(NEW YORK) — Hoosier fans can breathe easy as Cody Zeller and Christian Watford, two players instrumental in the team’s 27-9 season, will both return to school next season and not enter the NBA Draft.
Zeller averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game as a freshman. He finished fourth in the nation in field goal percentage (62.4), and earned Big Ten co-Freshman of the Year and honorable mention AP All-American honors. His stellar play helped Indiana reach their first Sweet 16 since 2002.
According to ESPN, had Zeller decided to come out this year, he would likely have been a top-ten pick in the draft. His brother Tyler Zeller of North Carolina is also considered a likely top-ten pick.
“I grew up hoping one day I would get the opportunity to play in the NBA, but at this point, I’m not ready for my college experience to be over,” Zeller said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Watford averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He also made 43.7% of his three-pointers. According to ESPN, Watford was wise to stay in school because he likely would not have been a first-round pick.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire