This is old news for anyone who follows recruiting religiously, and even old news for me, but highly coveted big man Tyler Zeller of Washington, Indiana (brother of Notre Dame's Luke Zeller) has decided that he will choose his college from a final four of Indiana, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Purdue. As I have said, ultimately I root for whoever ends up on the team and don't have the patience or interest to follow the fortunes of 50 different kids as they narrow their lists, but certain high profile recruits draw my attention. Landing Zeller would serve a variety of purposes. Foremost, he's a skilled big man. Second, according to conventional wisdom, IU has come from way, way behind in this race. My impression from those more in the know than I is that a month ago, it seemed impossible that IU would make Zeller's list of finalists. Gaining a commitment from Zeller would be a victory over one of the country's best recruiters and most prominent programs (UNC), and a victory over Purdue, of course, where Matt Painter landed four top 100 Indiana kids last year.
IU should go wherever necessary to get top shelf talent. I would rather win the NCAA tournament with 12 kids from other states than finish second with 12 kids from Indiana. Nevertheless, when Indiana produces top-tier talent IU should make it a priority. Sampson's ability to make up ground in the Zeller recruitment is yet another reason for optimism.