Former Notre Dame forward Luke Zeller has been down the professional basketball road before.
Now he – and his brothers Tyler and Cody – are sharing their travels, with each other and with kids across the Midwest.
When they aren’t too busy playing for NBA teams, anyway.
I feel like I’ve had a lot of great opportunities with basketball, said Luke, the eldest Zeller brother, Tuesday at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, where he and the staff at DistinXion put on the first of a three-day basketball camp. Tyler flew to Vegas yesterday for summer league, and Cody’s in Charlotte. He had two-a-days yesterday and today. They were at camp right before they got with their teams, and they come whenever their teams let them.
DistinXion is a nonprofit organization that Luke and his family put together in 2009. In its first year, DistinXion drew 30 children to one camp.
Since then, it has grown significantly. Luke Zeller expects about 1,500 participants between 15 to 17 camps this summer.
He’s had a couple special guest appearances, too, courtesy of North Carolina alum Tyler and former Indiana Hoosier Cody.
Cody, the youngest brother, was drafted No. 4 by Charlotte in the 2013 NBA draft. But between individual workouts with several other NBA teams, he stopped at a June 21 camp in Washington, Ind.
He had a day off in-between, Luke said. He could have went home and he could have relaxed. He could have went on to the next city. He could have done a lot of things. And he told them I want to go and work DistinXion camp for a day.
All three are at different points in their professional basketball careers.
Cody’s has just begun – he will attempt to turn the second-worst team in the NBA into a winning franchise in the next couple of years. Tyler is in his second year with Cleveland. And Luke played a bit for Phoenix last season.
Along the way, each has learned lessons from the others.
We try to help each other out, but at the same time, we’re competitive as can be, Luke said.
Like it was during a wedding.
Luke was at a reception when Cody and Tyler were in town for the Washington camp. He got a text from the two, finished up at the reception and changed in the bathroom.
He got to the gym to meet his brothers and a friend around 11:30 p.m. They didn’t stop playing until 1:30 a.m.
We’ll play for a little while one way, and then we’ll switch it up, Luke said. One game will be all jumpers. We try to work on a lot of different things.
Who wins those matchups remains a mystery.
Those games in the gym, they stay in the gym, Luke said. We’re going to stick with that one.