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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UNC C Tyler Zeller

06.16.12 at 4:38 pm ET

As part of’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.


Position: Center

School: North Carolina

Age: 22

Height: 7 feet

Weight: 250 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America second team (AP, Sporting News, NABC, USBWA), 2012 ACC Player of the Year, 2012 Academic All-American, 2011 All-ACC second team, 2011 Academic All-American

Key 2011-12 stats: 16.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 55.3 FG%, 28.2 minutes

What he brings: Zeller fits the mold of an NBA center and along with his size he has shown solid athleticism and an ability to run the court smoothly. He has shown to have an effective low-post game offensively and has a strong right-handed jump hook that is his go-to move.  Zeller has the speed and leaping ability to be a great pick-and-roll big man. He has also shown to be a good rebounder and solid shot-blocker.

Despite fitting the NBA center mold he isn’t strong enough to translate that size into success yet. He is too easily pushed around down low at times on both sides of the ball. His awareness both offensively and defensively isn’t the greatest. Zeller also is prone to turnovers.

Zeller would be a good fit in a fast-paced offense because of his speed and athleticism. However, in halfcourt sets he bogs down an offense. He needs to increase his offensive awareness as well as add strength.

Where the Celtics could get him: Zeller is considered to be a mid-to-low-end lottery pick, so the Celtics would need to trade up to get him.

Notes: Zeller’s brother, 6-foot-11 Cody Zeller, had an impressive freshman season at Indiana in 2011-12. Another brother, Luke Zeller, played at Notre Dame and now plays in the NBA’s D-League. … Zeller broke his left arm early in his freshman season but returned late in the season to help North Carolina win the 2009 national championship.

Recent articles:

USA Today: Tyler, Cody Zeller carry on basketball family tradition

Charlotte News & Observer: UNC’s Tyler Zeller takes tough loss with faith

New Orleans Times Picayune: Hornets take a good look at draft prospect Tyler Zeller

Video: Here’s a compilation of highlights from Zeller’s senior season.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Tyler Zeller,
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