Tom Crean gave a hint after Indiana’s version of Midnight Madness last week, a hint that should be scary for the rest of the Big Ten and anyone with the Hoosiers on their schedule this season.
Answering a question about the skills competition, Crean went on to talk about his star returning sophomore, Preseason All-American Cody Zeller.
“Cody has a really nice stroke. He did last year,” Crean said in the post-even press conference. “I think he’ll continue to do more this year. We’re excited about his improvement because it’s all over the court.”
Zeller averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and skipped out on the NBA draft to return to Indiana for another season.
If the upward trajectory continues for Zeller, the Hoosiers likely won’t have him around for his junior year, but the availability of his services for the 2012-13 season make the Hoosiers a national title contender to begin the season.
With his combination of size and mobility, Zeller was a threat last season when Indiana ran the floor, then was a force on the block in the half-court set.
If Crean is right about Zeller’s development of a consistent jumpshot, it gives Zeller the ability to step out away from the basket and further develops his offensive repertoire. That jumper, added to his ability to finish around the rim, could make him ready for a National Player of the Year-type season.
Indiana begins its season on Nov. 9 against Bryant.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.
The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.
Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.
Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.
The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.
Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.