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Indiana basketball look-back: Hoosiers land BIG man in 2011, if not BIG wins

Indiana's Cody Zeller (40) attempts to shoot as Kentucky's Anthony Davis (23) defends during the second half of an NCAA Tournament South Regional semifinal game earlier in their careers in Atlanta. (By The Associated Press)

Former Indiana University men’s basketball coach Tom Crean hit the extremes of recruiting with his 2011 class.

His tireless years of diligence landed him Indiana Mr. Basketball Cody Zeller, while the other two signees didn’t pan out in the end.

But landing Zeller was enough to justify whatever else came of the class.

“When I look at Cody Zeller,” Crean said upon signing the 6-foot-11 athlete, “I see a great teammate. I see a young man that has the mental toughness that is not normal. I see a young man that has endurance and a will about him that is going to pay dividends at Indiana and for many years after that.”

With New Albany High School senior star Romeo Langford announcing his college decision on April 30 and Indiana being one of three finalists for the athlete, News-Sentinel.com college basketball reporter Tom Davis is taking a daily glance back at the previous 10 Hoosier recruiting classes.

Today’s Hoosier recruiting class: 2011

Coming Wednesday: 2012

REMY ABEL

Crean got the 6-foot-3 guard out of Louisville and Abel was solid, but that is about it.

He played in 67 games over two seasons and averaged about 10 minutes per game.

He shot over 48 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore, but only averaged four points per game.

He later transferred to Xavier for his final two seasons and started 68 games in those two years, averaging about seven points per game.

CODY ZELLER

Like a number of Crean’s “home run” recruits, it was a mixed blessing. Yes, he was able to sign Zeller and win (regular season) games with him but the talented player left after two seasons.

Zeller averaged 15 points and nearly seven rebounds in his freshman season, one in which he started all 36 games.

He was a Freshman All-American and carried that ability into his second season.

He averaged 16 points and eight rebounds as a sophomore and was All-Big Ten First Team but the Hoosiers got smoked by Syracuse in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

A lineup of Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Christian Watford, Yogi Ferrell, Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey, and Abel couldn’t even make the Elite Eight, which ultimately explains why Crean eventually got fired.

AUSTIN ETHERINGTON

The Indiana All-Star committed to the Hoosiers two years before enrolling and played sparingly in his three years in Bloomington.

He saw action in 16 games as a freshman and just seven in his sophomore year after being injured.

Etherington played in 30 games as a redshirt sophomore (starting six), but could never find his shooting rhythm, which was his supposed strength.

He made just eight 3-pointers in three years and 53 games with the Hoosiers.

He graduated and played in 62 games for Butler over his final two seasons and eventually found his shooting stroke as he made 44 percent in his final year.

Etherington never averaged more than 3.7 points per game in his career.

For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010 and on Facebook at Thomas Davis.

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