NORMAN — The biggest man on The Associated Press’ preseason All-America team got the most votes.
Seven-foot sophomore center Cody Zeller, the main reason Indiana is the preseason No. 1 for the first time in 33 years, was one vote shy of being a unanimous selection for the preseason All-America team.
Zeller, who averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 62.3 percent from the field, received 64 votes from the national media panel which selects the weekly Top 25.
Also on the team announced Monday were junior forwards Doug McDermott of Creighton and Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State and three guards — seniors Isaiah Canaan of Murray State and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh and sophomore Trey Burke of Michigan.
McDermott was named on 62 ballots, while Canaan was on 43 and Thomas 26. McCollum and Burke tied for the fifth spot with 16 votes each.
Zeller is one of five starters back for the Hoosiers and when a top-flight recruiting class is added in there are a lot expectations for the No. 1 team.
“I don’t know that we’ve really set any goals as a team, but obviously, we want to win a national championship,” Zeller said. “We’re not going to guarantee anything. We’re just going to play and see where it takes us.”
McDermott, who averaged 22.9 points (third in the nation) and 8.2 rebounds while shooting 60.1 percent from the field and 48.6 percent on 3s for the Bluejays last season in earning first-team All-America honors, has the added pressure of playing for his father, Greg. The relationship is the key to Creighton trying to become the latest mid-major to possibly go deep in the NCAA tournament.
“We have a lot of expectations on ourselves,” Doug McDermott said. “We know we can go far. You see Butler, VCU, teams like that that make it to the Final Four and even the national championship game. We’re not thinking that far ahead, but we know we’re capable of doing what those teams have done in the past.”