Telep: Zeller Blowing Up on Recruiting Front

Tyler Zeller has gone from a solid top-100 player to one of the most sought-after players in the nation. National Recruiting Director Dave Telep explains why Zeller has exploded, and what it's going to take for Indiana to keep him in-state...

Bloomington, Ind. – The AAU season prior to one's senior season is when a prep can go boom or bust.

In Tyler Zeller's case, the noise he's been making has been deafening.

The Washington, Ind., was always a coveted top-100 Midwestern recruit, but thanks to the success he's enjoyoed with the Indiana Elite 17-and-under squad during the last couple of months, he's emerged as one of the most sought-after players in the nation. He recently added scholarship offers from national heavyweights North Carolina and Kansas, which joined Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Tennessee and Iowa State as potential destinations for the 6'11" center.

Currently tabbed as the 25th-best player in the Class of 2008 according to, Zeller's ranking could continue to rise once the AAU season winds down and the post-summer rankings come out.

"He's a late bloomer who is hitting his stride on the national stage, and he's playing at such a high level, how can you not appreciate him?" said National Recruiting Director Dave Telep, who has followed Zeller throughout the AAU season.

Telep says Zeller has made great strides in three areas this year – aggressiveness, running the floor, and an ability to play with skill inside on offense. That's helped him be an integral part of an Indiana Elite team that is one of this summer's top AAU squads, evidenced by Zeller's recent MVP honor after helping Elite win the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions event over the weekend.

Tyler's recent success has not only produced an impressive list of scholarship offers, but it's also made him the most heavily-recruited player in the Zeller family. Three years ago, Tyler's brother, Luke, was the 28th-ranked player nationally according to who signed with Notre Dame.

"(Tyler's) way head of his brother at the same age," Telep said. "Luke was better at the rim, but Tyler is far better facing the basket, running the floor and he's much more of a producer of points and rebounds at the same stage."

Telep said Tyler is also much tougher than his slender frame might indicate.

"I saw (6-11, 245-pound Xavier-bound center) Kenny Frease hit him with a forearm shiver last weekend and Zeller simply went to work on him after that move," Telep said.

While his recent success is obviously very good news for Zeller, it's made IU's chance of landing him much more difficult. Bloomington is only some 75 miles from Zeller's hometown of Washington, but with some of the country's premiere programs now hot on Zeller's trail, it won't be easy to get him in an IU uniform.

"It would be huge (for Indiana if it signed Zeller) because he's pretty much blowing up right now before our eyes," Telep said. "To land him, it would have to be a big-time recruiting pitch that will encompass five big-time programs." Top Stories