Now the clock is ticking for Zeller, Oladipo

If all goes as expected, Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean will have a major rebuilding project on his hands next season.
Wait, didn’t he just do that, going from three-consecutive 20-loss seasons to a pair of Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA tournament the past two years?
But the flip side of building an elite college program is the fact that great players tend to leave early for the NBA.
And frankly, it’s much too early in Bloomington to determine whether Crean has earned the right to be viewed as a coach who reloads rather than rebuilds.
While he has another highly rated recruiting class coming in next season, that talent won’t make up for the potential loss of four starters following Thursday night’s 61-50 loss to Syracuse at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
IU, of course, will have at least three vacancies to fill with the departures of senior starters Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls and reserve Derek Elston. But it’s also been widely speculated that All-Americans Cody Zeller, just a sophomore, and junior Victor Oladipo will depart early for the NBA draft.
Neither Zeller or Oladipo did much to shoot down that rumor Thursday night.
“I don’t know,” Zeller replied when asked if he had made a decision about his future. “I put everything into this. I haven’t thought about it one bit. I was just worried about playing this year. So much fun playing with these guys,We had a great year — haven’t thought about it at all.”
Added Oladipo: “I’m the same way. I’ve been focused on Indiana Hoosier basketball, and I loved playing with these guys. I’ve enjoyed the ride.
“I’m never going to forget this team, the players on this team, this coaching staff, anything. That’s all I’ve been thinking about,” added Oladipo.
IU has six commitments for next season with 6-foot-10 Luke Fischer, 6-8 Noah Vonleh, 6-foot-6 Devin James Jr., 6-6 Collin Hartman, 6-7 Troy Williams and 6-4 Stanton Robinson.
Taller and younger doesn’t mean better.
Crean said he would contact NBA general managers and scouting directors to get a clearer idea of the draft projections for Zeller and Oladipo.
Since Oladipo is on track to graduate in just three years, it’s difficult to believe he’ll turn down NBA millions.
Zeller, however, has a family track record to cast. Both older brothers, Luke at Notre Dame and Tyler at North Carolina, stayed in college four years.

This entry was posted in College Basketball, Uncategorized by Randy Beard. Bookmark the permalink.

About Randy Beard

Randy Beard has been at the Courier & Press since 2007 and became the sports editor in 2012. He has previously been a sports editor at the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail and the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat. He began his professional sports journalist career in 1976 and has spent his career primarily covering college sports in the ACC, SEC and Big Ten. He's also covered the NFL, the original North American Soccer League and professional tennis and golf. He's covered two Super Bowls, three college football national championship games, dozens of NCAA basketball tournament games, an Olympics, a World Cup and once hung out with soccer legend George Best for two days and sat in a golf cart with Jan Stephenson.

2 comments on “Now the clock is ticking for Zeller, Oladipo

  1. Sherry on said:

    In the last paragraph – Tyler (not Cody) Zeller played at North Carolina.

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