“I don’t want to limit him in any way but I want him to progress at his own rate,” said Clifford, who Charlotte hired in May. “I’m going to watch him, let him be comfortable and see how he goes. For us to be good, he’s got to be a really big part of it.”
Despite being removed from a dismal 21-61 campaign in the Southeast division, Charlotte is the perfect organization for Zeller.
After averaging 16.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists over 36 games as a sophomore, the 7-foot, 240 pound Zeller unwisely bolted from Bloomington.
An All-Big Ten First Team choice, the native Indianan proved to be unprepared for the association when Syracuse battered the Hoosiers in March.
Scoring a measly 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting against the Orange (29-9, 11-7 Big East), Zeller currently lacks the physicality to compete with rugged opponents.
Ranked 29th in defense and 26th in offense, Zeller’s looked tremendous in summer league games and has the skills to strengthen Charlotte on both ends of the court.
Perhaps most importantly, “The Big Handsome” will benefit from the Bobcats’ recent acquisition of Al Jefferson.
Inking a three-year contract worth $40.5 million on July 4, the 6-foot-10, 290 pound Jefferson should clear space in the paint for Zeller.
Zeller absolutely needs to gain bulk and learn to battle against NBA defenders.
Regardless, once “comfortable,” Cody Zeller will create a buzz in “The Hornet’s Nest” as a Bobcat.by