WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cody Zeller’s stock with NBA scouts took a bit of a hit after he was smothered and dominated defensively by Syracuse’s bigs during Indiana’s 61-50 loss in the East Region semifinals here Thursday night.
“It drops him down some with a lot of the teams,” one veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv. “He’s still a Top 10 pick on his body of work.”
Said a second veteran scout: “Zeller is a good complementary player and not a franchise guy. His stock has probably slipped but not that far. Not a real deep draft as you know. Maybe he decides to stay another year.”
Zeller went 3-for-11 for 10 points and 10 rebounds and was smothered by Syracuse big men Rakeem Christmas,Baye Keita, James Southerland and Jerami Grant down low. Syracuse had 10 blocks in the game.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a better defensive game,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN. “We’ve had some, but not like that.”
The 7-foot Zeller is currently No. 3 on the DraftExpress.com Mock Draft, and the site’s publisher, Jonathan Givony, said he didn’t think Zeller’s stock would be impacted much by the poor performance in what could be his final college game.
“It’s just one game,” he said. “It doesn’t erase what he did in the 69 games before this.”
It’s always risky to ask a kid what his future plans are after a devastating loss, but one reporter asked Zeller and teammate Victor Oladipo on the podium anyway.
“I don’t know,” Zeller said. “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.’
Oladipo, who went for 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting, is projected as the No. 6 pick in the draft.
“I’m the same way [as Zeller],” he said of his plans. “I’ve been focused on Indiana Hoosier basketball and I loved playing with these guys, and I’ve enjoyed the ride.”
Photo: USA Today Sports
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.