Scouting Cody Zeller vs. Southridge

zellerCommenter Josh Houchin made the trip out to see Cody Zeller play over the weekend. He managed to get some video footage as well, which will be up soon which you can find here. At this point Zeller still has a lengthy list of schools that he is considering including Butler, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Purdue, and many others. His full report is after the jump.

I got the chance to head over to my alma-mater to take in their game against Washington High School, and their highly sought after big man Cody Zeller. Zeller’s listed at 6’10” and 205 lbs. He might be an inch or two shorter than that, but seeing that’s he’s only a junior in high school, has plenty of time to grow. He’s also a captain on his team, although, I didn’t see many signs of leadership from where I was sitting, but again, that will come in time.

Southridge is better equipped to handle him than most, as they a starting lineup that goes: 5’11” – 6’3” – 6’2” – 6’5” – 6’6”. They stuck with their standard zone defense for much of the game. It’s kind of a hybrid 2-3/3-2. I would consider it more of a 3-2, but that’s open to interpretation.

Now, on to the actual game. Zeller’s team is going to be tough to stop if they keep hitting their shots. Everyone, Southridge included, spends most of their energy in knowing where he was on the court at all times. This lead to some easy buckets for his teammates early on. They ended up winning the game 54-44. Southridge is no slouch. They’re in the same class as Washington and had a record of 15-3 coming in to the game. They’re also in the same Sectional, so there’s a chance they could see each other again in a couple of weeks.

Zeller’s a very good passer for his size. He’s used to seeing double-teams, and you can tell it because he’s aware of where they’re coming from, and he didn’t turn the ball over once on the night where the double-team was a factor. He also seems like a very smart player on the offensive side. He knows what his coach wants, and was constantly working to get open against the zone.

I’m going to give him an incomplete as far as his post game, since he faced a zone most of the night. He did have a few nice post moves, including an effective hook shot when going to his right.

He definitely has a smooth midrange game though. He played most of the game, and scored most of his points, from the 10-15′ range. He’s got pretty good shooting mechanics for a guy his size as well. He does seem to float around the perimeter a little bit, but again, that might be contributed to the zone he was facing. Also, with saying that, he didn’t attempt a 3, but definitely seems to have that range, from watching him in warmups.

Rebounding-wise, he doesn’t really overwhelm you. It seemed that most of his rebounds came to him because he was the tallest guy on the floor, not because he was outworking his man for the position, although I’ve definitely seen worse when it comes to the effort to get position.

Defensively, he actually moves his feet pretty well on the perimeter. However, he does have a tendency to lose his man occasionally, because he likes to float around the middle and try to block shots, as a guy his size should. A lot of this can be contributed to his size. He’s so big that he can make up for losing his guy without getting hurt at the high school level.

Overall, I see a lot of potential in him. Both of his brothers played Division 1 basketball at a high level. Luke played 4 years at Notre Dame, and Tyler is a sophomore at North Carolina, so the genes are there. He seems to play more like Luke at this point than Tyler, since he likes to play around the perimeter. He doesn’t seem to have the mean-streak that Tyler had. He seems like he’d be a very good fit at the 4 in Beilein’s scheme.

With the early offers he has, it’s easy to see that he’ll be playing college ball in two years. It’s way too early to tell where he might end up, but from seeing him play, I can say that I’d love to see him in Maize and Blue.

Final Stats:
19 points on 7/15 shooting
5/7 from the Free Throw line
12 rebounds (6 Off./6 Def)
1 Assist
2 Blocks
2 Turnovers

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