Sunday, August 28, 2011
Crean Recruiting Never Stops – Russell, Fischer and Donuts; Urban Meyer Makes a Point
You might think college football dominates this time of year, but you haven’t spent time on the Indiana campus lately. Yes, the football Hoosiers under new coach Kevin Wilson are generating plenty of buzz with the season opener against Ball State less than a week away, but basketball coach Tom Crean isn’t lounging on the couch eating donuts.
First, if you’ve seen Crean, you know he never lounges at any time. As far as donuts, we have no evidence to suggest that he eats anything like that. He’s a perpetual motion guy who never stops recruiting. Over the weekend he had a pair of high-profile recruits swing by for visits, which meant it was time for him to break out the golf cart and buzz around campus.
The highest-profile player was Louisville guard D’Angelo Russell, a top-25 prospect from the Class of 2014 with a 6-8 wingspan even though he’s just 6-3. IU has offered a scholarship. So have Xavier and Louisville. Don’t be surprised if Purdue, Kentucky, Ohio State, Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama also make offers.
IU already has a pair of 2014 commitments from forward Trey Lyles and guard James Blackmon. Yes, Russell has noticed, and in a good way.
What are the odds of Luke Fischer playing his college basketball at Indiana?
Let’s just say this 6-9 forward from Wisconsin, Class of 2013, left Bloomington very, very impressed. Competition includes Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette, Boston College, Creighton, Wake Forest, Butler and Drake.
That’s an interesting list and one certain to shrink in the coming months.
Fischer took an unofficial visit to IU over the weekend. It’s his second unofficial visit to Bloomington, which bodes well for Hoosier prospects, although it’s far from a deal clincher.
He checked out the campus, the academic center and even the basketball skills of some committed players from the Class of 2012 in Yogi Ferrell and Ron Patterson, plus some current Hoosier players, including veterans Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls, plus freshman Cody Zeller, as part of an open gym pick-up game.
Fischer weighs 200 pounds, which would be fine if he was 6-foot. At 6-9, he’s skinny and needs a significant strength boost. This is no big deal because he’ll get bigger as he matures and once he gets to college, he’ll benefit from a structured strength training program.
Yes, in case you’re wondering, IU has a very, very good strength training program.
How big is the Big Ten’s new conference football championship game going to be? Let’s hear from Urban Meyer, the former Florida head coach who experienced all the drama around the SEC title game. He’s retired from coaching, for now at least, and an analyst for ESPN.
During a college football teleconference Meyer said the way the SEC does its championship game rivals if not surpasses what the BCS title game does. He said Big Ten coaches have to approach the conference championship game as the biggest event of the season, even bigger than the BCS finale.
“Make that thing huge so the players look forward to it because it is a grind,” Meyer said. “You reach that point in the second (early December) when you’re dealing with injuries, fatigue. A Big Ten team that goes through that and wins the game is probably going to play in the national championship game.
“It’s great for college football. It’s one of the great experiences. It’s also one of the most fatiguing, nerve wracking experiences you can go through.”