Friday, November 12, 2010

Indiana Gets Cody Zeller, Kentucky Loses Enes Kanter

Indiana got some huge news yesterday with the commitment of Cody Zeller. Zeller is the top big man recruit in the state of Indiana's 2011 class, and he represents the first blue chip in-state recruiting coup for Tom Crean. The fact is that Hoosiers fans have been watching the past decade as the best of Indiana's talent has left the state, or gone to in-state rivals like Purdue and Butler. Sean May was the original heartbreaker way back in 2002, and since then they've also lost Josh McRoberts, Eric Gordon, Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and many other blue chippers.

In fact, the symbolism of this signing means a lot more for Indiana than Zeller's play himself. Despite being a very talented player, the fact is that Tom Crean has never had much success with big men and is always going to focus his team around guard play. So I wouldn't expect Zeller to turn into Indiana's next All-American. But he clearly signals that Indiana is again a plausible destination for the elite talent that emerges from Indiana's high schools and AAU programs every year.


While Indiana got some good news yesterday, Kentucky got hit with some awful news: Enes Kanter has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA. This certainly isn't a big surprise, although Kentucky will appeal and it's not at all unprecedented for these types of decisions to be reversed. If the appeal fails then we can expect Kanter to start focusing exclusively on the 2011 NBA Draft. He was never going to be more than a one-and-done player, and always had his eye on the 2011 Draft.

Kentucky does have another super-freshman coming in at 6'9" who can play the paint (Terrence Jones), but the loss of Kanter would make the Kentucky frontcourt very thin. I never bought Kentucky's Final Four chances, even with Kanter, because of the total lack of experience - you simply can't win big in the NCAA Tournament with only freshmen, no matter how good they are. But the loss of Kanter, if permanent, will deal a crushing blow to their SEC title chances.


Anonymous said...

Hello Jeff i´m Diego. Will it bother you if i do a lot of quiestions every day? Because i want to learn and i think you are an excellent writer. For example con you explain me the word redshirt?

Jeff said...

A redshirt basically means that a player skips a season, and is then allowed to play during their fifth year of college. Either way they get four years that they are eligible to play the sport, and the redshirt allows them to skip a year either to recover from an injury, build up strength, or whatever.