Forwards Cody Zeller and Christian Watford have announced they will continue their careers with the Hoosiers next season and not enter the 2012 NBA draft.
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Both Zeller and Watford contributed to the success of the Hoosiers and their 27-9 record. Additionally, the team reached the NCAA tournament for the first time under head coach Tom Crean, making it into the Sweet 16. The team ultimately lost to the tournament champions, the Kentucky Wildcats, with a 102-90 score.
During the regular season, Watford led the Hoosiers to a win over the Wildcats with a buzzer-beater shot at Assembly Hall in December. The loss was the only loss against the Wildcats in their regular season.
Watford averaged 13.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and shot 43.7 percent from the three-point range in his career. He was also named honorable mention All-Big Ten.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to complete my degree and to continue restoring the winning tradition at IU,” said Watford, in a news release statement. “I believe in Coach Crean and our staff and I am eager to lead my new teammates and build on what we started.”
Freshman Cody Zeller, who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and an honorable mention AP All-American, averaged 15.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and shot 62.3 percent from the field, making him the fourth best in the nation.
“I grew up hoping that 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,” said Zeller. “Coach Crean and my family were very supportive and helpful as I made my decision. My college experience at IU this year has exceeded my expectations, on and off the court. I look forward to playing at Assembly Hall next year in front of the greatest fans in the country. Go Hoosiers!”
The Hoosiers finished their season 11-7 in the Big Ten and 27-9 overall. With Zeller and Watford on the team, ESPN predicted the Hoosiers to be preseason No. 1. Without them, ESPN predicted the team would be ranked lower.