Thu Nov 11 02:07pm EST
Nobody's better at keeping a secret than Zeller.
[Photos: Zeller's commitment]
It wasn't until moments before the 6-foot-10 senior's news conference at his high school on Thursday afternoon that word finally leaked out that Rivals.com's 20th-ranked recruit had decided to remain close to home and go to Indiana. Zeller confirmed moments later that he selected the Hoosiers over Butler and North Carolina.
"My high school coach didn't even know until a few minutes ago," Zeller said. "I didn't tell hardly anyone. I kept it a secret."
The long wait was worth it for Indiana coach Tom Crean because the Hoosiers are adding a home-grown player they've coveted for years. Zeller joins travel ball teammate Austin Etherington in Indiana's Recruiting Class of 2011 and becomes the face of a rebuilding process that was bumpy at first but now seems to be picking up steam.
[Related: What if college hoops had football's BCS?]
It's hard to imagine Indiana making the NCAA tournament this season with so many good teams in a loaded Big Ten, but the Hoosiers may not be on the outside looking in for much longer. In addition to good young talent already in the program and Zeller and Etherington on the way, Indiana has landed commitments from three Class of 2012 players already including five-star forward Hanner Perea.
It's a testament to the effort Crean put into recruiting Zeller that he would turn down Butler and North Carolina. The Bulldogs, of course, were in the national title game last season, while the Tar Heels appeared to have a leg up on everybody since Cody's elder brother Tyler is their starting center.
[Related: HS player kicked off team for pink shoes]
"The players and coaches at Indiana were the biggest thing," Zeller said. "I think I'll get along with the players real well, Coach Crean seems to be rebuilding the program well and also the business school is ranked really high.
"It was a tough process, but I enjoyed it. It's something you can only do once in a lifetime."