By Lindsay Owens
Washington Times Herald
WASHINGTON — Residents of Washington came out in full force to watch where local basketball standout and former Indiana Hoosier Cody Zeller was selected in the NBA Draft.
About 40 people gathered at Jimbo’s Pizza and Wings in Washington and another 40 watched from Mulligan’s. Several residents weighed in prior to Zeller being selected as the number four pick by the Charlotte Bobcats. A few locals had hoped Zeller would be picked by Charlotte.
“I’m thinking Charlotte will probably take him but I’m really hoping he’ll go to the Thunder,” said Maddie Deem while dining with family and friends at Jimbo’s.
Austin and Darrell Deem were hoping that Zeller would go in the top 10 and be picked up by Minnesota or Portland.
“I wish him the best of luck and I’m hoping he goes to Portland or Sacramento,” Morgan Jarrett said. “Hopefully his education doesn’t hurt him,” she added with a grin. “I’m a Purdue fan.”
“Sacramento. According to my dad, they don’t have any big guys,” said Lauren Osmon.
David and Angie Russell had front row seats at Jimbo’s to watch the draft. The two had hoped Zeller would be the number two pick but instead that spot went to Zeller’s former teammate Victor Oladipo who was selected by the Orlando Magic. “We’re just hoping that he stays in the East. We’d like to see him play against Tyler,” the Russells said.
The crowd at Mulligan’s went wild when Zeller was selected. Many patrons said they were glad Zeller had been selected higher in the draft than many predicted.
“I think it’s just amazing. I think he went so much higher in the draft because of his workouts with the team. Those workouts showed what a great player he is,” said Alan Bubalo, the former coach of Cody’s brother, Luke. “His family is a great ambassador for basketball, Indiana and they show great Christian values. They are a great family.”
Jeff McDonald, a long-time fan of the Hoosiers and the Zeller trio echoed Bubalo’s sentiments about the Zeller family. “I’m so happy for Cody. They all do such a great job of representing Washington and this area. I’m really glad both Cody and Victor were picked in the top five.”
Mayor Joe Wellman was also in attendance at Mulligan’s. “I’m very proud of him and Charlotte really isn’t all that far away,” said Wellman.
While most of the people in attendance at both Mulligan’s and Jimbo’s were adults, a few students were also on hand to watch the draft.
A group of Washington High School freshman, who have grown up idolizing the Zeller name, watched at Mulligan’s. The three boys, all who play basketball, said they have always been big fans of the Zellers and they have considered them an inspiration.