When it comes to Cody Zeller, it is not always the numbers that impress you. It’s not every day you can say that about a guy that averages over 16 points and 8 rebounds in the toughest conference in college basketball as just a sophomore, but in Zeller’s case, he is worthy of such praise.
Indiana’s 7-footer is known for having one of the highest basketball IQs in all of college basketball. He does a great job at finding holes in defenses, and does an exceptional job particularly when working the baseline. Cody is a good, not great, passer out of the post, but is always willing if the right play presents itself. One of the biggest strengths in Zeller’s game is his athleticism. For a big man, he runs the floor in transition incredibly well, can create off the bounce, and is a great finisher at the rim. As a freshman, Zeller made 35-of-41 field goals in transition. With great hands and scoring instincts that are next to none in the post, he will almost certainly help an NBA team in the future. The sophomore from Indiana University possesses great footwork in the post with a solid jump hook and short turnaround.
Defensively, Zeller does give up deep post position at times, but makes up for it by poking away countless entry passes. His mobility also allows him to be very active in pick-and-roll situations.
The biggest knocks on Cody Zeller are his lack of upper body strength, along with his lack of aggression on the glass at times. Zeller does have a solid base, but lacks the upper body strength to be a huge factor on the boards in the NBA. His 6’8″ wingspan surely doesn’t help him in that area. Also, elite lateral quickness is not a luxury to Cody. He often struggles to stay in front of quicker match-ups, which could be a problem with the way the league has trended. With guys like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant playing time at the power forward position, Zeller may struggle defensively, especially early on in his career.
Overall, Cody Zeller should be a good player at the next level. His fundamental skills and overall knowledge of the game are traits any team would love to add. Along with his ability to score in the post and ability to run the floor, Zeller has the potential to be above-average. Youth is on his side, and I would not mind seeing Cody Zeller in a Sixers’ uniform next year whatsoever.