Cody Zeller can’t wait to work in family business

Cody Zeller announced he was leaving Indiana University after just two seasons of playing basketball to work in the family business.
And to play in the NBA, of course.
Playing professional basketball has been Zeller’s dream, of course. Now it becomes his priority since that’s how he will be earning his future pizza money.
But during the off-season, the 7-foot Washington, Ind. resident will be back home as often as he can to help out with DistinXion, the family’s nonprofit organization.
Founded by older brother Luke, DistinXion operates summer camps that until now Zeller has had to keep at arm’s length because of inane NCAA rules.
“Over the past few years I haven’t been able to be part of it, even though it was my family’s company and it’s a non-profit organization.,” said Zeller of DistinXion. “Now I’ll be able to help out with that. They do Christian basketball camps. They also teach family values, a lot of things that I was raised on. It’s a unique opportunity for Luke, Tyler and I to give back to kids.”
Luke Zeller, who played at Notre Dame, was recently waived by the Phoenix Suns and isn’t currently listed on the roster of any NBA Development League teams.
Tyler Zeller, who starred at North Carolina, had been in the same hand’s-off situation as Cody until last summer. Now playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tyler will be back helping Luke conduct camps with their parents.
Steve and Lorri Zeller also use the business to mentor adults and promote family values.
There are also plans for a book, apparently.

He said it: IU’s Cody Zeller talks about going pro, his time as a Hoosier

“The past two years here have been probably the best two years of my life. Being able to play basketball for these coaches and with the guys in that locker room and in front of the fans of Indiana has been great. At this part in my life I think it’s best for me to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA.”

“Playing at Assembly Hall brings so many memories to mind, even the things that the public didn’t see as far as the practices and the fun times we had in the locker room. We were a very close group both years that I was here with the coaches and the players, and I will carry those relationships with me through the rest of my life. This is a great place.”

“There was a sense of closure with playing my last game at Assembly Hall and playing in my last tournament. I definitely left everything out there that I had.”

“The fans were always so great, largest student section in the country. It was never tough to play hard (at Assembly Hall) because you had so much adrenaline because you fed off the crowd so much. That’s a special thing you don’t see a whole lot of in the NBA, so that’s one of the main things I’m going to miss.”

“My family was a very big part of it as was the coaching staff. It was great for me to have the people I’m closest to help me make my decision. At the end of the day I knew I needed to do what was best for myself and I feel like this is what is best.”

“Obviously my education is important to me, but I’m only 35 credits shy of graduation, which will take me two summers to complete. The first summer will be 14 credits completing ICORE for the Business School, which will leave me with 21. The second summer I’ll take 15 credits and then I’ll finish the remainder six credits online. Right now I plan on coming back and finishing that.”

“A big part of it was that the leaders on this team that I came into the program looking up to and copying their work ethic – Victor (Oladipo), Christian (Watford), Jordan (Hulls), and Derek (Elston) – were leaving. Obviously IU will have a great year next season but the guys that I was closest to are graduating. It will be fun to go through the workouts with Victor and being in the same situation. We’ve already been working out together and it will be fun to have someone go through the same things as me and compare notes with.”

“(Injuries) can happen at any time. That’s such a scary thing, seeing someone you competed against get injured. But that’s part of the game and that’s something that goes into this decision. It’s part of what went into the decision (to stay) last year. That was one of the risks of me coming back this year. But it’s just one of the factors.
“After a while you just kind of know. I kind of knew, barring injury or something, that this might be my last year so I was enjoying every last minute of it.”

“There’s a lot of things. It’s a whole different game in the NBA. A lot of things change with every jump you make, going from high school to college and college to the NBA. It’s a big jump. The game is so much faster, everyone is so much stronger, so there are a lot of unknowns that are coming but that’s what makes it exciting.

They said it: Indiana coach Tom Crean and Victor Oladipo on NBA decision

Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean on Victor Oladipo’s development into a NBA lottery pick:
TOM CREAN: “Victor may not have been the point guard per se, but when he was on the court, he impacted the game for everyone and made every one of his teammates better. It was a lot more than just what happened on the basketball floor during the games. That’s why I truly support what he’s doing and there’s no question that he has the physical abilities, the mental capacity, maturity and focus, the emotional well-being and the spiritual background to be able to go and put himself in a position now where he takes this next step, which is a huge step, but where he takes this next step and is truly ready to embark on what I think will be an incredible career at the next level, the NBA level.”

Victor, talk about making the decision and how tough was it to make?
Oladipo:”I swayed back and forth, especially throughout the season. I felt like this is what was best for my family. Coming here, like I said, and graduating in three years and getting such a great education that I have here at Indiana University, I feel like I’ve prepared it. Coming in and working out with Coach Crean and his coaching staff, I feel like I’ve prepared for it so I feel like it’s the best thing.”

When did you realize that entering the NBA Draft was a real possibility?
Oladipo: “Probably after the season was over. I was hearing stuff (during the season) and realizing I had a good chance of getting to the NBA, but I was so focused on Indiana and wearing the Candy Stripes that I wasn’t worried about anything else. At the end of the year, then it seemed like the best decision was to go (to the NBA). As I said before, I will always be a Hoosiers. I love the people here. They are my family, they really are. They are role models for me and I will always come back and I hope you guys welcome me with open arms.”

What were the deciding factor for you to make the jump?:
Oladipo: ” A little bit of everything. Hearing where I am at (in the projections) and meeting with coach Crean, my family and people I really care about about, and then seeing where I am at as a human being and as a basketball player. Even then, I have a lot of room to grow in both of those areas. I am looking forward to it. I am opening another chapter in my life. God has opened it for me and I thank him from the bottom of my heart, because without him I definitely wouldn’t be here. Without him I definitely wouldn’t be at Indiana to begin with and be blessed to be around so many great people. God works in mysterious ways and he is working for me in my life and I am really thankful for that.”

UPDATED: Oladipo to take his game to NBA

Indiana junior guard Victor Oladipo said that while playing in the NBA has been a dream, he didn’t make his decision to take that step now until after after the Hoosiers had ended their season.
“I swayed back and forth, especially during the season,” said Oladipo. “I just felt like this was best for my family.
“Coming here and graduating in three years, I feel like I’m prepared for it. Coming in and working out with Coach (Tom) Crean and his coaching staff, I think I’ve prepared for it.”
Oladipo, who will graduate and turn 21 on May 4, will spend the next couple of weeks finishing his degree requirements in sport communication-broadcast and working out with his IU teammates. He hasn’t signed an agent, but that’s because he’s just started that process.
The latest projected NBA draft by DraftExpress has Oladipo going to the Detroit Pistons with the fifth pick.
Oladipo said it doesn’t matter to him which team drafts him.
“I’m just going to go in there and help impact winning, which is what I’ve been doing since I first started playing basketball. Wherever I end up I’m going to bring my work ethic and just help winning, help them be successful.”
DraftExpress also has 7-foot sophomore Cody Zeller going to the New Orleans Hornets with the No. 6 pick if he also chooses to turn pro early. The former Washington High standout is expected to announced his decision later this week, possibly on Wednesday.
Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel is projected as the No. 1 pick overall, going to the Charlotte Bobcats.

Other projected picks of interest: No. 7 Trey Burke, Michigan, to Sacramento; 17. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, to Utah; 18., Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, to Atlanta; (2nd round) — 33. Russ Smith, Louisville, to Cleveland; 36. Adreian Payne, Michigan State, to Philadelphia; 38. Doug McDermott, Creighton, to Memphis; 41. Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State, to Philadelphia; 51. Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, to Orlando; 56. Trevor Mbwake, Minnesota, to Los Angeles Lakers.

Sorry Baylor fans, I didn’t see Brittany Griner’s name pop up on any mock drafts.

Louisville’s Pitino elected to Naismith basketball hall of fame

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is one of another dozen Class of 2013 members who will be inducted into the The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in early September.

Pitino, who has taken Louisville to back-to-back Final Fours, will have a shot at winning his second national championship tonight when the Cardinals face Michigan in Atlanta. Pitino led Kentucky to the 1996 championship and has taken three different schools to the Final Four.

Joining Pitino are nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton, four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian, five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis, four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King and three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell.

They join the five directly elected members who were announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February by committees focused on preserving all areas from the game of basketball. These direct-elects include Roger Brown voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Dr. E.B. Henderson from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Oscar Schmidt from the International Committee, Richard Guerin from the Veterans Committee and Russ Granik from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.

To be elected, finalists required 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The addition of the direct elect committees were incorporated into the election process to maintain a strong focus on keeping history on the forefront of the voting procedures and to preserve a balance between two eras of basketball.

“The Class of 2013 is one of the most distinguished groups that the Hall of Fame has ever inducted at one time,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. “These individuals span decades of the game and have impacted the sport on every level.”

The Class of 2013 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. on Sunday, September 8. Ticket packages to the 2013 Enshrinement Ceremony and all Enshrinement Events are on sale now and available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 231-5540.


SYLVIA HATCHELL [Coach] – Hatchell recently became just the third Division I women’s coach to win 900 career games and the only coach in history to win national championships at three different levels (AIAW, NAIA and NCAA). Since taking over at the University of North Carolina in 1986, she has led the Tar Heels to three NCAA Final Fours, eight ACC championships and the 1994 National Championship. She is a three-time National Coach of the Year (1994, 2006 and 2008) and three-time ACC Coach of the Year. She has led her teams to seven 30-win seasons and twenty-eight 20-win seasons. In International competition, she was an assistant coach for the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal team and a part of four World University Games.

DAWN STALEY [Player] – As one of the most decorated players in women’s basketball history, Staley was a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996, 2000 and 2004), five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time National College Player of the Year (1991-92). She was named the USA Basketball Female Player of the Year in 1994 and went on to begin her professional career as a two-time ABL All-Star (1997 and 1998). As a collegiate player, Staley was a three-time Kodak All-America selection (1990-92) at the University of Virginia and she still holds the NCAA career record for steals (454). She led the Cavaliers to three NCAA Final Four appearances and was named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 1991. She is the only player in women’s college basketball history to record 2,000 points, 700 assists and 400 steals. She is now the head coach at the University of South Carolina.

From the North American Committee:

BERNARD KING [Player] – King is a four-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA First-Team selection, NBA All-Rookie Team selection and was the NBA Comeback Player of the Year in 1981. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he was a First Team All-America at the University of Tennessee before an NBA career that included stints with the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets. He averaged over 22 points per game during his 15-year career including a 34.8 points per game average in the 1984 NBA Playoffs.

GUY V. LEWIS [Coach] – Lewis led his University of Houston program to five NCAA Final Four appearances (1967, 1968, 1982, 1983 and 1984) and nearly 600 wins during his 30 years as head coach. He won National Coach of the Year honors in 1968 and 1983. A graduate of the school in 1947 he began as an assistant coach in 1953 until he took over four years later. His tenure included 14 NCAA tournament appearances, 10 Sweet Sixteen appearances and registered three 30-win seasons. During his career, he coached 29 future NBA players including Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon, all current Hall of Famers.
GARY PAYTON [Player] – Known as “The Glove” for his defensive prowess, Payton was a nine-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection. He was an All-NBA First Team selection in both 1998 and 2000 and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996 and 2000) ended his NBA career ranking fourth all-time in steals (2,445) and eighth in assists (8,966). He won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. Prior to the NBA, Payton was the Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year in 1990 while at Oregon State and holds the school’s all-time marks for points, assists and steals.

RICK PITINO [Coach] – Pitino is the only coach in men’s history to lead three different schools to NCAA Final Four appearances as he did with Providence College, University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. He led Kentucky to the 1996 National Championship and then reached the title game again with the Wildcats the following year. He has won over 600 games in his collegiate career, reached the Final Four seven different times (1987, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2011 and 2013), led his teams to 21 postseason appearances and won nine conference tournament championships. He earned Coach of the Year honors from different sources three different years. Pitino also held two stints as an NBA head coach with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, leading the Knicks to two playoff appearances.

JERRY TARKANIAN [Coach] – Known as one of the most passionate coaches in the game of basketball, Tarkanian recorded 990 wins during his career with an 81% winning percentage that included leading the University of Nevada-Las Vegas to four NCAA Final Four appearances (1977, 1987, 1990 and 1991) and the 1990 NCAA Championship. During his career, he led three different schools to NCAA Tournament appearances (UNLV, Fresno State and Long Beach State), including 21 post season appearances, 14 NCAA tournaments, 13 Sweet Sixteen appearances, seven Elite Eights, 17 conference championships and four 30-plus win seasons. Tarkanian is a four-time National Coach of the Year (1977 Kodak; 1983 UPI; 1984, 1990 Basketball Times). At the junior college level, he still owns the highest winning percentage of all-time at .891. He has coached 44 future NBA prospects including 12 First Round draft picks. Off the court, he was the recipient of the Roy Campanella Humanitarian Award and the Dream a Dream Foundation Inspiration Award – the only basketball coach to receive the award.

From the ABA Committee:
ROGER BROWN [Player] – Brown, nicknamed “The Rajah” was one of the greatest one-on-one players in the history of the American Basketball Association (ABA) averaging 17.4 points per game in eight ABA seasons. He was a four-time ABA All-Star (1968,1970, 1971 and 1972), All-ABA first team (1971) and a member of three ABA championship teams with the Indiana Pacers (1970, 1972 and 1973). He holds two ABA records – most consecutive field goals made (21) and scored an ABA Finals single-game high of 53 points. Brown starred for the University of Dayton, and was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1967. During his eight year (1967 -1975) ABA career, he spent time with the Indiana Pacers, Memphis Sounds and the Utah Stars. He is one of five players to have his jersey retired by the Pacers. After his professional career, Brown served as a Republican on the Indianapolis City Council for four years. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1996 and before passing away in 1997, he took part in several fundraisers across the city of Indianapolis.

From the Early African American Pioneers Committee:
Dr. E.B. HENDERSON [Contributor] – Known as the “Grandfather of Black Basketball,” Henderson was a true pioneer of the game. He first learned basketball in 1904 at Harvard University, while attending a summer physical training class for gym teachers. Upon his return to Washington, D.C., he introduced the game of basketball to his black students. That was the first time African Americans had played organized basketball on a wide scale. Henderson later formed the first African American athletic conference, the Interscholastic Athletic Association (I.S.A.A). Through the I.S.A.A, he was able to organize competitions between intercity African American youth along the Mid-Atlantic coast specifically in New York and Washington, D.C. In 1909, he led the Twelfth Street Colored Y.M.C.A to the 1909-10 Black National Title and the team finished undefeated. The following year, he coached the 12th Streeter squad to another undefeated season and won the 1910-11 Colored Basketball World’s Championship title. He also co-edited the Spalding Official Handbook for the I.S.A.A., which was published from 1910 to 1913.

From the International Committee:
OSCAR SCHMIDT [Player] – Schmidt is one of the greatest players to come out of his native country of Brazil. He was named one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1991, and was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010. He played in five Summer Olympics with the Brazilian national team and was the top scorer in three of them. In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he averaged 42.3 points per game. Schmidt is a three-time gold medalist in the South American Championship (1977, 1983, 1985), two-time silver medalist in the South American Club Championships (1979,1981), won the Intercontinental Cup Silver medal (1977) and World Championship bronze medal in 1978. Schmidt won both the South American Club Championship and the World Club Championship with Sirio of the Brazilian Basketball League in 1979. Drafted in the sixth round by the New Jersey Nets in 1984, Schmidt declined the opportunity to play in the NBA in order to maintain his “amateur” status in Europe. He also spent time playing in the Italian League where he won the Italian Basketball Cup with Caserta in 1988, and was seven-time Italian League top scorer (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992). Returning to his native Brazil in 1995 to finish his career, Schmidt was the league’s top scorer eight times from 1996-2003. He retired on May 26, 2003.

From the Veterans Committee:
RICHARD GUERIN [Player] – Guerin is widely known as one of best all-around players ever in the NBA, scoring over 14,676 points during his 13-year stint. The six-time NBA All-Star was a member of the New York Knicks from 1956-1963 and was the first Knick to score 2,000 points in a single season (1961-62). He averaged 20.1 points per game with the team and recorded 4,278 rebounds and 4,211 assists in his career. He finished as a player/coach for the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks, compiling an NBA coaching record of 327-291 with the Hawks organization and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1968. Rewriting the basketball record books as a collegiate player at Iona College, Guerin scored 1,375 points, including a career average of 19.6 points per game and graduated the leading scorer in Iona basketball history. The New York Knicks drafted him in the second round in 1956.

From the Contributor Direct Election Committee:
RUSS GRANIK [Contributor] – One of the most influential contributors to the game of basketball. Granik spent 30 years in the NBA league office starting as a staff attorney in 1976 and finishing his NBA career as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer. He was involved in every major negotiation in the NBA from 1980 to 2005 including television contracts, collective bargaining and league expansion. Overseeing the expansion of the game into the international realm as a key figure in working out the details of professionals (NBA players) competing in the 1992 Olympic Games and subsequent international competitions. He was the NBA’s chief negotiator on four collective bargaining agreements and has served as NBA Executive Vice President (1984-90), Vice President of USA Basketball (1989-96) and President of USA Basketball (1996-2000). He was also the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board (2003-2007). In 2005, he received USA Basketball’s Edward S. Steitz Award.