Thursday, April 8, 2010

IU Basketball Hope Amidst Butler Glory

So here is forward Cody Zeller, looking to make a college choice and three questions looms over the in-state recruiting scene like Godzilla:

Can Indiana coach Tom Crean get him?

Is Purdue coach Matt Painter the forgotten wild card amidst Butler mania?

Why won’t Ohio State coach Thad Matta stay out of the state of Indiana? Raid Pennsylvania or Delaware or, say, the Buckeye state? Leave the Hoosiers alone.

Sorry. It’s just that every time Matta crosses over the border, some high-profile prep superstar seems to windup in Columbus. From Greg Oden to Mike Conley to DeShaun Thomas, Matta makes his Indiana mark, a testament to his recruiting skill and state connections from his Butler days.

Of course, nobody has made a bigger mark the last couple of weeks than Butler coach Brad Stevens. He just signed a 12-year extension for an undisclosed amount of money in the wake of the Bulldogs’ national runner-up finish. He already was making about $750,000 a year, so it’s safe to say he’s now a million-dollar-plus-a-year man. It’s also safe to say that Oregon, which contacted him three times this week, would have paid a lot more.

Stevens, just like Gonzaga’s Mark Few, values job-and-life quality over higher-profile opportunity.

Stevens may not be the charismatic recruiter that, say, John Calipari is, but he’s a strong talent evaluator who targets players who fit the Butler system and academic standards. Plus, he’s won 89 games in three seasons, the fastest start in NCAA history. In-state players looking for prime-time college opportunity are likely to give the Bulldogs more consideration.

That’s a long way of saying he has targeted Zeller and Zeller, according to the Indy Star, is impressed, although not surprised.

Zeller is one of the top players in the nation. has him at No. 35 in the Class of 2011. He’s No. 4 in the state (once again the in-state talent is impressive) behind Indianapolis Pike’s Marquis Teague (No. 2 nationally), Lawrence North’s Michael Chandler (No. 10) and Gary Wallace’s Branden Dawson (No. 16). Just about every top program in the country has offered Zeller a scholarship, including Indiana, Purdue, Butler, Notre Dame, Florida and, yes, Ohio State.

Like most top-caliber recruits, Zeller figures to cut his list to five by the end of the summer and make a decision well before the November signing period.

Purdue's Painter has thrived by recruiting in-state talent (13 of the 17 players on the roster were from Indiana this season, as are three of the four incoming recruits). The Boilers' success (four straight NCAA tourneys, two straight Sweet 16 appearances) will be hard for Zeller to ignore.

So where are the Hoosiers in all of this? Crean continues to make his pitch about being part of restoring the program to greatness. Zeller would get all the playing time his performance and effort would warrant. Plus, he’d get to play in the Big Ten and practice in IU’s brand new Cook Hall, also known the mother of all practice facilities.

While some bad-mouth Crean’s recruiting (will he ever again sign a big guy?), the fact remains he made his reputation as an outstanding recruiter. He’ll eventually get the talent to where it needs to be.

Hey, if you believe the rumors, Zeller’s older brother Tyler, now at North Carolina, might transfer to IU to give Crean the impact big guys he needs to really get the program rolling. If a transfer does happen, it likely would be within a month.

Rumor, of course, isn’t fact. But it does give Hoosier fans something huge in this month of Butler glory:



  1. So exactly where does Crean's reputation as a recruiter come from? If he truly is a "great recruiter" then why has he only won 5 NCAA tournament games in his career? Why has he wone exactly one game since D Wade left? Either he is a great recruiter that can not improve players or he is a bad recruiter. BTW Brad Stevens has won 6 NCAA games in 3 years.

  2. I sincerely HOPE that Crean can do the job, but he has to recruit better players. Creek and Verdell are not enough to vacate the Big Ten basement. Our team defense this year was atrocious, our ball handling (turnovers) was atrocious, I am beginning to wonder if Crean is the coach we thought he was or was he merely the baggage handler for Dwayne Wade? Also, is it possible to do a few less gyrations on the sidelines? Without Butler basketball, I don't think I would have watched a complete game this year, watching the Hoosiers was chinese water torture.

  3. then stop watching.
    this was the first year i truly enjoyed watching iu basketball in a long time. those kids played hard. and they're FRESHMEN. do you know the physical differences between a college freshmen and a senior? do you remember the differences in your body between the ages of 18 and 22? its a lot.
    he also recruited steve novak and travis diener; both nba players.
    i get it... brad stevens went to the final four. but brad stevens has also had a number of years to recruit kids to his system. and he inherited a good program. crean inherited shambles and a bare cupboard. as for his record before iu... he was at marquette when they went from a mid major to joining the big east. i think he knows that he has to deliver results, but you two sound like he's an idiot who doesn't know anything about college basketball.

    oh, and that one win in the ncaa's you mention? it was over kentucky. i'll take that (they also lost to the #3 seed in the second round on a buzzer beater.)

  4. Brad Stevens 2009 recruiting class was not even ranked as they were pretty much walk ons. Crean can recruit stevens under the table....

  5. Zeller is going to Butler that has been clear for 6 months. Theyll probably also end up getting Matt Carlino from some of the stuff I heard yesterday and North Central. Butler's 09 class was one guy, poster above, 3-star Indianapolis POY, Andrew Smith.

    What are you talking about?

  6. What are you talking about? It has been clear that Zeller is going to Butler? Who is your source on that? Crean has landed Austin Etherington, who plays AAU with Zeller and Davis. Etherington was a huge 2011 commit and is trying to get his AAU buddies (Zeller and Davis) to come play with him at IU, which is a big possibility. If so IU will have a top 5 recruiting class. You guys need to leave the coaching to Crean who is on his way to turning this program around. You aren't even giving him a chance! So many of you remind me of Kentucky fans, freakin drives me nuts!