The Mikan Drill

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2011 Scouting Report: Tyler Zeller

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Our 2011 season preview continues with a brief look at Tyler Zeller. UNC is an early favorite to win the 2012 national title and Tyler Zeller hopes to culminate his collegiate career by cutting down the nets. Let’s look at some of Zeller’s strengths and an area he needs to improve on this year.



While Zeller often looks to score when he gets the ball in the post, he looks to pass the ball just as often. He is patient with the ball and does not get flustered and rushed into a decision. Zeller surveys the floor, finds the open man and delivers a pass to the shooters’s ‘pocket’ that allows his teammate to catch and shoot.

Zeller shows he is comfortable passing in a variety of situations. He passes to John Henson along the baseline when Marquette does not double team strongly enough, he beats the zone by pivoting and hitting the open player on the opposite side of the zone and passes to the top of the key with his back to the basket. Zeller lets the offense move off him when he is holding the ball in the post and he waits for someone to get open so he doesn’t force the ball for either a poor pass or a bad shot. His vision is superb and he can exploit the defense any time they choose to send an extra man toward him.

Running the floor

Zeller loves to run rim to rim in Carolina’s secondary break. These easy baskets he gets are a big reason why he shot 54.7% from the field last season. His long strides and relentless energy allow him to beat defenders down the floor. Kendall Marshall does a great job of rewarding him when he runs, which will only encourage him to run more.

On the two made baskets at the start of the video, Zeller immediately sprints for the opposite rim as soon as the ball hits the net. North Carolina gets the ball out quickly and Marshall first looks down the floor to see if Zeller is open. Thanks to his quick run out and quickness, he often beats the other team down the court and he is given the easy finish at the rim.

Zeller’s energy is also an asset on turnovers, as he is able to leak out on turnovers to fill the middle of the floor. His ability to quickly get down the floor combined with his talent to finish at the rim makes him a dangerous player in transition.

Area of improvement

Giving up offensive rebounds

Zeller is not a poor rebounder, as he obtained a 15.3% and 15.8% defensive rebounding percentage in his junior and sophomore year, respectively. These are average numbers for a big man, especially when you consider he plays alongside a great rebounder in John Henson. Zeller does have the tendency to allow offensive rebounds, giving the opponent a second chance.

Zeller can get pushed under the basket which puts him out of position to secure the ball off the rim. Other times, he does maintain good position on his man but he will simply stand and wait for the ball to come off the rim instead of bodying his man and pushing him back or going after the ball. Zeller needs to be more physical on the defensive glass and push his man away from the rim to create space for himself to grab the loose ball once it comes off the rim.


Written by Joshua Riddell

October 31, 2011 at 3:14 am

One Response

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  1. […] second scouting report of a Tar Heel (following Tyler Zeller) is point guard Kendall Marshall. Marshall grabbed the reins from Larry Drew last season and led […]

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