want about Louisville, but they lost much more than Indiana.
Christian Watford and Zeller both would have been drafted in the 2012 NBA draft. But they chose to stay, and they have put Indiana near the top of every poll for the 2012-13 season. Couple their comebacks with a stellar recruiting class, and you have the makings for a deep run in March.
It would be foolish to crown the Hoosiers so soon, but Zeller's return gives them a great shot to win it all in 2013.
Chance for Improvement
Of course, a return to college would be incomplete without the chance to improve. Zeller returning for 2012-13 gives him a chance to improve. If we're being picky, Zeller isn't the best rebounder and can fade late in games.
Both of those weaknesses can be corrected by an attitude change. Zeller isn't always aggressive, both when rebounding the ball and calling for it on offense. His offensive game is second-to-none on this Indiana team and his attitude should reflect that.
With added strength, Zeller will once again be one of the best big men in the game.
Zeller is on a road to Indiana basketball glory. He could have spurned the Hoosiers en route to a wealthier 2013, but he chose to stay and start something special. Needless to say, he's done just that.
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