Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, July 3, 2012
A year ago at this time, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Baylor's Perry Jones were projected high lottery picks in the 2012 NBA Draft. Injuries, however, saw the two stars drop to No. 21 and No. 28, respectively, in last week's draft. Using that logic, LostLetttermen.com's Anthony Olivieri brought up this interesting question in a recent column: could Cody Zeller, the No. 1 pick in several 2013 mock drafts, regret coming back for his sophomore season?
[LostLettermen.com: Cody Zeller May Regret Staying in School]
It's something to consider. Who knows where Zeller would have gone in last week's draft if he entered it. That's not important now. What is, Olivieri writes, is the fact that another year at Indiana "will give NBA evaluators enough time to pick his game apart." For what it's worth, I'm not really sure what they could find to dislike in a big man who runs like a deer (reference video above) and can literally do it all on the floor.
The bigger issue, to me, is the risk of sustaining a Sullinger-like injury. But injury isn't the end-all, be-all. Let's not forget that former Ohio State star Evan Turner broke his back several months before he went No. 2 in the 2010 draft. Basically, if your game translates to the NBA as well as Zeller's appears to, teams are going to take you.
[BTN.com: Top Big Ten 2013 NBA Draft prospects]
Here's the deal: Zeller has a chance to be the No. 1 pick next year, which he had no hope of being this year thanks to Kentucky's Anthony Davis. Yes, his stock is sky high, possibly as high as it will get, and he has nowhere to go but down as a projected No. 1 pick. Still, for a guy who needed another year to refine his game and bulk up his body, he made the right decision to return to Indiana. So now when he gets to the NBA — whether it be next year or the year after — he's more likely to contribute right away.
What do you think? Will Zeller regret coming back? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.