Friday, July 6, 2012

Basketball Recruiting Action Returns to Indy; IU Basketball Update; Magic Mike

Good news for those who treat summer basketball recruiting with the same enthusiasm women awaited the debut of the men-in-skimpy-attire movie, “Magic Mike.”

Basketball recruiting is back in a revamped July evaluation format. The first of three periods this month begins on Wednesday at a bunch of sites, including Indianapolis’s Adidas Invitational that will showcase some of the nation’s top prep talent at nine different locations, including North Central and Park Tudor high schools, plus the Fisher’s Fieldhouse.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: We interviewed several women who saw “Magic Mike,” which is basically about male strippers and based on the early life of actor Channing Tatum, who apparently looks good in a thong, although we'll have to take others' word on that. The women said, and we are not making this up, that the movie was, “stupid and silly and full of bad acting.” Like acting was a reason to see it! That would be like watching a porn movie and griping about the music.

By the way, what was up with the sound track for “Debbie Does Dallas?”

Anyway, basketball recruiting drama has surfaced even before the action starts. Consider the NCAA’s move to ban four travel teams and their administrators from participating in NCAA certified events because of prohibited ties to well-known agent Andy Miller. NCAA rules prevent any association with agents. Miller, the founder of ASM Sports Agency, has been involved with 15 NBA first-round picks since 1995.

The ban, which involves administrators Desmond Eastman of World Wide Renegades, TJ Gasnola of New England Playaz, and Matt Ramker of Florida Rams, plus coach Tony Edwards of the SEBL All-Stars, means those teams have to reform under new direction, and reform fast, or their players are out of luck, unless they can quickly join other teams.

The NCAA went to work after reportedly getting access to an email from Miller telling Eastman, Gasnola, Ramker and Edwards to more effectively recruit top draft picks to ASM Sports. Let’s just say that’s a big no-no. Stopping such activies is a priority for the NCAA, which has recently changed its approach to target major recruiting violations rather than minor ones such as phone calls and texts.

That won’t affect the quality of the Adidas Invitational. State of Indiana teams include the Eric Gordon All-Stars, a bunch of Indiana Elite squads, Indiana Fire, Indiana Ice, a bunch of Spiece Indy teams, and more.

Action begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and concludes Sunday afternoon.


Eric Gordon is already rich, and he’s set to become richer as a restricted NBA free agent. The former Indiana All-American guard has a four-year, $58 million offer from Phoenix. His current team, the New Orleans Hornets can keep him by matching that offer, although reports suggest Gordon would prefer the Hornets let him go.

Gordon only played nine games last season for New Orleans because of surgery on his right knee. Still, he averaged a team-leading 20.6 points. That’s no surprise. He could always score.

Gordon is one of 15 finalists for the Team USA 12-player roster. Yes, that’s the Olympic team. That group will be finalized on Saturday. Workouts are going on now in Las Vegas.

Speculation is that it will come down to Gordon and Oklahoma City guard James Harden. Yes, that’s the guy with the most impressive beard in all of sports.


Of course you know Indiana is a preseason basketball No. 1 pick with a high-powered attack (great 3-point shooting and overall shooting) that should run most opponents into the ground. But in the end, the deciding factor in whether the Hoosiers win a national title almost certainly will come down to defense.

Last season IU ranked No. 64 in the nation in points allowed per possession. Opponents shot nearly 43 percent against the Hoosiers. That’s not nearly good enough, a message Crean has hammered to his players this off-season.

As Crean told Louisville’s Rick Bozich, one of the nation’s top sports writers, who is now at Louisville’s (a HUGE loss for his former employer, the Louisville Courier-Journal), the Hoosiers have to create more shots from steals, deflections, offensive rebounds and, in general, more offensive possessions.
Crean is trying to gain extra insight by watching videos from Louisville’s 1980 and ’86 national title teams that thrived on switching defense thanks to versatile depth. Crean has recruited long, long-armed and versatile players who can play multiple positions and thrive at multiple approaches.

He’s trying to maximize the advantage of the new NCAA rule that allows coaches to work with their players for two hours a week in the off-season.

It helps to have Cody Zeller, who will be a strong contender for national player of the year honors. He will try to duplicate what Kentucky’s Anthony Davis did this past season: be national player of the year, be on a national-title winning team, be the No. 1 player in the NBA draft.

If Zeller does those first two things, he almost certainly will skip his final two seasons to enter the draft. Even if he doesn’t, he more than likely will enter the draft. The only way that he likely stays is if there’s an injury, he has a lousy season (VERY unlikely) or IU has such a disappointing finish that he doesn’t want to end his college career that way.

Yes, we know. That’s wishful thinking.

Oh. For the record, we never saw “Debbie Does Dallas.”

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