View Full Version : Cody Zeller and Christian Watford returning for IU

04-10-2012, 05:03 PM

Indiana basketball fans can take a deep breath.

Cody Zeller and Christian Watford will both return for the Hoosiers next season.

The front court duo that was a big part of IU’s resurgence last season that culminated with a 27-9 record and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament announced today they will be back.

Zeller, who was the co-Big Ten freshman of the year and an honorable mention Associated Press All-American selection, led IU in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (6.6). He also shot 62.3 percent from the field, which was fourth in the nation.

Watford, who will be a senior, has averaged 13.4 points in his three-year career. He has the most points of any returning player in the Big Ten next season with 1,287. That total ranks him 25th in IU history.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to complete my degree and to continue restoring the winning tradition at IU,’’ Watford said in a news release sent out by the university.

Watford scored 27 points in IU’s final game of the season, a 102-90 loss to eventual national champion Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen in Atlanta.

“Christian really ended the season on a high note on the biggest stage and is building off that,’’ IU coach Tom Crean said. “He is going to have the opportunity to be a leader and have an even greater impact on the program and his game. More importantly, he will earn his degree from IU.’’

Zeller said in the university’s release that while he would like to play in the NBA someday that he wasn’t ready for his college experience to be over.

“Coach Crean and my family were very supportive and helpful as I made my decision,’’ Zeller said. “My college experience at IU this year has exceeded my expectations, on and off the court. I look forward to playing at Assembly Hall next year in front of the greatest fans in the country.’’

IU was 18-1 at home last season.

Crean said Zeller is a player who makes everyone around him better.

“He is going to have great opportunities ahead of him,’’ Crean said. “His demeanor, work ethic and his desire to be a great teammate never wavers. He will have the opportunity to be as good as any player in college basketball.’’

With Zeller and Watford returning, IU will have all five of its starters back as well as a highly touted recruiting class. Indiana has already been tabbed as the No. 1 team in the nation heading into next season by ESPN, Yahoo, CNNSI and USA Today.

Hell yes. Big Ten is going to be nasty next year, with IU, Michigan, and MSU leading the charge.

Cody was expected back so this isn't much news to us. We got a little worried about Watford here on campus but we caught him chatting with Jeremy Hollowell (incoming frosh) on twitter about playing basketball together next season and getting to the final four. I'm stoked. Let's get this season going! #themovement

04-10-2012, 05:17 PM
IU is gonna be realllll goood next year. I'm rooting for them

04-10-2012, 05:31 PM
I'm bummed that I will be transferring (no choice) because IU has the good shot to win it all with this news.