Thursday, April 15, 2010

IU Basketball Recruiting is Quiet, But Busy

On a day when Kentucky dominated the basketball recruiting news -– how much top talent can John Calipari keep getting? –- it was all quiet on the Indiana front.

That doesn’t mean coach Tom Crean wasn’t busy. He’s pushing on all fronts to land some impact players, specifically inside players, who can help next season.

Still, you see Gatorade national player of the year Brandon Knight sign with Kentucky on the first day of the signing period, followed by junior guard Michael Gilchrist committing to the Wildcats (yes, that means Calipari has the No. 1 player in both the Class of 2010 and 2011), and wonder, why can’t Crean get some of these guys?

The only answer to give is that Crean is trying.

Of course, there is that old Yoda quote that says, in a bad paraphrase, there is no try, there is only do or do not.

The Hoosiers do have guard Will Sheehey, rated at No. 131 by, and Victor Oladipo, who’s at No. 133.

They do not have a dominant big guy. They are in the hunt for junior college forward Dwight McCombs. He is 6-8 and 240 pounds. He is coming off a monster season for Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois where he averaged 22.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 5.1 blocks.

He’d spent a year at Miami of Ohio before that and barely played (0.8 points, 1.3 rebounds). He has two more official visits to make. He told Mike Pegram of and Inside Indiana that he would use one visit to go to Arizona State. The other is between Auburn and IU.

The Hoosiers also are recruiting 6-9 South Dakota forward Cody Larson, who had signed with Iowa, but was released after Todd Lickliter was fired and former Siena coach Fran McCaffery took over.

In the meantime the national buzz focused on Kentucky. Calipari also is getting studs Enes Kanter and Stacey Poole for the Class of 2010. He’s also in the hunt for elite Class of 2010 recruits Josh Selby, Marcus Thornton, Terrence Ross, Terrence Jones and C.J. Leslie.

Who cares if you lose five key players to the NBA draft if you keep getting this kind of talent?

Also on the recruiting front, Ray McCallum will play for his dad, the former IU assistant coach, at Detroit. Trey Zeigler, the nation’s No. 26 player according to, will play for his father at Central Michigan.

Yes, if you’re thinking this way, Crean has a son, but he’s like 11 years old, so it would be a while.


  1. One has to wonder what a school like Kentucky "offers" to these kids to get them to come to Kentucky. Brandon Knight spoke of Calipari's "ability" to "develope" point guards. One year of tuteledge under even the best coach is hardly developing anything. He has yet to get any championships. Indiana now has one of the best practice facilities anywhere and a fan base second to none but has to "beg" players to come here and play. It just makes me wonder.

  2. I'd rather have a coach go about recruiting the RIGHT way than the Calipari $$$$ way, any day.

  3. Why would you even ask how Calipari keeps getting these players?,when Calipari tells these kids that they don't have to go to class and all they gotta do is show up and play why wouldn't these 1 and done players go there?,Calipari is a cancer in college B-Ball and it gets worse every year!.How many schools is he gonna go to and leave when the NCAA hounds come barking?

  4. All I know is, I turned on the ESPN show last night and I must admit that I was frustrated to see all these top rated players going to other schools. IU wasnt even listed for these players as a possible destination. What the heck is Crean doing? Why arent we getting into seeing these players? He took the job here because its Indiana right? So why is he putting all his effort into recruiting 3 star players?
    I have always liked Crean and respect that he would take over this mess that he was handed. But going after "nice" players is not what we need here. IU was the leader for Kyrie Irving, and something happened there to be dropped off completely. I really didnt expect him to get Josh Selby as he got in late and there was alot of top competition there. Moses Abraham wasnt going to come here and reading all the blog entries was a joke thinking he would. For whatever reason, all we can get now are average players. All Calipari has to do is make the phone call and boom, he has the #1 recruiting class in the country.
    I am an IU grad, life long IU fan, and now Crean has us fighting head to head with Purdue and Butler for talent. We should NEVER have to compete with them for players. If Im a HS player, Im going to Butler! IU is going nowhere.

  5. Crean just seems to me like he is a day late and a dollar short. He seems to be getting in the game on good recruits very late. I know Crean is working hard but that is expected in this job. I was concerned from the beginning that he was just concerned with putting bodies into jerseys. Lets face it, if you can get the top 3 HS players from Indiana every year you are going to be in good shape. Thats what IU used to do and there is no reason why it cant be that way again. I looked at the Indiana All Star list today in the Indy Star and there are ZERO players committed to Indiana. I cant recall the last time that happened. Crean has to make Indiana his turf. Make it difficult for schools from other states to come in here and recruit. So now we've got a bad basketball team to go along with our pathetic football program. But unlike alot of IU fans, I will remain loyal and pay my alumni donations every year. I'll just have to bite my lip when I watch IU get pounded on by the likes of Ole Miss, Boston U, and Loyola-MD.
    I also saw that Marquette signed the JUCO player of the year. Nice job Crean.

  6. like i said along time ago, kik daka. to the curb bring in ray to coach indiana. we would still be good today if ray was coaching us. his style will get him a big time job and we will watch them suceed while we still can't make a tourney'unless they goto 96 teams' is the only way we'll make one. keep recruiting outside indiana, so we can get called the loosiers a lil more, nice job.

  7. the above comment sounds like it was written by a 12 year old...

  8. Bottom line is its going to take a good season and return to the ncaa tourney for Iu to have a shot at any of these top recruits. I am a die hard Iu fan and an Iu grad, but i wouldnt even consider going to play basketball there right now.

  9. It maybe the lack of a backbone these kids have they want it on a platter.Indiana is a place that needs people that have a passion for the game not just a paycheck !!Nobody wants to work for it even in this state besides rmk did not get all the top players haha and was a winner always

  10. The reason why elite recruits continue to want to play for Calipari is very easy. Derrick Rose, #1 pick and Rookie of the Year. Tyreke Evans, top 7 pick and will be Rookie of the Year. John Wall, will be the #1 pick and probably the Rookie of the Year. Obviously, these are all talented players and you can challenge how much Calipari actually helped them. A lot of people take shots at Calipari coaching ability but how many other coaches have taken two different programs to the FF? And probably 3 in the next few years?
    Also, a lot of shots as a NBA coach but he did take the Nets to the playoffs only to get bounced by that not good overrated Bulls and MJ teams (I jest). But the proof is in the pudding.

    These 17 year olds make the best decision for themselves and their families. It's not to make you or me happy. Period. If my son was a top 5 recruit, there's really only 2-3 coaches that I would want him to play for. See how I mentioned coaches and not programs. If I want my kid never to get any better and to be a whiney little baby, Duke it is. To be a baller in the Association, it's Roy Williams, it's Calipari -- regardless of what you think about him.

  11. Purdue and Butler will rule the state as long as they keep winning like they do. The only way IU got the best talent in the state was because Bobby never had a season worse than five games over 500. These recruits can no more remember IU's national titles than they can Michigan's. We will be in the cellar for many years.

  12. Steve Alfred belongs coaching Indiana. I said it all along, now will people believe me

  13. Assuming you try to run a program the right way (ie: make the players go to class and achieve decent grades, while not skirting NCAA rules), how much of an uphill battle do you think that is? For Calipari and other coaches like him, the recruiting sell is not focused on building a relationship with a kid & his family that promises to develop their son over the next 3-4 years.

    Since Crean is determined to do things the right way, and I support him in his effort, it takes a long time to get in with these kids and build relationships...we'll probably see the fruits of his labors with the 2011 Class. Complain about quick fixes all you want, it's not going to happen in 2 years. I'm just as impatient for wins as the next person, but this is the honorable price we pay trying to rebuild and run a clean program.

  14. Two things are making it difficult for IU to get the top players. First, if a kid is one of the top rated players in the country he no doubt has been dreaming about playing in the NBA for quite a while and making obnoxious money. So college life and being an integral part of rebuilding a once great program means nothing to him. He has an obligation to play one year in college and will want to play with a team that has a chance to play for a championship and also draw more attention to himself. Secondly, and a great point that someone offered recently, these kids don't know anything about the great IU basketball tradition. The last time we celebrated a championship was 23 years ago. We have lost an entire generation of basketball players. It will be very difficult to approach what we were used to. Can the new practice facilities help? How the un paralleled beauty of the Bloomington campus? I sure don't have the answer. But it is vital to get the Hoosier kids to stay home. Perhaps our high schools introducing a new subject would help - History of Indiana University Basketball. (tongue in cheek of course).

  15. you guys are dreaming. put away your self-righteous "indiana is the best basketball school in the world and should not have to compete with anyone for talent" thoughts because, you know what? how long has it been since IU has actually done something in basketball? 15 years? 20 years? these kids weren't even born yet when indiana was in its heydey.

    yes yes, you are iu alum, lifelong fan, but that doesn't mean iu has the same recruiting power that it used to. Crean wants to RESTORE that. IU's fall from the top of college basketball didnt happen overnight, neither will getting back there.

    relax. times have changed. get used to it. it'll be a few years till we can rejoice again.

  16. Say what you will about Calipari, but Brandon Knight is a straight A student at a very competitive education-first prep school. (I am an alumni). He does not need the money and is a great student. Knight wants to win championships and play in the NBA. Kentucky affords him that chance. I have no love lost for Calipari but most of you have it wrong regarding Knight's recruitment

  17. Hey anonymous, IU did go to national championship game in 2002 or eight years ago.

  18. It is not only IU but the Big Ten that has trouble recruiting. Just look at reccruiting around the league. Illinois only has Northwestern to compete with, for Ohio State there is only Cincinnatti and Xavier. In Michigan there are two Big Ten schools. These states have twice the population of Indiana yet IU has Purdue, Notre Dame and the rest of the country recruiting our best players. There have been a number of players that are from Indiana playing in the NBA but only Eric Gordon went to IU.

  19. Unfortunately, as much as I hate to say it, IU Basketball is a has-been program. The factors that caused this are many and complicated, but all revolve around the incompetence of the athletic department, in my opinion. First, when IU fired Knight, it did not have a succession plan in place due to its apparent complacency that he would simply be there for at least 10-15 more years before they had to worry about that.

    Second, the ath. dept. allowed children, i.e. the players on the roster at Knight's firing, to run the program and make selfish and childish demands in Davis's hiring process, akin to "I'll take my ball and go home" nonsense. Most of us grew out of this when we were 7, but the ath. dept. seems to have thought it was an effective strategy.

    Third, the ath. dept. overreacted to Davis's initial success in extending his contract when he whined like a baby about not getting enough money. Well, most salaries are commensurate with experience. And Davis had as much head coaching experience as I did - zero - when he took the job. Most people reading this post probably had more when Davis was hired. Thus, we should not have been surprised at the steep and steady decline the program took when Davis started coaching his own players.

    Fourth - K. Sampson. The Sampson idiocracy reminds me of the people who eat 3 meals a day at McDonald's and sue them later because they got fat. I think it was Dennis Miller who observed that (and I'm paraphrasing) if you take food, dip it in fat, fry it in fat, cover it in fat, and then eat it, you might get fat. So, since Kelvin cheated at Oklahoma, essentially left OK because he knew he was cheating but never stopped cheating, was it a big surprise he kept cheating, thereby knocking another brick from the wall of prestige in the hoops program in B'ton?

    Fifth, out-of-state recruits don't remember or care that IU was runner-up in '02, yet out-of-state recruits are seemingly what Crean cares about the most. IU's best teams have traditionally been those composed mostly of Indiana high school players that actually want to play for IU. Jordan Hulls is the prototype for that sort of thing. I'm not saying to not go after the best from around the country if we have a chance to get them. But, we would probably be better off in the short run at least if we re-established the program by putting higher priorities on good players from the state, e.g. the Plumlees, Zellers, Teagues, Courtney Lee, George Hill, Eric Gordon (well, at least we were his 2nd choice), all the players that now go to Butler and Purdue, etc.

    I guess it boils down to the fact that why would any player want to go to a school with a storied history that all occurred before those players were born. Further, why would they want to play at a that once-stable institution where they might have to play for three or more head coaches in their time on campus where the threat of NCAA sanctions has become as real as anywhere else?

    I would just like to thank all of the A.D.'s and IU presidents during the last ten years - almost too numerous too count - that have turned one of the best programs in history into a program like U. of San Francisco, Holy Cross, or Wyoming. Well, at least those teams have also won NCAA championships, right Boiler fans?

  20. All respect to Tom Crean. But its time to go coach.I think its time IU get one of its own. Steve Alfred is the man for the job. I think Steve can bring the states best players back to the school and win championships again.