Wednesday, August 25, 2010

IU Basketball Recruiting –- Good Coaching Matters

So what exactly does Tom Crean look for in a recruit?

Yes, there are the obvious traits –- basketball skill, athleticism, good character, committed to academics, hard working, mental and physical toughness, a high motor, a good basketball IQ.

Crean also looks for something not so obvious –- good coaching.

“There’s a lot to be said about a way a player is coached,” he said. “It goes back to what you want to get out of your recruiting. It’s not just about any area. Is this a young man who is a year-round winner? Is he getting coached year round?”

Back in the day, like when the Bee Gees ruled the airwaves, players only competed during the high school season. Now, of course, they play high school ball in the winter and AAU or travel ball in the spring and summer.

Both matter and to emphasize one over the other, Crean said, is a mistake.

“You can’t just look at a kid and say, ‘Wow, he’s in a good high school program,’ and then he’s bouncing around in a AAU program or a not-as-good AAU program.

“You might hear, he’s better in the summer. That’s a kiss of death to me. He’s better in the summer than with his high school team? Wait a minute. The high school team has him practicing every day. AAU teams don’t get to do that. So what does that say about him?

“When you find a kid who is a year-round winner with two great programs with high school and AAU ball, that just sticks out.”

Crean said incoming freshmen Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo meet that criteria. Neither player is from an in-state program (Sheehey is from Florida, Oladipo is from Maryland), but both are expected to have significant impacts this season.

The Hoosiers continue to emphasize in-state recruiting. The high quality of in-state players reflects, in part, the quality of the travel and high school (and even earlier) coaching.

“There is so much good coaching in this state,” Crean said. “And the coaching in the summer time is also outstanding. Those things are really strong for us."

That strength is likely to produce a winning record this season. Five of the team's 15 players come from the state of Indiana. That in-state number is likely to grow in the coming years.

“(Recruiting in-state players) is something we want to do," Crean said, "something fans want us to do, but most important, it makes sense for us to do.”


In case you missed it, former Hoosier Eric Gordon has made the U.S. team that will compete in the FIBA World Championships. Gordon has averaged 16.4 points in two years with the Clippers. He averaged 21.5 points in his lone season in Bloomington.


To answer a reader comment, it just didn’t work out with Jerimy Finch and the IU football program. He was injured a lot after transferring from Florida. He was out of position even more. Coaches could never trust where he'd be on any given play. He never played the way you’d expect from a guy rated the nation’s No. 1 prep safety coming out of Indianapolis Warren Central. In two years he played a total of 12 games and dominated none of them. He couldn’t crack the starting lineup last year in what was a mediocre secondary racked with injuries. He left the program in the off-season.

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