So here is Austin Etherington, getting to do what so many teenagers love doing, which is chilling and doing nothing but, say, working on video game improvement.
And he hates it.
The Indiana basketball verbal commitment, Class of 2011, would much rather be battling with his Indiana Elite Team Indiana teammates, working on his game, getting in on the action.
Instead, because of a stress fracture in his lower back, he has to watch while everybody else has all the fun, although not much fun was had in Bloomington last weekend given Indiana Elite’s surprising loss in the adidas May Classic.
Etherington hurt his back a couple of weeks ago. He played through it during a tournament in Fort Wayne and thought he’d be fine in Bloomington by wearing a brace, but doctors told him if he wanted to heal faster and avoid future problems, he needed to take a break.
“They told me they don’t want me doing anything for a while,” he said. “It’s tough. I hate it. But I gotta do what I gotta do.”
Three or four weeks of rest ought to take care of the problem. The stress fracture is similar to what Purdue’s Robbie Hummel endured during his sophomore season. It caused him to miss several games and limited him for the last two months of the season.
The 6-6 Etherington averaged 20.7 points last season for Hamilton Heights. He was originally part of a two-man class committed to IU, but then Matt Carlino backed out and is now headed to UCLA. So now it’s just Etherington.
With Carlino gone, Etherington pushes the Cream ‘n Crimson cause to Indiana Elite teammates such as Park Tudor guard Yogi Ferrell, Muncie Central guard Jeremiah Davis and Washington forward Cody Zeller. All three have Indiana high on their recruiting lists.
“I’ll talk to the guys I know,” Etherington said. “I ask them what they’re thinking.
“We all know (coach Tom Crean) is turning the program around. Being part of something like that would be awesome.”
As far as the Class of 2012, no guard looked any better at the May Classic than Gary Harris, the 6-4 standout from Hamilton Southeastern. He had 36 points in his D3 Heat team’s loss to SYF. If he keeps improving at this pace, he might wind up being the state’s best player by the time he’s a senior, which likely would make him one of the nation’s top players.
Oh, is it possible for a human being to have longer arms that 6-8 forward Hanner Perea? He has the kind of 7-foot-plus wingspan that could make him a big-time college shot blocker.
Yes, Cream could use a guy like that, especially if Perea knows what he’s doing on offense and defense, doesn’t get out of position and generates even a little post offense.
All Crean has to do is sign some of these guys. If he does, look out. If he doesn’t, well, that’s a topic for another day.