When word broke that Nick Zeisloft was transferring to Indiana from mid-major Illinois State, I’ll admit it, I didn’t give it much thought. In his last season as a Redbird, Zeisloft averaged 6.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Not very impressive considering the competition he faced. His career shooting percentage of 40.8 didn’t wow either. But, when I took a closer look, I saw something quite intriguing — his ability to shoot from distance.
In two years at Illinois State, Zeisloft made 38.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. That’s a number you can’t help but notice. Also, unlike most of IU’s roster, Zeisloft, being a junior, has experience. These two factors would leave you to believe that Crean would at the very least, give him some playing time to show what he could do.
Zeisloft did see the court, even starting twice, during the team’s recent set of games in Canada and made the most of his opportunity. The sharpshooter averaged 8.8 points per game, most notably draining 11 threes out of 20 attempts (55 percent).
Got your attention yet? Teammate James Blackmon Jr. is certainly noticed Zeisloft’s play.
“He’s definitely a big contributor to our team, Blackmon Jr. said. “We definitely need him.”
I agree with Blackmon Jr. In Tom Crean’s fast-paced, uptempo offense, he could be a dangerous weapon. Remember how effective three-point wizards Matt Roth and Christian Watford were? When IU pushes the pace, Zeisloft can spot up on the wings off the fast break and get plenty of great looks from deep.
When the Hoosiers run their half-court offense, he will spread the floor, creating space for players such as Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams to attack the basket. If the double-team comes, an open Zeisloft can make defenders regret leaving him.
The big question is: How much will Zeisloft play going forward? Obviously, until the regular season begins, we won’t know for sure, but seeing how he showed he clearly fits into IU’s scheme, expect him to be a fixture in the lineup. I don’t see Crean starting Zeisloft, instead using him as the first or second man off the bench. His ability to drain threes makes him the perfect offensive spark plug, something IU needs off its bench.
So, put Zeisloft on your radar, Indiana faithful. This new Hoosier deserves your attention.