Indiana Basketball: Could Cody Zeller Become the Best Hoosier Center of All Time

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2012

Feb 26, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers center Cody Zeller (40) against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Williams Arena. Indiana defeated Minnesota 69-50. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Cody Zeller had a fantastic freshman season, helping the Hoosiers become relevant again in the college basketball scene.

Zeller (15.6 ppg, shooting 62.3 percent from the floor, 6.6 rpg) earned an amazing amount of awards for his outstanding play. A few of the more notable ones are, via IU

  • AP Honorable Mention All-American
  • Freshman All-American (Yahoo, Sporting News and USBWA)
  • Big Ten Freshman of the Year (Coaches)

Because of his return, Indiana is at or near the top of many of the CBB Preseason rankings (ESPN).

According to just about anyone's standards, this is the foundation for a great college career.

Turn back the clock almost 30 years ago, and another great IU center, Kent Benson, was establishing the base for his outstanding time of playing the middle for Bob Knight in the mid-70s.

Benson scored over 1,700 points and grabbed over 1,000 rebounds (second all-time in school history). In 1976, he helped lead Indiana to a perfect season (32-0) and the NCAA National Championship.

Benson was a two-time consensus All-American and was selected as the '76 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Because of his on-court performance, Kent Benson was the best center in IU hoops history.

One of the huge factors that will determine the extent of Zeller's legacy at Indiana is how long he stays in school.

If the 2012-13 season is his last in Bloomington, then he must have a monster season where he leads IU to an NCAA Championship, is named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and is selected as a first team All-American.

In some ways, to truly surpass Benson, Zeller would have to return after a mind-blowing year like the one mentioned above, and then almost do it all over again.

That's just how good Kent Benson was.

Call me foolish and old-fashioned, but I hope that Zeller takes the 2012-13 CBB season by storm, and then comes back for at least his junior season to do it all again.

Here's to doing something legendary!