Zeisloft finding a role with Hoosiers

SAINT-LAMBERT, Quebec — While the rest of Bloomington rose out of bed on Thursday morning, Nick Zeisloft and Robert Johnson walked into the Indiana basketball facilities for an early-morning workout.

They got started at 6:45 a.m., a little more than two hours before the Hoosiers were set to climb onto an airplane and depart for Canada.

For Zeisloft, especially, it was another opportunity to make a good first impression.

Doing so is of paramount importance for the Illinois State transfer, who came to Indiana to fill a void in veteran leadership and add a touch of scoring ability. Although he’s only been with the program for a few weeks, Zeisloft is aiming to make that early impact and be a leader for a young Hoosier squad by the time the season rolls around this fall.

“He’s feeling his way,” IU coach Tom Crean said Sunday. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 21, 22, 42, 52 — you walk into a new environment, it’s gonna be different. We have high expectations for Nick. Extremely high expectations. We started studying his film when this became a possibility and we felt there was a lot on the table left for him. We’re gonna keep pushing him and I think he wants it. He’s an extremely hard worker.”

Zeisloft, a 6-foot-4 guard, will be immediately eligible for the Hoosiers this fall after earning his degree in finance after only three years at Illinois State. Zeisloft played two seasons for the Redbirds, redshirting his freshman year. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

That gives Indiana long term options with Zeisloft, a 37-percent career shooter from 3-point range.

Zeisloft finished with six points Sunday, shooting 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

“He helps immensely because there’s a long term plan for him,” Crean said. “He can make shots. He shot 42 percent from 3 and 90 percent from the line (last season). Problem is, he didn’t get enough attempts at either. That’s a new day now. Whatever he did at Illinois State he did and he did well. He was the team captain. That’s a leader. He’ll be a real factor for us and I have no doubt about that.”