CHAPEL HILL – When UNC coach Roy Williams was recruiting Tyler Zeller, he told the 7-footer that becoming a first-team Academic All America should be one of his goals.
Today, he met it. Carolina’s leading scorer was named to the team – along with Butler’s Matt Howard, Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis, Northern Colorado’s Devon Beitzel and Kansas’s Tyrell Reed – by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
“I’m very proud of him, he’s very happy about it,’’ Williams said. “He said, ‘That just shows I’m a big nerd.’
“…He’s so good on the court, in addition to in the classroom, you can’t just put him in a little pigeonhole and say he fits because he is so versatile at what he does.”
Zeller is the eighth Tar Heel to earn first-team Academic All-America honors and the first since Eric Montross in 1994.
Other Tar Heels to win first-team Academic All-Americahonors include Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham in 1965, Charles Scott in 1970, Steve Previs and Dennis Wuycik in 1972, Tommy LaGarde in 1976, Steve Hale in 1986 and Montross in 1994.