'Most athletic' of Zeller brothers works out for Blazers

Cody Zeller of Indiana could be a top-14 pick

By Candace Buckner, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

TUALATIN, Ore. -- Cody Zeller gave a solo performance to the Trail Blazers on Friday afternoon.

Zeller, the 7-footer from Indiana, visited Portland as the team's first NBA Draft candidate to work out as an individual.

"You get a lot of work done (and) you get to show a lot," Zeller said after completing his personal showcase. "All the workouts are good. I like to work hard. Whether I'm back at home or here, it's not too big of a difference to me."

Zeller's session with Blazer assistant coaches, and attended by team owner Paul Allen, followed an earlier group that featured six players who may only have second-round aspirations. Still, several of the players have name recognition: Glen Rice, Jr., Larry Drew II and E.J. Singler.

Zeller, as well, carries a well-known name inside basketball circles. As the youngest Zeller brother -- Luke (played 16 games with the Phoenix Suns last season) and Tyler (the No. 17th pick in the 2012 draft) -- Cody owns his share of pre-draft hype.

As an athletic big man with a shooting touch, many major mock draft websites project Zeller within the top 14. Zeller, who averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds during his sophomore season at Indiana, played the center position in college but desires to play power forward in the NBA.

"(I'm) probably more of a four because guys in the NBA are so big, so I can use the mid-post," said Zeller, who made 56 percent of his shot attempts last season. "I can use my quickness and athleticism to my advantage and also play a little bit of the five because that's what I've been doing my whole life."

Through his solo set on Friday, Zeller said he wanted to emphasize his shooting range. So, besides the around-the-rim work, Zeller also attempted shots beyond the 3-point arc.

The workout lasted roughly 45 minutes but as the only player in the gym, Zeller moved through various shooting drills without much of a break. Near the end of his showcase, with perspiration dripping from his face, Zeller concluded a mid-range shooting drill to a smattering of applause.

A year ago, the middle Zeller brother, Tyler, worked out with the team during a six-player session. However on draft night, the Blazers went with the other 7-footer from that workout -- Meyers Leonard -- while Tyler Zeller fell to Cleveland.

Cody has similar game to his older brothers Tyler and Luke -- a trio of offensively-sound bigs -- but believes he has at least one advantage.

"Luke's definitely the best shooter out of us three. Tyler's definitely more back-to-the-basket," Cody said, "and I'm probably the most athletic."

After the workout, Zeller informed the media that he planned to have dinner with Blazer team officials. Zeller has previously visited Utah (individual workout) and Phoenix (as part of a six-player group), and has an upcoming date in Oklahoma City.