Thursday, August 4, 2011
IU’s Impact Football Recruiting; What’s Up with LSU Transfer; And More
As you might have expected, Kevin Wilson’s football recruiting has made a big impact on athletic director Fred Glass.
Neither Glass nor Wilson can comment on any players who haven’t signed with Indiana. Yes, this means they can’t talk about Gunner Kiel, the Class of 2012 stud quarterback who has committed to the program and stirred up talk that maybe –- maybe –- the Hoosiers might be poised to jump into consistent-winner mode.
Anyway, Wilson has 15 commitments for the Class of 2012 -- five ranked in the top 75 at their positions nationally -- and life is looking awfully good right now. Of course, that’s always the case this time of year before anybody has practiced or played a game.
“Kevin has been very well received in the state of Indiana,” Glass said. “The state is a much more of a target-rich environment for elite players. Credit Peyton Manning and the Colts or whatever.
“It’s increasingly important for us to be strong in recruiting players in the state. High school football in the state is very strong. We have a Mr. Football coming in (Indianapolis Lawrence Central’s Tre Roberson). More and more elite players are looking at Indiana, committing to Indiana. Kevin has done a great job of becoming ingrained in that.”
While in-state recruiting is important, Glass added, it’s not the only part of Wilson’s recruiting philosophy, which is similar to that of former coach Bill Lynch.
“The overall philosophy hasn’t changed,” Glass said. “We’re focusing on Indiana, having a Midwest footprint and using contacts among our assistant coaches to reach into Florida, Texas and Louisiana to pick up some national guys.”
Wilson also brings another key aspect – confidence. That’s an attribute that’s hard to sustain when you’ve lost as much as the Hoosiers have over the years.
“We’ve lost a lot of close games (in recent years),” Glass said, “and it’s likely confidence might have played in that. Kevin is a confident guy. His philosophy is win today and he hammers that point home. That’s why we hired him and got him here.”
You’ve got to love all the basketball experience Indiana commits Yogi Ferrell, Hanner Perea and Trey Lyles are getting this summer. Yes, there is a burnout factor (do these guys EVER get time off to just be kids), but the chance to play in elite events against elite competition will help prepare them for the challenges they’ll face in college.
All three are set to play in something called the adidas Nations Global Experience, which starts Friday and ends Sunday in Los Angeles. It’s a big enough deal that the title game and third-place game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
What is this event? It gathers some of the top players, 18 and under, from the U.S. and around the world. They will train and compete together, with mentoring provided by such pro players as Eric Gordon (the former IU standout), Josh Smith, Wesley Johnson, Arron Afflalo and Candace Parker.
Ferrell, the standout point guard from Indianapolis Park Tudor, is on the Class of 2012 USA Team. Perea, a forward, is on an international team. Lyles, also a forward, is on the 2013 USA Team.
Other top players include Las Vegas’ Shabazz Muhammad, Connecticut’s Andre Drummond, New York’s DaJuan Coleman and Texas’ Cameron Ridley.
So now we’ve reached the home stretch with the Garrett Green chase. Will the 6-11 reserve LSU center choose the Hoosiers and provide a much-needed inside boost, or will he wind up at San Diego State, Long Beach State or Wichita State.
He’s now visit all his finalists and is set to make a final decision. Because he has graduated from LSU, he can transfer and be eligible immediately. He has one year left to play.
Green is from the Los Angeles area, which is which two California schools are among his finalists. He never put up huge numbers at LSU, and was really nothing more than a reserve, but a 6-11 veteran guy would go a long way to keeping some of the inside burden off of freshman Cody Zeller.