IU Inks 17th Rated Recruiting Class with Etherington and Zeller

By: Contributor Last Updated: November 15, 2010

iu-logo.pngIndiana University men’s basketball coach Tom Crean has announced that Austin Etherington, a 6-6, 185 pound small forward from Hamilton Heights (Ind.) High School and Cody Zeller, a 6-11, 220 pound power forward from Washington (Ind.) High School have signed national letters of intent to attend Indiana University and play basketball for the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers have the 17th ranked recruiting class according to Scout.com.

As a junior, Etherington averaged 22.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 blocks for coach Chad Ballenger. The year before, he averaged 15.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game during the final 13 games of his sophomore campaign. He was an Indiana Junior All-Star who played for the Indiana Elite AAU program and was coached by Mark Adams.

Scout.com has him as the 22nd ranked small forward and 98th best player in the country, is ranked as the 25th best small forward by ESPN.com, and was in­­vited to the NBA Top 100 camp this past summer.

He is the son of Brett and Missy Etherington and has two brothers, Alex and Aaron. His father played basketball at Butler from 1987-91.

As a junior, Zeller led Washington to a Class 3A state championship, averaging 20.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Following the season, he was named an Indiana Junior All-Star. During his sophomore campaign, he averaged 15.0 points and 6.8 rebounds. As a freshmen, he averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 boards on another Class 3A state title team. He has been coached by Gene Miiller at Washington and also played AAU basketball for the Indiana Elite program and Mark Adams.

He also led the USA 2011 squad to the adidas Nations Championship in Chicago this past summer and was invited to the NBA Top 100 camp.

ESPN.com has him ranked the 15th best prospect in the country and fourth at his position, Scout.com has him rated 16th nationally and fourth at his position, Rivals.com has him slotted 20th in the country and fourth at his position.

He is the son of Steve and Lorri Zeller and his oldest brother, Luke, was a 2005 McDonald's All-America and Mr. Basketball in Indiana and played at Notre Dame. Another brother, Tyler, was a 2008 McDonald’s All-American and Mr. Basketball and plays at North Carolina. His uncle, Al Eberhard, played for four seasons with the NBA's Detroit Pistons after a standout career at Missouri.

Coach Crean on Austin Etherington

“I remember the first time I saw him play in an open gym workout, he had been injured his sophomore year, but there was no doubt that we saw enough inside that first workout to go back the next week. From that, we got hooked on this young man’s athletic ability, on his ability to shoot the ball, on his ability to built a physical nature, even though he was not that physical-type of kid.

“But the thing I love is that he loves basketball. He has a high-level of athletic upside and this summer is when he really started to take shape. One thing that is big in our recruiting is that we want to recruit year-round winners and certainly Austin is that way. Whether it is the winter time or the summertime, he is a year-round winner.”

Coach Crean on Cody Zeller

“When I look at Cody Zeller, I see a great teammate. I see a young man that has mental toughness that is not normal. I see a young man that has endurance and a will about him that is going to pay dividends at Indiana and for many years after that. Obviously he is a year-round winner from the programs that he is in. He plays for one of the finest coaches in all of high school basketball in Gene Miiller and the proof is there in his record.

“But getting to know Cody and getting to know his family, much like Austin’s, it would have been an absolute shame to not be surrounded by those guys and what they mean as people. The basketball is going to be without question, there is no doubt about that. Cody will continue to improve and the rate of improvement that he has been in over the last year and then watching where he was at over the summer to where he is at now…when you use the phrase “the sky is the limit,” you can put Cody Zeller’s name next to it. I see no ceiling right now for that young man.

“Athletically, ability-wise, stature…but when you look at the entire package and what he has as a human being that is what makes him stand out for us. He is as good of a defensive rebounder as I have ever recruited, not just because of his size but because of his tenaciousness. He has improved his range, he has improved his skill set. He is outstanding at the elbow area and is very good around the post. But what he is getting now more than ever is the ability to shoot the ball from range”