Okay, so Indiana coach Tom Crean is not locking up the cream of the spring basketball recruiting crop, or anybody for that matter.
Does that mean he’s conceded the spring? Is it disaster for the program?
Are you nuts?
The latest word is that junior college forward Dwight McCombs is headed to Central Florida (he’s the fourth big man to pass on the Hoosiers, the others were forwards Moses Abraham, Will Yeguete and Cody Larson) just as a 6-10 Minnesota prep standout, Kevin Noreen, is back in the recruiting mix after saying goodbye to Boston College in the wake of its coaching change.
Noreen averaged 37 points and 16 rebounds as a senior and is the state’s all-time leading scorer.
Minnesota is interested. So is Northwestern (a source told Peegs.com the Wildcats are a slight favorite and that Noreen is set to visit IU in the next week). So are a bunch of power-conference teams.
The Hoosiers still need a quality big guy and while Noreen is not nationally ranked by Rivals.com, the potential apparently is there.
Other Class of 2010 possibilities are guard Walter Offutt (previously at Ohio State and Wright State), 6-9 junior college forward John Wilkins and 6-7 forward Emmanuel Negedu (expected to transfer from Tennessee).
In the end, it’s all about improving the program, which is the No. 1 objective.
“We want to make sure we’re recruiting diligent,” Crean said. “We’re recruiting for this class (Class of 2010) because we want to finish this one strong.
“At the same time, we continue to understand that we cannot get away from recruiting the young kids in this state and throughout the country.”
Those in-state kids in the class of 2011 include already committed Austin Etherington (just because he’s given his word doesn’t mean you stop recruiting him), plus Cody Zeller, Marshall Plumlee and Jeremiah Davis. Then there are such 2012 prospects as D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Kenny Kaminski, Peter Jurkin and Hanner Para.
Yes, these guys all play for the Indiana Elite AAU programs, which are coached by Mark Adams, who is the father of Drew Adams, who was just promoted to director of basketball operations and video coordinator. Drew was an assistant coach for Indiana Elite before joining IU last year.
Crean is no fool. He understands the importance of relationships in recruiting and while hiring Adams guarantees nothing in terms of signing players, it certainly doesn’t hurt.
But that’s a blog for another day.
In the meantime, the returning Hoosiers are busting their rumps to prepare for next season and try to end their two-year losing streak. They’re lifting weights and enduring individual workout sessions designed to steel them for future challenges.
“We’ve seen growth in everybody,” Crean said. “That’s what this spring is all about. We try to make it as intense…
“I think the main thing for them is don’t let the workout beat you. We’re trying to make the workouts harder all the time. You want to beat the workout.
“There will be 25 percent of the (recruits) who read that will say, ‘We don’t want to do that.’ Well, good! Let’s weed it out. You have to have a serious mindset to win at this level. That’s what we want.”
In other words, Crean wants tough-minded guys, serious guys, guys who can make instant impacts and help blast away all this losing misery. Will it happen? You’d better believe it. When?
Not soon enough.
One last thing. Bloomington Herald-Times writer Dustin Dopirak got guard Matt Carlino to confirm he will graduate from Bloomington South next month after his junior year so he can enroll at UCLA for next season. Carlino, who originally committed to IU and then moved from Arizona to Bloomington, backed out of his commitment earlier in the spring. He’s set to compete for the point guard position at UCLA, although he was mostly a shooting guard at Bloomington South.