The Charlotte Bobcats' version of Cody Zeller might look very different from the Indiana Hoosiers' version of Cody Zeller.
That's the hope, anyway, IU coach Tom Crean said.
It isn't that Zeller didn't meet his potential in Bloomington, or that he has any glaring weaknesses.
What's key for the 7-foot forward, Crean said, is building on strengths and developing the confidence to become the multidimensional player Zeller can be.
"He's such an athlete, and his athleticism shows in so many ways," Crean said. "Sometimes it shows very obviously, with how he runs the court, with how he can get out and run, with the moves that he can make on the perimeter. I think the thing that doesn't always show up as obviously is how good he is in short spaces and how good a defensive player that he is."
Zeller can hit jump shots. He can space out the floor. He can make opponents think – and overthink.
But at times in Bloomington, he didn't display all of those tools, be it because of his role on the team or what he felt comfortable doing within the offense.
"The game's moved away from the basket quite a bit already with the way that he runs pick-and-rolls with the ball and the way that he drives the basketball," Crean said. "Shooting the basketball from the perimeter and shooting it with range in games – when he gets that comfort level down, because the skill set is there, there's no doubt about that. He's just got to get the comfort level of that. And I think once he does, it'll take off that much more."
Zeller wanted to take the ball to the rim, draw fouls and play in the post this season – something he did well in many games for the Hoosiers. He was used in many nontraditional ways for a post forward: screens were set for him, and he worked away from the block often despite his tendency to drive in.
There's no doubt he has things to work on before his debut with the Bobcats. But concerns about Zeller's physicality and overall ability, Crean said, are overplayed.
Charlotte, he said, will get what they need – and whatever they ask – out of the former Hoosier.
"He's going to be a multidimensional player because he can drive it, he can shoot it, he can score in the post, he gets fouled and he can really, really pass the ball," Crean said. "We utilized him in a lot of different ways. We never looked at him as a five man or as a four man. We looked at him as a big basketball player with a lot of talent."