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TYLER ZELLER 2008

Zeller is tops in state

Washington star ‘Player of Year’

By Drew Bruno (Contact)
Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tyler Zeller

WASHINGTON, Ind. — With his focus squarely on preparation for Saturday’s Class 3A state championship game, Tyler Zeller probably figured coach Gene Miiller wanted to talk about that when he pulled him aside on Wednesday morning.

Miiller didn’t, but as far as distractions go this must have been a welcome one: Miiller informed Zeller he had been named Gatorade’s Indiana Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. “It’s a great honor,” said Zeller, a 7-foot senior for the Hatchets. “It shows that I’ve accomplished something (from) trying to work everyday to get better and it’s kind of nice to get awards every once in awhile.”

The award, which has been presented for more than 30 years, recognizes “athletic excellence”, “high standards of academic achievement” and “exemplary character” according to a release. Jrue Holiday of California was named the national player of the year.

Zeller’s 32.7 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game have helped lead Washington to Saturday’s Class 3A title game with Fort Wayne Harding in Indianapolis.

In recent years the Gatorade award has been a precursor to another award to be named in the coming weeks; Indiana’s past two winners, Greg Oden and Eric Gordon went on to win Mr. Basketball. Zeller’s brother, Luke, won Mr. Basketball in 2005.

A North Carolina signee, Zeller also volunteers his time in and around Washington, is active in the Good Shepard Lutheran church and has a 3.96 grade point average.

“He’s really a coach’s dream,” Miiller said. “He’s a good leader, he works hard, got good character … it’s a great honor for a great young man, for his family and for our basketball program.”

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