Q&A with Tyler Zeller

WASHINGTON, Ind. --- After announcing his commitment to the Tar Heels on Monday, Tyler Zeller talked with Inside Carolina about his decision ...

Listen to the Interview:

What was it about North Carolina that ultimately led you to decide to become a Tar Heel?

"The comfort level. I want to be able to fit in at school. I've got to be able to fit in with the players and coaches. I felt like I fit in on my official there the best out of the four schools."

What specifically are you referring to when you say "comfort level"?

"When you sit down in a room, can you sit down and talk to them and mess around with them? And with the coaches, can you see yourself playing for that coach?"

How did the decision come about when you sat down with your parents and Coach Miller on Thursday?

"Really, we planned on making some more visits. We were sitting down and planning those. And I started thinking about it and I decided I really didn't need more visits."

What was the thinking behind possibly taking more visits?

"I would have just gone down to a scrimmage or something, seen the players. That's basically what I was looking at."

Did you give any thought to waiting until the spring?

"No, I would have waited until the end of November or early December. I just would have missed this Signing Period."

How anxious were your family members and coach about your decision?

"Coach was pretty excited for me to end it, because he was getting all kind of phone calls because coaches can call him as many times as they want. My family, they were just supportive all the way through."

Did the recent controversy at Indiana factor into your decision?

"Not really, just because I'd been looking at them for so long I knew what kind of coaches they are. … [Coach Sampson] called me Sunday morning and it came out Monday. I was on my official to Notre Dame, so I didn't answer it, but I talked to him Sunday night. … He said it was an accident and he didn't mean to, that he was trying to help out a kid."

What reaction do you expect around town, with the Indiana and Purdue fans?

"I'll get a bad time. But all my friends here give me a bad time about everything [laughs]."

Where did your teammates want you to go?

"They really don't care. We just play every day and mess around. A few of them had their favorites, and I've got a friend going to IU."

How was the recruiting experience for you?

"It was fun. I liked it. You meet a lot of new people. As long as you keep it under control -- it never really got too hectic for me."

What was Roy Williams like during the recruitment?

"Great guy. You can sit down and talk to him about anything – a deep conversation or you can joke around. And he's a Hall of Fame coach."

How appealing was the UNC up-and-down, fast-paced style?

"It was very appealing, because I like to run. The other schools always say they're trying to run, but there's a difference between trying to run and actually running. He's proven that he can get his teams to run successfully."

Does your game have to change between now and when you get to North Carolina?

"It'll probably have to change a little bit, but for the most part from everything he's told me he wants me to stay with what I've got and to keep improving."

Were there any players Coach Williams cited to show the role you could play at UNC?

"He said [David] Noel, but he was a lot shorter – but the reason he said that was because he shoots more from the outside and posts up."


You got a lot of visits from these college head coaches. How often were they coming in?

"When we got to the final four, each one came in just about every week. They were in to watch him work out or whatever was going on. They've all been here – Sampson, Brey, Painter and Williams -- just about every week throughout the fall."

How much time did you spend talking to Tyler about his recruitment?

"We talked quite often. And I talked to his parents quite a bit about the process. I told Tyler I thought he did it the right way. He was very thorough, had home visits from each of the coaches, visited each one of the campuses and talked to them on the phone – he was very thorough about the whole process. He did what he had to do to choose the best place for him."

Can you talk about that meeting last Thursday where he came to a decision?

"We met after conditioning last Thursday with his dad, mom and I and we just kind of asked him questions. And that's pretty much when he revealed that he wanted to go with North Carolina. It was his decision to make. His parents left it up to him and we were trying to ask questions and get him to think about things, but it was his decision to make."

Did you ever have an inkling that he had a favorite?

"I think throughout the process, to be honest with you, I think different people had the lead. I think part of it is that whoever you visit last looks good."

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