NBA Rooks: Diaries … Tyler Zeller

By Tyler Zeller, Cleveland Cavaliers

Happy New Year!

It’s a little belated, but Happy New Year everybody! On New Year’s Eve, our team was home in Cleveland. It was a pretty quiet night. I hung out at home and then stopped by one of my teammate’s houses with my girlfriend. I went home before midnight, and was in bed by 12:15 a.m.!

I don’t really get caught up in New Year’s resolutions. I always have been focused and have my goals to accomplish. So even though I don’t really have a resolution, I’d say my main goal this year is to continue to get better, and become more and more comfortable with the league, my teammates and my coaches. This year is a learning process, and I want to grow as much as possible as my first step in what is hopefully a long playing career.

Court Vision

It’s amazing not having to wear my facemask anymore. I didn’t realize how much I couldn’t see until I took it off. My first game back, I could see peripherally again! And making the quick shots was a lot easier. I was always messing with the mask and usually took it off during timeouts. I tried to convince myself I was fine with it, just so I could keep it out of my mind and play my game. But I once I got rid of it, playing was much easier and my game flowed more.

Things have been going well. I am getting more and more comfortable with my teammates. I have been shooting the ball well, finding those easy baskets and finding my shot. With a point guard like Kyrie Irving, he creates opportunities for me. I have a lot of unique skills, but up until I started playing a lot, I didn’t know what I needed to work on and hone in on. Now that I know what I need to improve, I can work on those things in the gym. For one, I need to get better at finishing inside.

I’ve been part of the starting lineup lately, which is a huge adjustment. You don’t realize the difference between the starters and the second string. I went from playing a couple minutes to facing off with the starters every night. I am up against the best of the best every night, and I am trying to hold my own as much as possible. I am getting more comfortable as a starter, which alleviates some of the pressure.

Mentally, I am feeling pretty good. I have my days. I’m trying to stay focused and keep going. It can be difficult, but I think I’ve done a fairly good job. It’s just that the losing can get tough. And it’s still amazing to me how talented and quick all of the players in this league are. I am constantly trying to figure out how to guard different players. It’s a lot to think about. In the beginning of the year, my head was all over the place. But it’s getting easier.

My teammates Andy Varejao and Luke Walton have done a great job of talking to me and helping me out. Shaun Livingston joined the team a couple weeks ago, and he is somebody who is very smart with a high basketball IQ. He’s the kind of teammate who can help you improve and provide some insight.

In Other News

I participated in a lot of Cavs community outreach events during the holidays, probably about three or four. We went to a children’s home, and to a children’s and veteran’s hospital. It was fun. Anytime you are around little kids, especially during Christmas, it’s always both fun and rewarding and makes me value what I have. I like to give back to the kids and hopefully help them get in better spirits.

I am watching UNC basketball whenever I can, but they are starting to scare me a little right now. I think Coach Williams is doing a great job, but the team is young. Like Coach always says, “If you do what I say, you’ll be a great team.” He told me that all the time. It’s something we all go through and you just try to learn from it. They’re not looking too hot right now, but hopefully they can turn it around.

Last time I blogged, I said I was going to start watching “NCIS.” But I actually started watching “Prison Break.” I watched all four seasons in am month. Now I’ll go back to “NCIS.” I’m also very into movies right now. I like action and thrillers … the movies that make you think, and that you have to watch two or three times to really understand.

That’s what’s going on with me these days … Follow me on twitter (@zellertyler).

Tyler Zeller is a 7-foot center from the University of North Carolina. He was the 17th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

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