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.