Cody Zeller’s shooting range impresses Suns coach Jeff Hornacek

Jun 6, 2013, 12:13 AM | Updated: 1:38 pm

Entering the 2012-13 season, Indiana forward Cody Zeller was the talk of college basketball. The sophomore standout graced the preseason editions of ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated, was talked about as a consensus top 3 draft pick and looked to be primed for a Wooden Award-winning campaign.

For all the hype and media attention, Zeller managed to have a very good statistical season — 16.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game — but as the Hoosiers’ title hopes fell (lost in the Sweet 16 to Syracuse) in March, so too did his draft stock.

The Washington, Indiana native made the First Team All-Big Ten, but concerns about his body frame, physical toughness and outside shooting touch have altered the label from can’t-miss product to NBA-sized question mark.

Hoping to address those concerns, Zeller participated in Wednesday’s group session in front of Suns’ coaches, scouts and team executives along with former Indiana teammate Victor Oladipo, UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad, center Rudy Gobert (France), Wisconsin forward Jared Berggren and Oregon forward E.J. Singler.

Despite being knocked for his shooting range — he attempted only 24 jumpers
during the 2012-13 season — while at Indiana, Zeller made at least one fan following his first group workout: new Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek.

“I think I was surprised by how well he shot the ball from the outside,” Hornacek said. “Most guys they grow up, and they’re shooting outside anyways. Even a guy like him, I anticipated the 15 to 18-foot range, and that he’d be pretty decent — which he was.

“But, as he moved farther out, his shot didn’t change. It was the same stroke. It didn’t look like he was forcing to get it up there. There’s a lot of big guys that don’t shoot that shot a lot, so it looks like a real strain. He didn’t, he shot it normally.”

Asked about his shooting performance Wednesday, Zeller said he wasn’t surprised in the least.

“I’ve been able to shoot,” said Zeller, who had one previous individual workout with the Utah Jazz. “I shot a lot in high school, AAU, stuff like that. It’s nothing too major, just showing them I have that ability.”

Zeller will try to become the second brother from his family to be drafted in the first round in as many years (Tyler Zeller taken No. 17 overall by Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012), but the former Indiana Mr. Basketball’s trip to the Valley brought to mind his other sibling, Luke, Wednesday.

Luke Zeller played 16 games with the Suns in 2012-13, averaging 1.2 points and 0.6 rebounds per game. However due to the organization’s recent regime change, Cody noted that his older brother wasn’t able to impart much advice on what to expect.

“It’s a different organization,” said Zeller. “A lot different group than when Luke was here. Luke loved it here, he enjoyed his time here, the people were great. He enjoyed every bit of it.”

Penguin Air
Arizona F Grant Jerrett (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Maryland C Alex Len (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Indiana F Cody Zeller (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) French C Rudy Gobert (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) UCLA G Shabazz Muhammad (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Indiana G Victor Oladipo (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Kansas G Ben McLemore (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Phoenix Suns draft prospects Cody Zeller, left, and Victor Oladipo, both from Indiana University, leave practice Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek speaks with the media, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns draft prospect Rudy Gobert, of France, speaks with the media, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns draft prospect E.J. Singler, of Oregon, speaks with the media, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns draft prospect Ben McLemore, of Kansas, speaks with the media, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns draft prospect Victor Oladipo, of Indiana, leaves after speaking with the media, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns draft prospect Ben McLemore, of Kansas, prepares to speak with the media, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns draft prospect Cody Zeller, of Indians, speaks with the media, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Michigan guard Trey Burke (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) French center Mouhammadou Jaiteh (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Miami guard Shane Larkin (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Iowa State guard Korie Lucious (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Lehigh guard CJ McCollum (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Akron center Zeke Marshall (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie St. Mary's guard Matthew Dellavedova (Photo:Craig Grialou) UNLV forward Anthony Bennett (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Virginia Tech guard Erick Green (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) New Mexico small forward Tony Snell (Photo by Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Duke center Mason Plumlee (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) North Texas forward Tony Mitchell (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Pittsburgh center Steven Adams (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) North Carolina State guard Lorenzo Brown (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Texas guard Myck Kabongo (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Missouri forward Alex Oriakhi (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Texas A&M guard Elston Turner, Jr. (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Florida State guard Michael Snaer. (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Florida Gulf Coast guard Sherwood Brown. (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) F Aaron Anderson, Kennesaw State (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) C Jeff Withey, Kansas (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) BYU forward Brandon Davies (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Glen Rice, Jr. (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) ASU forward Carrick Felix (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) Arizona swingman Solomon Hill (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports) North Carolina swingman Reggie Bullock (Craig Grialou/Arizona Sports)

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul draws the offensive foul on Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) du...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns embarrassed on home court by Boston Celtics in 27-point rout

The Phoenix Suns were playing great basketball through a few key injuries this season before back-to-back terrible losses in blowout fashion.
1 day ago
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives between Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and cent...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns face largest deficit of season in loss to Boston Celtics

The Phoenix Suns dropped their home battle with the Boston Celtics after trailing by 27 points at halftime.
1 day ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns passes the ball against the Boston Celtics during the second ha...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns GM James Jones stresses importance of Celtics matchup

The No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Phoenix Suns takes on the top seed in the east, the Boston Celtics, on Wednesday.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) drives as Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell (0) defen...
Arizona Sports

Report: Chris Paul expects to return as Suns face NBA-best Celtics

Chris Paul has missed 14 games, while Torrey Craig has missed three for the Phoenix Suns, who host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
1 day ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) drives against Phoenix Suns forward Josh Okogie (2) during ...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns blitzed by Mavericks in Dallas again

The Phoenix Suns will eventually play a basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks that does not bring up terrible memories for their fans.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Duane Washington Jr. (4) passes against the Golden State Warriors during the sec...
Arizona Sports

Suns G Washington Jr. out; Mavs F Wood in

Suns guard Duane Washington Jr. (hip) will join the three rotation players on his team who will not suit up Monday against the Mavericks.
3 days ago
Cody Zeller’s shooting range impresses Suns coach Jeff Hornacek