Tuesday, May 24, 2011

McGary Vs. Jurkin; IU Basketball gets Good Academic News

A reader wanted to know if IU is going after rapidly improving big man Mitch McGary and what’s up with Peter Jurkin in the never-ending Class of 2012 recruiting saga.

First, Tom Crean and company are taking a long look at McGary, who in one year has gone from not worth the time to the nation’s most improved big man. In fact, he might end up being the nation’s BEST big man.

Rivals.com lists McGary as the No. 5 overall player in the Class of 2012. ESPN.com has him at No. 4.

The 6-10, 250-pounder still has some work to do to be the best because three of the players ranked ahead of him are big guys, led by No. 1 Isaiah Austin, a 7-foot forward committed to Baylor.

McGary’s move from Chesterton, Indiana, to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire –- which moved him from the Class of 2011 to the Class of 2012 -- was a good one in a lot of ways. He learned to handle the academic load and to overcome attention deficit disorder. He got bigger and stronger while maintaining his ability to run the floor. He’s become a big-time prospect.

McGary showed during the adidas May Classic in Bloomington that he is still prone to the occasional poor on-court decision, but that’s true of a lot of players. Coaching can correct that if the player has a good attitude and work ethic, and a strong desire to improve.

That seems to describe McGary.

As you might imagine, a LOT of schools are after him. Those include Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Marquette and Cincinnati.

As far as Jurkin, well, he’s been sidelined with a leg injury this spring. He isn’t ranked by any of the major recruiting sites. We’ve never seen him, so we don’t know if he’s closer to the project status of Tijan Jobe or the future star potential of a D.J. White.

IU needs a physically imposing inside presence to take the load off Cody Zeller. Is Jurkin that guy?

In just over a year, we’ll start finding out.


Okay, it’s not quite as big as winning a national championship, but the fact IU’s men’s basketball program scored a perfect 1,000 in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate for the 2009-10 academic is another sign Crean has the program going in the right direction.

That gave the Hoosiers a 929 four-year average. Anything above a 925 and you have no worries. Below a 925, as the Hoosiers had been the previous few years thanks to ex-coach Kelvin Sampson’s cast of misfits and Mike Davis’ final-year struggles, and you run the risk of losing scholarships.

In fact, IU took a self-imposed penality of two reduced scholarships after recording an abysmal 866 score for the 2007-08 year. That was one of five straight years of averages below 925.

Under Crean, the Hoosiers recorded a 975 and 1,000 in his first two years.

What do those numbers mean? Basically, they record whether players are on pace to graduate and how well schools retain players. Guys transferring or leaving early for the NBA affect the numbers, but if they leave in good academic standing, it doesn’t hurt as much. That’s why Eric Gordon continued to do the job in the classroom even after announcing he was leaving IU after just one year to enter the NBA Draft.

Figure the Hoosiers will continue to thrive in the classroom. That’s been Crean’s M.O. since he became a head coach and that’s not going to change. Unlike Sampson, he’ll bring in only guys who are willing and able to meet their academic, athletic and social responsibilities as representatives of the university.

It also means every IU sport is above the 925 mark.


  1. I've seen Jurkin play and he has the most upside of any IU recruit outside of Lyles in the next 4 yrs. He's extremely athletic and will be a force defensively immediately in college. You can tell he's played basketball his whole life - in other words he is no Jobe. He reminds me of Jajuan Johnson - doesn't get as much pub as the other kids in the class - but will probably be the Big Ten player of the Year as a senior.

  2. I saw 6'4" VMI recruit Phillip Angelade outjump Jurkin on a tip off by a good 6" last winter. I don't think Jurkin will play 100 minutes for Indiana in his career.