Zeller collects more respectIt was another banner weekend for the Zeller family as IU commit Cody Zeller helped lead his team to victory in the Derby Festival All-Star game in Louisville this past weekend. The 6-foot-11 senior was named the game's MVP after scoring 13 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and collecting three steals in the contest and showing off some late game heroics with a big basket and a key charge taken to preserve the win for the Gold team.
Zeller also paired with Seton Hall recruit Aaron Cosby to win the 2-on-2 tournament over the weekend. That comes as no surprise. Zeller's basketball IQ was bound to shine in such an event and it's that understanding of the game that perhaps has stood out most during his run through the All-Star circuit and could lead the Indiana All-Stars to victory over their Kentucky counterparts this summer.
It was definitely another weekend full of accolades for the already decorated youngest Zeller as he continues to collect more respect around the game. Both fans, teammates, and scouts left Louisville convinced he will be a difference-maker in Bloomington this fall. In what ways Zeller will help the most this upcoming season are debatable at this point, but as we get closer Midnight Madness the positive impact he will make is not. Players seem to love playing with Zeller due to his aforementioned basketball IQ, superior passing skills, and selfless demeanor. If he's able to control the boards and add a defensive presence for the Hoosiers this fall as well then it won't be long before fans are chanting his name on a regular basis.
Indiana Elite coping with injuriesThe Indiana Elite-Team Indiana AAU squad continued their barnstorming this weekend in Merrillville for the Nike Spring Showdown. However, while all five members of the Hoosiers vaunted 2012 recruiting class were in attendance for their Elite games, only three were healthy enough to play. Forward Jeremy Hollowell continues to recover from a nasty fall he took that injured his elbow and tweaked his knee and Peter Jurkin is still awaiting clearance to return from a nagging shin injury. Without two of their key members, Elite fell in the opening round of the elimination bracket despite cruising through earlier pool play.
It was clear that Elite misses Hollowell's all-around game and the 7-foot Jurkin would have certainly made a difference in the paint for Indiana Elite. Hollowell is hoping to return to action next month for Elite and Jurkin's timetable remains a bit murkier. The Sudan native struggled through his prep season this year at United Faith with his shin injury, eventually deciding to play through the pain. That may have cost him some significant time this AAU season as he waits for the painful injury to fully subside so he can return to the court with a clean bill of health. Despite the setback for Indiana Elite this weekend, they will possess a very good shot at taking home top honors at the Las Vegas AAU championships later this summer if they can get their full quintet on the court together to gel sometime before then.
Abell, Djimde to reportedly visit IUThe Courier-Journal's Jody Demling is reporting that former Bradley commit Remy Abell will be on the Hoosier campus today for a visit. The 6-foot-4 guard recently was allowed out of his letter-of-intent to Bradley and is now said to be considering five schools, including Indiana. The Hoosiers may be looking for another hard-working wing player, but something just doesn't seem to add up with this story. With the Hoosiers already crowded at the guard/wing position and looking to get even more crowded once the 2012 class arrives, it would seem that Indiana wouldn't be in the market for Abell, who by most accounts is a hard-working, tenacious, and improving player, but not a top-notch talent. He's certainly not the type of player expected to become a de facto starter if he does commit, but that's just the public perception on him and perhaps there's more to his story.
Abell's quotes to Demling convey a player that is very excited to visit Indiana as well as the possibility of playing with Indiana's rapidly improving collection of talent. You have to wonder if the interest is mutually high, though. This is definitely a story that bears closely following over the next few weeks.
As is the recruitment of Ibrahima Djimde, a 6-foot-9 center from Huntington Prep school in West Virginia. This is the same program that features Maurice Aniefiok, a one-time IU prospect who has now narrowed his list to Ole Miss, Rutgers, and Duquesne and has said he will be making a decision today or tomorrow. Djimde was always higher on the Hoosiers' radar due to his physical size and the Hoosiers obvious need there, however, there are mixed reports about how effective he could be in Bloomington next year. ESPN scouting services have given high marks to Djimde and consider him a viable low-post threat for the Hoosiers this season. However, that same service once considered Bawa Muniru an "instant impact" player destined to become a starter for Tom Crean so beauty is once again largely in the eye of the beholder.
Still, there's no doubt that Indiana would like to add another big to their short-handed frontcourt and if Djimde is deemed capable of helping, then an offer could be forthcoming. Djimde is reportedly making arrangements to visit the Hoosiers soon and is also making visits to Illinois and Old Dominion according to his coach Rob Fulford.
Harris still priority No. 1With all the recruiting news breaking this weekend about possible additions to the roster in 2011, you might wonder where the Hoosiers stand in regards to their plans for 2012. Make no mistake, the full court press is still on for Gary Harris. The 2012 Hamilton Southeastern star guard has seen multiple IU coaches at his AAU games all spring and has also had the IU staff at his high school to watch him workout. The Hoosiers are making sure their presence is highly known in his recruiting race, which could extend right up to Signing Day.
Regardless of the Hoosiers' various maneuvers with the 2011 late-signing situation, don't expect it to impact whether or not Harris has a spot reserved at IU. The Hoosiers are making it very clear that they want him and want him badly. Harris has taken notice.