By Lauren Shute
For many draft prospects, the workouts, interviews and events that have taken place in the months leading up to tonight’s 2013 NBA Draft have been completely new. But not for Cody Zeller.
Cody’s brothers Luke and Tyler Zeller were standout college players, and both went on to make NBA rosters. Cody has already followed in their footsteps by being a celebrated Hoosier at Indiana University. But after his sophomore season, Cody decided to follow his brothers again and go pro. He’s expected to be a top pick in the draft on Thursday, along with fellow Hoosier Victor Oladipo.
Zeller sat down with SI Kids at Lids in Times Square, New York, this morning to talk about his childhood, the draft process and what’s to come.
Q: When you were younger, what NBA player did you pretend to be?
A: Growing up in Indiana when I was really little, Reggie Miller and that group was really big, so I pretended to be him.
Q: Is there an NBA player you are looking forward to playing the most?
A: Not really. I think it’ll be really fun to play Tyler [currently on the Cleveland Cavaliers]. Both of us will have the scouting reports down pretty well.
Q: What are you going to miss the most about Indiana?
A: I loved Indiana, on and off the court. It’s such a fun campus. I was in the Kelley School of Business, which is known around the country, so I am definitely going to miss it.
Q: While you were at Indiana, a lot of people said you played your role on the team and maybe weren’t as much of a vocal leader as you could have been. What do you say to NBA franchises that will want you to step up and be their leader down the road?
A: I got a lot better at that. I’m naturally a quiet guy, and I try to lead more by example. When I came in as a freshman, that wasn’t acceptable for Coach Crean. That’s one of the biggest improvement areas and was definitely one of my strengths later on at Indiana.
Q: What do you think it says about Indiana that two of the top picks in the draft are Hoosiers?
A: I think it says a lot, especially about how great our coaches were at developing players, and I think that will continue with the guys there now and guys that come to Indiana.
Q: How are you going to contain your excitement tonight when your name gets called?
A: I’ll definitely be excited, but I can’t do anything about it now. I’m pretty relaxed about it, but I’m very excited to find out where I’m going.
For more coverage of the 2013 NBA Draft, check out the SI Kids blog!
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images