Sunday, May 15, 2011

IU’s Class of 2012, Gary Harris, Rocky, Sunshine and Rainbows

Yes, Indiana Elite Team Indiana is now 0-for-5 in spring travel tournaments. Yes, the team that features future Hoosiers Yogi Ferrell, Hanner Perea, Jeremy Hollowell, Peter Jurkin and Ron Patterson has not satisfied those who want championship results.

After blowing out opponents on Saturday as part of the adidas May Classic, they got handled by Baylor LNO by 14 points Sunday morning to end their title run.

Does that mean they are over-rated or their coach, Mark Adams, can’t do the job?

Absolutely not.

The talent is good and will be better by the time it reaches college. Adams is a veteran coach who knows what he’s doing, but doesn’t have enough weapons to work with.

And that has been a problem.

A lot of these travel events become exercises in attrition. Teams might play as many as seven games in two days. You need a LOT of good players to get through that. You also need plenty of depth and guys staying healthy, which becomes difficult when you play so often against so many talented teams and players.

Jurkin hasn’t played this spring because of a shin stress fracture. Hollowell missed three weeks because of wrist and knee injuries. Patterson missed Saturday’s games because of the prom, although he played Sunday morning.

After the loss, Patterson took off his jersey and quickly left, later tweeting that he needs to find a new AAU team. That suggests a troubling lack of maturity that needs to be dealt with before he reaches college.

In the big picture, it’s all about developing these guys. That means skill and mental toughness. It means learning how to deal with adversity because they’re sure as heck going to face that, in sports and in life. Losing sucks, but sometimes it’s a blessing if you learn from it. That means persistence and determination and resolve.

A decade from now, few will remember how many travel tournaments these guys won. They will remember high school championships (even though most of these guys iinsist they like travel ball more than high school play) and, from an IU perspective, college achievements.

You can learn from everything, good and bad. The special ones do. If these guys are really special, this will toughen them. If not, well, there’s a Sylvester Stallone speech in the last Rocky movie, called “Rocky Balboa,” that really resonates. Yeah, it’s a bit overly dramatic and over the top, maybe Rocky isn’t where you go to find life perspective (isn’t that what Godfather I and II are for?), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t ring true.

Okay, we admit it. We have tried this line with our 17-year-old son, with limited success because, in his mind, parents don’t know squat.

Anyway, Rocky is talking to his struggling son, who also thinks his dad doesn’t know squat. Rocky offers some passionate advice. He says life isn’t all “sunshine and rainbows.” He says that it’s “mean and nasty, and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.”

It includes this line, “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; it’s about how much you can take and keep moving forward.”

There’s plenty of opportunity for the Class of 2012 to move forward. Let’s hope they make the most of it.


With or without Rocky, the 16U Eric Gordon All-Stars won an adidas May Classic title behind Collin Hartman, who had 19 points in Sunday’s title game. Yes, that’s the Indianapolis Cathedral sophomore who has committed to IU. Another Hoosier commitment from the Class of 2013, Devin Davis of Warren Central, added nine points while battling with a tweaked back.

The title didn’t come easy. They lost one pool game and had to rally from a 12-point deficit in another. Hartman said the key was picking up the intensity.

They obviously did.


For those seeking insight into the college plans of Gary Harris, you’ll likely have to wait until November. The 6-4 guard, who is ranked No. 14 nationally by, scored big in a couple of adidas May Classic losses (22 points in one game, 35 in another), but that wasn’t enough to get his D3 Pride team into Sunday’s action.

He isn’t ready to narrow down his list of schools -- which basically means that every quality program in America still has a chance -- or provide a decision timeline. He’s got June summer camp trips with his Hamilton Southeastern teammates, and then the July AAU circuit

The buzz is that Michigan State is the favorite, Indiana is in great position and Purdue is moving up fast, but that’s as etched in stone as an IU-basketball-player-is-transferring rumor. Ohio State, Kentucky, Xavier and Louisville also are in the mix. That doesn’t include the tantalizing possibility (although it’s become remote) that he would choose football and go to Notre Dame. He does play football for Hamilton Southeastern and is, to no one’s surprise, very, very good.

Hey, at least we’ll have plenty to talk and speculate about for the next six months.

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