Bloomington – Another year, another Zeller leading Washington (Ind.) H.S. in quest of a state championship.
After seeing older brothers Luke and Tyler couple a state title with Indiana Mr. Basketball awards as high school seniors, junior Cody Zeller appears to have a chance to get that championship a year ahead of schedule. Coach Gene Miller's Washington H.S. team is off to a 10-0 start and ranked No. 1 in Class 3A.
"I thought we'd be pretty good," said Miller. "We were 21-3 last year and lost only one starter. So we have a lot of kids back. We've had a lot of kids step up and play really well."
First of foremost among that group is Cody Zeller. As a 6'8" sophomore, Zeller led his team in both scoring (15.0) and rebounding (6.8) while helping Washington to a No. 2 state ranking. As a junior, Zeller has grown in both size (6'10 ½") and productivity (18.5 points, 11.0 rebounds) and he has Washington positioned as the clear cut favorite to win the Class 3A state title.
While the Zeller name has been synonymous with Washington H.S. basketball for the last nine years, Miller says Cody isn't an identical player to older brothers Luke and Tyler, who went on to play at Notre Dame and North Carolina, respectively.
"Cody's perimeter skills and ball handling ability is better than Tyler's," said Miller. "That's the biggest difference. He has an ability to play out on the court and do some things."
Like the rest of his game, Miller says those perimeter skills have continued to blossom ever since he was a 6'5" high school freshman who saw only limited time while older brother Tyler was busy leading the Hatchets to the state championship.
"Cody has developed in all aspects of his game," Miller said. "He's got great skills for a big kid. A kid that's 6-10, he can shoot the 3 pointer, he can put the ball on the floor and pull up and shoot it or take it all the way to the basket. He's a kid that can post up and score down inside. He passes the ball really well. It's not uncommon for him to have 5, 6, 7 assists in a ball game. He does a lot of things really well."
Plenty of college programs have taken notice of those abilities from an early age, and Cody has been a Class of 2011 recruiting prospect for plenty of programs for some time. Indiana is certainly among those, and the interest appears to be mutual. Zeller has made the 45-minute drive to Bloomington on a handful of occasions, most recently for Saturday's game against Illinois.
Miller said the Indiana staff is in regular contact with him, and they've made it clear how important Zeller is to them for the 2011 recruiting class.
"They say he's a big priority for them, someone they are really, really interested in," Miller said. "They would love to have him. He's a top priority for them."
Zeller Growing in Stature
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