Bloomington – Cody Zeller might be only 15 years old, but he's very much aware of what's coming his way.
The 6'7", 170-pound Washington (Ind.) H.S. freshman is the last in the line of Zellers, a name that has dominated Washington H.S. basketball for the past seven years. Luke was the first to go through the program, starting for four years and scoring a school-record 1,727 career points and pulling down 820 rebounds. His run ended with a state title in 2005, McDonald's All-America and Indiana Mr. Basketball accolades, and a scholarship to Notre Dame.
Next up was Tyler, who was a freshman when Washington claimed the 2005 state championship. While Tyler didn't play on the varsity as a freshman, he blossomed after Luke's departure. He averaged 14.9 points as a sophomore, 18.3 as a junior and a state-best 32.5 as a senior. Like his brother, Tyler's high school career ended with a state title, Mr. Basketball and McDonald's All-America honors, and a scholarship to North Carolina.
Now, it's Cody's turn. The youngest Zeller averaged 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds on the varsity this past season, and he's already hearing from some big-time programs. The Class of 2011 prospect said Indiana, Butler, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Tennessee are among the schools that are already sending him questionnaires.
While his recruitment will pick up more steam once he's a junior and college coaches can begin placing phone calls, Cody knows what's on the horizon. After all, he's spent the last five years living through it with his two older brothers.
"I went to a lot of their unofficial visits and official visits, so I know what's coming," Zeller said this weekend at the Adidas May Classic in Bloomington. "That gives me a big advantage because I know what to expect."
He can expect a great deal of attention very soon. While he wasn't at the recently completed Top 100 Showcase in Indianapolis, his high school coach Gene Miller was. Both IU Coach Tom Crean and Purdue Coach Matt Painter spent time talking with the Hatchets' coach, presumably letting him know that both were going to be keeping a very close eye on Cody.
It's easy to see why. While he played a limited role on a veteran Washington H.S. team last season, he figures to become a key to the team's success in the fall. Like Tyler, Cody runs the floor well is an excellent finisher around the basket. He also figures to add a couple of inches to his frame, as Luke grew to 6'11" and Tyler is now 7'0".
"It's in the genes," Cody said.
In an effort to get ready for his sophomore season, Zeller is playing with the Indiana Elite 15-and-under squad, which played in Bloomington last weekend. The experience is giving Zeller a much-needed opportunity to log plenty of minutes on the court after coming off the bench as a high school freshman.
"Just playing is making a big difference," Cody said. "You don't get better if you don't play. Playing every weekend is helping a lot and I'm getting a chance to play against the best competition. I'm just trying to work everyday to become the best basketball player I can."
Big things will be expected of Cody, as he follows in his brother's footsteps. Each of his older siblings have closed out their prep careers with state championships and McDonald's All-America honors, an extremely high bar for anyone to match.
But Cody isn't shying away from the spotlight, or the expectations of being the third Zeller to produce a state championship during his prep career.
"I'm up to the challenge," Cody said.
Another Zeller Ready for the Spotlight
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