Sunday, March 7, 2010

What Does Crean Want in a Recruit, Part I

With all the recruiting speculation about Will Yeguette making an official visit to IU this weekend and Moses Abraham passing on his because of the flu, it’s important to understand what coach Tom Crean wants in a recruit.

Of course he wants guys skillful enough to thrive at the Big Ten level. And they’d better be focused on academics and doing things the right way. But in so many ways, it’s the intangibles that will most determine a player’s success.

For instance, Crean has talked about wanting recruits who have had adversity in their lives, who have had to overcome tough times because that will steel them for the challenges that await at the major college level.

“There are so many things that go into recruiting,” Crean said, “but basketball temperament, toughness, speed. We’ve got to keep finding those things.”

Crean wants players who are winners, who come from winning high school and club programs, who have developed the habits necessary for high level success. That’s why a recruit such as small forward Will Sheehey, whose team lost in the Florida state semifinals, is important.

“I got texts at midnight about his energy and how hard he’s playing,” Crean said. “That’s the stuff we have to have. The guys we bring in here have to have it in them.”

So while recruiting rankings mean something, and impressive stats have their place, it’s what you can’t see -– the drive and heart and competitiveness -– that will make all the difference.

Against Northwestern, for the first time in a month and a half, IU showed those characteristics. Specifically, the freshmen did, which bodes well for the program’s future if it can be sustained. It might even bode well on Thursday, when the Hoosiers face Northwestern in the opening round of the Big Ten tourney.

Amazing, isn’t it, how much one victory can change the mood surrounding a rebuilding program.

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