Zeller a 'Complete Player'

In just over a week, Tyler Zeller will leave his home in Washington (Ind.) and move to Chapel Hill to begin his college career. The talented big man certainly left his mark on coach Gene Miiller's program, as well as the rest of the Washington High community.

"He's meant a lot to our basketball program over the last three years," said Coach Miiller. "He led us to the state championship this year, started for three years and has been a leader. As good of a basketball player as he is, he's even a better person. He's a coach's dream as a person. He's talented, he works hard, he does everything that you could ever ask him to."

The way Miiller looks at it, much of his team and Tyler's success can be attributed to the way he carried himself.

"You think to yourself that you're going to miss being around him," Miiller said. "You miss him on the court and off the court because of everything he meant to us. He was a great leader and a big part of our success both on and off the court."

Anybody can watch Zeller play and see his physical gifts. His ability to run the floor, the range on his shot and his overall skill level for a kid his size are easily identifiable and those are all things that Miiller feels will be important to Zeller's success at North Carolina.

"He shoots the basketball well, he can drive the basketball, he passes the ball well," said Miiller of Zeller's strengths. "He's just a complete basketball player and I think he'll be a very good basketball player at North Carolina over his career."

As much as those physical skills are helpful, Miiller feels that it's the things that can't be measured by the stat sheet that may be more important to helping Zeller succeed.

"Really I think the big keys for his success are some of the intangibles," said Miiller. "He works extremely hard at making himself a better player and he's very coachable. He'll do whatever you ask him to do, if he thinks it will make him better he'll work on it."

When asked what Carolina fans might reasonably expect out of Zeller during his freshman season and beyond, Miiller is careful not to make any outlandish claims. However, he does point out that Zeller is very excited to be working alongside another Tyler.

"It's hard to gauge, but I think he's ready to come in and play," said Miiller. "I think he'll be a good complimentary post player to Hansrbrough. I know in talking to Tyler [Zeller] that he's really happy that Tyler [Hansbrough] is staying because he's such a great guy to learn from."

Much like Taft (Calif) coach Derrick Taylor will replace his outgoing Tar Heel signee, McDonald's All-American Larry Drew, with his younger brother Landon, Miiller will also benefit from a sibling who can step right in and help. Helping to fill the void left by Tyler will be his younger brother Cody, a 6-7 forward who should bring some inside/outside skills to the table as a sophomore.

"It does make it very nice knowing that you've got another one coming," laughed Miiller when asked how he'll replace Zeller's production. "He's going to be a nice one, too. He's 6-7 and still growing, but he's been a guard most of his career until this last year so he plays inside and outside."

As a final note on Tyler Zeller, Miiller is sure that the qualities that he will most miss about Zeller are those same qualities that are going to make the Carolina fan base and coaches enamored with him over the next four years.

"I think the biggest thing I'm going to miss is everyday the way he came to practice ready to work and get better," said Miiller. "He led by example and that's the thing at North Carolina that they are really going to love about him."

Tyler Zeller Profile


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