Saturday, October 2, 2010
IU-Michigan Draws Basketball Recruits
You’d better believe Tom Crean used the IU-Michigan game as a chance for unofficial basketball visit mania. Why wouldn’t he? A sell-out crowd, a festive atmosphere, a chance to showcase a Cream ‘n Crimson vision where football matters and glory is just a few plays away.
In the end, of course, it was Michigan that made the plays that mattered most, but that doesn’t diminish the message. Crean wants recruits on campus because he believes it’s a huge selling point. Recruits such as Washington’s Cody Zeller (yes, this is a very good sign), La Lumiere’s Hanner Perea and Hamilton Southeastern’s Gary Harris, experienced those points this weekend. So did Devin Davis and Darryl Baker, plus verbal commitments Peter Jurkin and Austin Etherington. Players participated in an open gym.
Crean, of course, continues to seek out the young and talented. Now offers to the Class of 2014 include Indianapolis Park Tudor guard Trevon Bluiett and Brownsburg guard Jaraan Lands. It’s these players’ first offers, although they are being recruited by Purdue, LSU and Illinois.
Crean had earlier offered and received oral commitments from Fort Wayne Bishop Luers guard James Blackmon and Indianapolis Tech forward Trey Lyles.
Lyles, by the way, is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 player in the Class of 2014 by ESPN. Blackmon is No. 7 while Bluiett is No. 22.
At this rate, Crean will have offered a hundred players in the Class of 2014 by December. Of course, he doesn’t have 100 scholarships to give. At the moment, he has two, but over-offering is standard operating procedure in recruiting these days. It will all work out in the end, especially given it’s four years before that end.
Crean’s approach is simple and increasingly effective. Get after players at a young age, show them you care, tell them why Indiana is their perfect choice, showcase the university’s facilities and atmosphere, and let nature take its course.
Basketball nature has taken a Cream ‘n Crimson turn after a couple of years in NCAA sanction-filled purgatory. Crean is getting commitments and building a recruiting foundation to exploit the continued run of strong in-state talent.
As for the football Hoosiers (3-1), well, they’ll have to regroup quickly in the wake of their 42-35 loss to Michigan. Once again they failed to take advantage of opportunities. Yes, there might have been some missed Michigan holds on the final drive, but IU was in position to make game-changing defensive plays and did not. This has been a long-term problem that has to end. Is this group capable of ending it? Another opportunity comes Saturday at No. 2 Ohio State.
That will likely be another loss. After that there’s a home game against Arkansas State, and three other winnable contests -– Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue. IU can reach seven victories if it sweeps these games. It has a chance if it can play just average defense.
Is that asking too much?