Tyler Zeller arguably has risen more than any big man in the Class of 2008, and despite increasing challenges to his thin frame, he has shrugged off confrontation and continued to be productive.
Zeller will have to be very productive if he hopes to make a decision anytime soon. With a solid list of nine schools, he has a lot to think about -- in addition to traveling the country extensively with Indiana Elite and to individual camps -- over the next few months.
Zeller's most recent offer was extended by the Tar Heels, which put a grant on the table last Friday night. With a full row of nine scholarship offers, how does one go about trimming the list?
"I'm just trying to take my time, take some unofficial visits later," Zeller said. "Right now, though, we've got tournaments all summer, and I'm doing the NBA Camp in late June."
The wildcard in Zeller's recruitment could be his brother, Luke. A rising junior big man at Notre Dame, Luke was a hot commodity himself in the Class of 2005. With a brother stationed in South Bend, isn't there a temptation to continue the family tradition?
"Yeah, I guess it's kind of a factor that (Luke's) at Notre Dame, but not really," Zeller said. "He's really going to be there for just a year when I'm in college, so I have to think about it for myself."
Beyond the recruiting angle, Zeller naturally hears comparisons -- some accurate and some imagined -- between him and his older brother. Zeller himself doesn't see a lot of resemblance in their playing styles.
"I really don't play like him," Zeller said. "He's probably a better shooter than me, and I run better than him."
When asked specifically about Kansas, Zeller said he was very intrigued by the presence of one assistant coach, in particular.
"I really like knowing that Coach Manning is the big man coach," he said. "He obviously has been there and knows how to teach. I also just like Kansas because they have such a good basketball team, and the campus is great."
Zeller added that he's in no hurry to make a decision, and that he plans to sign during the early period in November.