BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - First, it was Victor Oladipo. Now Cody Zeller steps up to the plate.
Zeller announced his plans to enter the NBA draft at a Wednesday afternoon news conference from Assembly Hall.
"At this time in my life, I think it's best for me to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA," Zeller said, adding that his time at IU has been the best two years of his life.
Zeller, a 7-footer from Washington, Ind., was a key component of IU's return to prominence, and Coach Tom Crean sang Zeller's praises.
"What Cody has done in the short period of time that he's been a part of Indiana basketball has helped raise the level of every person in this program," Crean said. "And that's not an easy feat."
Zeller averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore this season, up from a strong freshman campaign in which he averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Crean credits Zeller with helping to lead the Hoosiers to 56 victories in two seasons.
Both Oladipo and Zeller had been weighing whether to jump to the NBA. Oladipo made the decision to go pro, and it was widely expected the Zeller would announce the same decision.
Zeller said Wednesday that he and Oladipo have already begun working out together in preparation for the NBA draft combine.
Zeller is 35 credits away from graduating, and he said he plans to finish that coursework over the course of two summers.
It's a unique year for the NBA Draft. Some analysts have said that this is the weakest draft in two decades.
For that reason, some players that experts consider marginal on whether they should leave college early for the draft are more likely to do so because they are likely to be drafted higher than they might during a normal season.
Adding to that, next year's NBA Draft haul is expected to be one of the strongest of all-time, making it more difficult for quality players who stay in college to expect to be drafted higher next season.