Cody Zeller becomes latest from his family to crash the NBA


The Zeller family has a long and rich tradition with basketball in the state of Indiana, and the NBA might not have seen the best of the brothers yet. That'll be Charlotte's blessing.

Cody Zeller's arrival to the NBA as the No. 4 pick of the Charlotte Bobcats had a familiar feeling for the people who helped raise and nurture the standout forward for the Indiana Hoosiers. Zeller is, after all, the third member of his immediate family to reach the highest level of basketball in the world.

The NBA saw plenty of the Zeller family last year. Older brother Luke Zeller played 16 games for the Phoenix Suns and middle brother Tyler Zeller played quite a bit as a rookie for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now, the youngest brother,Cody Zeller, will join the ranks of his kin and continue the Zeller legacy as a member of the Bobcats.

Cody became the third first-round NBA Draft pick in his family, as the Dallas Mavericks drafted Tyler with the No. 17 overall pick of the 2012 draft -- before sending him to Cleveland -- and the Detroit Pistons drafted their uncle, Al Eberhard, with the No. 15 overall pick of the 1974 draft.

Cody is the highest drafted of the trio and thus will face very high expectations. The youngest brother turned down scholarship offers from North Carolina and Butler, so when he decided to attend Indiana University, he was quickly labeled the savior of Indiana basketball.

Cody shined during his freshman season in Indiana, helping the Hoosiers improve upon their record in 2011 by 15 games. He was projected as a high lottery pick in 2012, but decided instead to return to Indiana. Cody returned to Indiana as the preseason favorite for Player of the Year, too, and was a big reason the Hoosiers spent a majority of last season atop the college rankings.

Knowing all of that, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Steve and Lorri Zeller also played basketball -- just not as much as their sons. Steve played high school basketball, whereas the 6'0 Lorri went a bit further, playing at Division III Coe College in Iowa. Both parents now both devote their life to DistinXion, a faith-based non-profit program that focuses on character training through basketball.

The Zeller brothers made names for themselves individually and as a family at Washington High School by leading their teams to the state championship (Luke doing so in the most dramatic way with a half-court buzzer-beating heave). Each Zeller was named a McDonald's All-American and Indiana's "Mr. Basketball," an award given to the state's top high school player. Unsurprisingly, the Zeller brothers are the first family to claim the award three times.

It is tough to say who has had the most success so far, as Cody and Tyler's college stints mirrored each other quite a bit. Both stand at 7'0 and finished their final college years as second team All-Americans. Cody averaged 16.5 points, eight rebounds and 1.3 blocks a game last year -- finishing his career with the highest PER in the Big Ten at 30.6 -- while Tyler averaged 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds a game his senior year -- good for the career-high PER in the ACC. Luke was waived by the Suns mid-season and, of the three brothers, he has had the least distinctive post-high school career, though in any other family, he's still had a successful basketball career.

If Luke finds a home in the NBA again next season, the Zellers will be just the third trio of siblings to play in the league at the same time and the first since the Barry brothers as Jon, Brent and Drew Barry all played in the league from 1998-2000.

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