Player Rankings: No. 1 Cody Zeller

It’s time for No. 1. The last nine days, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina has unveiled his 2012-13 preseason Big Ten Player Rankings one by one. See players 2-10 here. Who’s No. 1? It’s pretty simple at this point, really. The pick is Indiana sophomore Cody Zeller. Reminder: Once the season gets underway, Yarina will release a weekly Player Rankings every Monday.

Indiana's Cody Zeller

US Presswire

THE COUNTDOWN
No. 10: Jared Berggren, Sr., Wisconsin
No. 9: Branden Dawson, So., Michigan State
No. 8: Keith Appling, Jr., Michigan State
No. 7: Drew Crawford, Sr., Northwestern
No. 6: Aaron Craft, Jr., Ohio State
No. 5: Tim Frazier, Sr., Penn State
No. 4: Trevor Mbakwe, Sr., Minnesota
No. 3: Deshaun Thomas, Jr., Ohio State
No. 2: Trey Burke, So., Michigan

Zeller’s career stats:

Per Game Team G GS MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TOPG PFPG FG% 3P% FT%
2011-12 Ind 36 36 28.5 15.6 6.6 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.7 2.7 .623 - .755
Career 36 36 28.5 15.6 6.6 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.7 2.7 .623 - .755

Why he’s No. 1: In a conference loaded with stars, there’s none brighter than Indiana’s sophomore big man. Name it, and Zeller can do it. He’s a 7-footer who, as we heard several times last season, runs like a gazelle. He also passes and shoots extremely well for a man his size. And no, Zeller’s 62.3 percent shooting wasn’t the result of putback dunks – this is a guy who has a bevy of moves down low. Now that Zeller tips the scales at 240 pounds, he should have the strength to mix it up down low, which will yield more rebounds/blocks and better defense.

Why he may not live up to ranking: Regardless of Zeller’s numbers this winter, he will be Indiana’s most valuable player. Plain and simple, 7-footers like him don’t come around often. That said, the Hoosiers are so deep and so talented that Zeller’s touches and minutes figure to be affected, to some degree. There’s only one basketball, as they say.

BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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iavogter27yan on 10/26/2012 @ 10:08am EST Said:

Pretty good list, hard to disagree with any of those. Surprised to not see any hawkeyes on the list with most people picking them as the sleeper. I think White or Marble could be top-10 but we will see this season.