Saturday, April 21, 2012
Crean On Recruiting Trail; IU Basketball Celebration
College basketball recruiting.
What? You thought we would say girls?
Anyway, college basketball coaches are heavily into the first April evaluation period, which goes from Friday to Sunday. They use this to look at prospects in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 classes as players participate in a variety of travel ball events throughout the country, including Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Minneapolis. There is also another evaluation period next weekend.
On Friday, coaching heavyweights such as Tom Crean, John Calipari, Tom Izzo and more were in Merrillville, Ind. Normally, that small northwestern Indiana community is not a college basketball mecca. But on this night, with players such as Eron Gordon, Jalen Coleman, Vijay Blackmon, Jalen Coleman, Matt Holba and Drake Harris around, it was.
Crean is certain to hit Minneapolis where targets such as Jaquan Lyles, Trey Lyles (already committed to IU), BeeJay Anya and Stanford Robinson are participating.
Crean and his staff have been very active on the recruiting front.
Yes, that is a shock.
Yes, that is sarcasm.
They made two trips to Iowa to see junior college All-American Jameel McKay, and then offered him a scholarship as part of the Class of 2013 that already includes forward Devin Davis, postman Luke Fischer and swingman Collin Hartman.
They’ve offered 2015 combo guard Hyron Edwards from East Chicago in northwestern Indiana. Edwards is competing in Las Vegas this weekend, so Crean figures to be there as well. Edwards averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds this past season.
Free is good. So is getting a chance to get up close and personal with Indiana’s glory restoring basketball team.
Both are set to come together this Thursday (April 26) when the IU Varsity Club presents a basketball awards celebration in Assembly Hall. Things are set to start at 6 p.m. Crean and players will be available for autographs from 6 to 7 p.m.
“Our fans played such a huge role in our success this year,” Crean said in a university release. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to remember the year in a wahy where as many people as possible can be part of it. It should be a great event.”
As far as autographs, on Assembly Hall’s north concourse you’ll find Calbert Cheaney, Kory Barnett, Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo, Daniel Moore, Jordan Hulls. Remy Abell, Tom Pritchard and Derek Elston.
On the south concourse you’ll see Crean, Austin Etherington, Maurice Creek. Will Sheehey, Verdell Jones III, Raphael Smith, Jeff Howard, Matt Roth, Cody Zeller
After the autograph session fans can watch IU coaches present their end-of-season awards on Branch McCracken Court. There are plenty awards from a 27-9 team that reached the Sweet 16 while knocking off the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5 teams in the country.
“We think it is a fitting way to honor the team and bring the Hoosier Nation together as we celebrate their outstanding season,” athletic director Fred Glass said in the release. “Coach Crean, his staff and all the players have been great ambassadors for the University and we want to bring them together once again to reflect on their memorable accomplishments.”
If you believe CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, who just happen to be two of America’s best college basketball writers, Cody Zeller is the best pro prospect who decided NOT to go to the NBA this season.
The 6-11 Zeller could have been a lottery pick this year after an All-America freshman season in which he led IU in scoring, rebounding and shooting, proved that pressure is just a state of mind.
Let's just say Zeller's return, along with junior Christian Watford, will pay HUGE dividends next season. Crean's recent tweets indicate how hard the team is already working in preparation for what could be a national title run. Now that is really intoxicating.