With all that the NBA has to offer for young potential basketball stars, many college athletes choose to cut their careers short to enter the NBA Draft. Tonight, with the 2016 NBA Draft getting underway, will be no exception.
The top two projected picks — Ben Simmons of LSU and Brandon Ingram of Duke — are 19 and 18 years old, respectively.
Although he was a bit older (20) when he was selected fourth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2013 NBA Draft, Cody Zeller can relate with these young stars. What Simmons and Ingram don’t yet know (but Zeller does), however, is how big of a life transition it is to enter the NBA. In a flash, these young men are in a new city with a new lifestyle and new responsibilities.
Back in 2014, amid Zeller’s transition into the NBA, the Bobcats had revitalized their franchise — more than doubling their wins from 2013 (21 to 43). While the Bobcats were multiplying their win totals, three newly acquired Charlotte players — Zeller, Luke Ridnour and Anthony Tolliver — experienced multiplication in a different, heavenly realm.
“I think it’s uncommon to have as many believers as we have on the team,” Zeller says. “That’s definitely made it a lot easier. On other teams, I might have to look elsewhere for close friends or guidance on different things. We have a great group of guys, and that has made the transition a lot easier on me.”
To read the full cover story from our April 2014 DigiMag, click HERE. The Bobcats — now the Charlotte Hornets — returned to the NBA playoffs in 2016 but lost to the Miami Heat in seven games in the first round. Zeller remains on the team, although Tolliver and Ridnour do not.