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Indiana hopes newest transfer makes bigger impact than stats suggest

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger
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Nick Zeisloft (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Considering he grew up in Big Ten country and his father attended Indiana, it's easy to see why Illinois State transfer Nick Zeisloft would have interest in Indiana after being offered a scholarship.

What takes some closer analysis is figuring out why the Hoosiers would be interested in him.

Indiana announced Monday it has added Zeisloft to its roster even though the 6-foot-4 redshirt junior didn't exactly light up the Missouri Valley Conference in two seasons at Illinois State. Zeisloft started for the Redbirds this past season and averaged a modest 6.9 points per game while shooting 35.5 percent from behind the arc.

Why would Indiana take a player who reportedly would have chosen Atlantic 10 also-ran Duquesne had the Hoosiers not come along? The best explanation is coach Tom Crean likes that Zeisloft has graduated from Illinois State, will be eligible for Indiana immediately and can help address two of the Hoosiers' biggest weaknesses.

The redshirt junior graduated from Illinois State in just three years with a 3.71 GPA, so his leadership on and off the floor should be valuable for an Indiana team that, aside from junior point guard Yogi Ferrell, will rely heavily on freshmen and sophomores next season. Zeisloft's prowess from behind the arc also should help an Indiana team that shot a mediocre 34 percent from 3-point range last season and lost its most prolific shooters besides Ferrell in seniors Will Sheehey and Evan Gordon and freshman Noah Vonleh.

“The addition of Nick allows us to spread and space the floor even more and play with more pace,” Crean said in a school-released statement. “More importantly, we are adding a young man that has been raised well and has been well coached throughout his career. He brings a physical and mental toughness that has allowed him to play at a strong level and brings leadership and maturity to our program.”

With the return of Ferrell and the addition of a recruiting class renowned for its shooting, Indiana should be better from the perimeter than it was a year ago. Zeisloft can only aid the Hoosiers in those areas.

For more Indiana news, visit Peegs.com.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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