Cody Zeller doesn't sound much like a prophet. Indiana's sophomore center—the consensus preseason national player of the year—is more likely to crack a joke than issue a prediction, whether he's pranking his mom on Facebook or poking fun at his big-shot baller image. Yet when he looked at Indiana's disastrous hoops program two years ago, the seven-foot soothsayer saw a potential for wins that few others could. And because of that, he now has everyone from NBA scouts to his coach to Hoosiers fans basking in the light at the end of a very long tunnel.
It's hard to overstate how popular Zeller is in Bloomington. When he joined the program last year as a freshman, Indiana was not only considered a long shot to make it to the Big Dance, it was predicted to finish ninth in the Big Ten. Then Zeller led the Hoosiers to the Sweet 16. His fellow students were so eager to bestow a Shaq-esque nickname upon him that Zeller now answers to the Big Handsome, in person and on Twitter.
But Zeller is n...