It seemed just a short while ago that Indiana had what experts considered the best basketball recruiting class for 2012. Now, it’s down to No. 6, if you believe CBSsports.com’s Jeff Borzello.
Is that a problem?
First, it’s still a really good class that fills every position -– point guard Yogi Ferrell (rated No. 26 in the class by CBSsports.com), shooting guard Ron Patterson, small forward Jeremy Hollowell (No. 33), power forward Hanner Perea (No. 46) and center Peter Jurkin.
Second, it’s still a top-10 class with size, speed and athleticism. You can win a lot of games with a foundation like that, especially when you add it to a talented, veteran roster.
While Perea’s stock dropped over the last year, Hollowell’s rose. Ferrell is the No. 2 point guard in this class. Patterson and Jurkin aren’t as highly regarded, but both have potential.
In the end, of course, it’s how these guys develop at IU. Do they get better, or do they fade away? Tom Crean’s track record with Indiana is that they improve (think Victor Oladipo, Will Sheehey, Christian Watford and Cody Zeller).
Granted, it’s not 100 percent (remember Bawa Muniru and Tijan Jobe), but there’s no reason to think these newcomers won’t become solid or better college players.
Then there’s the fact the teams that finished ahead of IU –- No. 1 Kentucky, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Arizona, No. 4 North Carolina State and No. 5 Baylor -– landed some big-time players
Kentucky got the No. 1 guy in the Class of 2012 in Nerlens Noel after earlier getting No. 7 Archie Goodwin and No. 15 Alex Poythress. UCLA got the No. 2 Class of 2012 prospect in Shabazz Muhammad along with No. 3 Kyle Anderson.
Arizona has three of the top inside players in the country with No. 4 Kaleb Tarczewski, No. 8 Brandon Ashley and No. 12 Grant Jerrett, plus guard Gabe York (No. 32). North Carolina State only signed three guys, but all are ranked in the top 51 (No. 20 Rodney Purvis, No. 31 T.J. Warren, No. 51 Tyler Lewis). Baylor also beefed up its front court with No. 4 Isaiah Austin and No. 49 Ricardo Gathers.
All those numbers are impressive, but what matters most is how they blend as a team. Is their chemistry and passion and a willingness to work beyond the expected?
If the Hoosiers have that, they’re going to be really good for a really long time.
But then, they already are.
Yes, athletic performance draws the spotlight, but in these academically accountable times, when mediocre classroom effort can cost you postseason opportunity (can you say Connecticut?), we give you three IU sports teams that rate among the nation’s best.
The baseball, men’s golf and women’s tennis squads scored in the top 10 percent in their sports based on their Academic Progress Rates. The APR tracks the academic progress of each athlete. It includes eligibility, retention and graduation.
A perfect score was 1,000, which is what IU’s golf and tennis teams accomplished. The baseball team posted a 992.
“I want to congratulate the baseball, men’s golf and women’s tennis student-athletes for their outstanding work in the classroom, and commend the leadership of head coaches Tracy Smith, Mike Mayer and Lin Loring for continuing to reinforce academic achievement as a top priority,” athletic director Fred Glass said in a university release.
These APRs are based on scores from the last four years.
“We are very proud that these programs are being publicly commended on their outstanding academic achievement,” Glass said. “The academic success of these teams is fortunately typical of our programs, which routinely exceed the NCAA acceptable minimum of 925 by a very large margin.”
The never-ending world of elite basketball continues this week at the NBPA Top 100 camp at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
For the record, Virginia is considered one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. Credit Thomas Jefferson, who did a lot of good things that didn’t involve basketball.
But we digress.
IU committed player Stanford Robinson is attending the camp. So are a couple of guys coach Tom Crean is recruiting hard in 6-9 center Cliff Alexander from Chicago and 6-9 forward Marcus Lee.
Others with Hoosier scholarship offers participating in the basketball camp are Jaquan Lyle of Evansville Bosse, Semi Ojeleye, D’Angelo Russell, and Noah Vonleh.