By Associated Press
The Associated Press
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Bobcats selected Indiana center Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft.
Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said earlier in the week the team needed a big man and the 7-foot, 240-pound Zeller should provide some needed help in the low post and on the boards.
The Bobcats finished last in the league in defensive rebound percentage last season.
Zeller averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blockers per game as a sophomore for the Hoosiers last season. He finished as Indiana's career record holder in field goal percentage, shooting 59.1 percent from the floor.
It marked the first time ever two Hoosiers were selected in the top four picks in the NBA draft; Victor Oladipo was selected second overall by Orlando.
"I was just kidding my agent because he didn't bail me out," Zeller said. "He didn't tell me. I didn't know until David Stern announced it. It's a crazy process not knowing, but I'm definitely excited that I ended up with the Bobcats."
The Bobcats chose Zeller over two other available centers - Kentucky's Nerlens Noel and Maryland's Alex Len - as well as guard Ben McLemore from Kansas with the fourth selection. The Bobcats might have shied away from Noel and Len because of injury concerns.
Zeller was the only of the top seven picks to work out for Charlotte prior to the draft.
The Bobcats have struggled to find a post player for years and missed out last year on drafting center Anthony Davis when New Orleans won the No. 1 pick in the NBA lottery.
Byron Mullens and Brendan Heywood split time as the team's starting center early last year, but second-year pro Bismack Biyombo also saw action.
Zeller is considered a solid post player who runs the floor well but he might not be as athletic as the other centers the Bobcats passed over.
The pick wasn't received well by Bobcats fans gathered for a draft night party at the team's arena. A loud chorus of boos erupted after the selection was announced with some throwing hats and others raising their arms in disbelief.
Zeller started 72 games during his career at Indiana.
A first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Zeller ranked fourth in the conference and helped Indiana to a No. 1 ranking in the country during the latter portion of the season. He ranked in the top five in the conference in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
As a freshman, Zeller averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds with 1.2 blocks per game.
Zeller comes from a basketball family. His older brother Tyler plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers after playing at North Carolina. Another brother Luke played a portion of last season with the Phoenix Suns after a career at Notre Dame. The boys' uncle, Al Eberhard, spent four seasons with the Detroit Pistons.
The Bobcats are trying to build a winner after reaching the playoffs only once in their first nine seasons.
Charlotte is 28-120 over the past two years, by far the worst record in the league. The Bobcats have never won a playoff game.