Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Could IU Basketball's Class of 2013 Beat 2012?

IU’s Class of 2013 is looking better and better, and the July basketball evaluation period hasn’t yet started.

Could it catch the Class of 2012 for most heralded in the coach Tom Crean era?

Not likely, but if Crean lands another superstar (and he’s taking his best shot), you never know.

Three of Crean’s committed players have moved up in the latest rankings courtesy of Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service.

Guard Stanford Robinson went from No. 88 to No. 61 after a strong spring and early summer that included a solid effort in the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp.

Warren Central forward Devin Davis went from No. 107 to No. 99. Wisconsin center Luke Fischer went from 134 to 124.

The last committed member of the class, Indianapolis Cathedral forward Collin Hartman, dropped out of the rankings. Is that a problem? Not necessarily. Hartman dealt with a few injuries, in particular a concussion, that limited him at times and hurt his rankings. He can make that up with lots of improvement, which starts with a strong work ethic and passion.

As we mentioned, Crean is not done with this class. He’s looking to get one more inside player. A big reason -– this will almost certainly be Cody Zeller’s last college season. He gave up a lottery pick NBA selection once. Barring injury, he won’t do it again, especially since he’s in position to graduate in less than three years.

Check that. He’s absolutely gone if IU wins the national title this coming season. If the Hoosiers don’t, if they lose in some heartbreaking fashion involving a conspiracy and John Calipari, MAYBE Zeller comes back for a third season.


Hey, that’s as optimistic as we can be.

In the meantime, Crean continues recruiting. He never stops. Ever. He has a list of big men for the Class of 2013. Here’s where the others ranked:

Forward Kuran Iverson (25), center Beejay Anya (32), center Marcus Lee (33), forward Semi Ojeleye (36), forward Kris Jenkins (63) and center Kennedy Meeks (67).

No matter what, this will be a strong followup group to the Class of 2012. You have to have that to stay in the national title contention picture. Recruiting can’t ever slip.

But then, you know that.


For those of you wondering if Indiana would ever get a second football commitment for the Class of 2013, good news. The Hoosiers got tight end Evan Jansen from Cincinnati Moeller. He is 6-5 and 240 pounds, impressive size for someone not yet in his senior season. And the weight and strength will improve once he gets to Bloomington.

There is a problem -- Jansen only caught three passes for 43 yards as a junior.

Here’s how a cynic would respond:

CYNIC: Three catches. Three BLEEPING catches! Are you serious? That’s only three more than a dead man. Can you imagine Ohio State offering a guy with three catches? I’m so ticked I’m going to become a New England Patriots fan!

HOOSIER HOOPLA: Here’s the big picture. Jansen played sparingly behind senior John Tanner, who has signed with Ohio University. Moeller, by the way, is a traditional football power known for developing outstanding players. Moeller’s main receiving target last year was receiver Monty Madaris, who had 45 catches for 995 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s good enough to sign with Michigan State.

Also, Jansen was much better than those numbers at off-season camps and combines, which is why he has received scholarship offers from Western Kentucky, Harvard, Air Force, Akron, Buffalo and Bowling Green. Jansen impressed college coaches, who use those camps as a major recruiting tool to learn about a recruit’s heart, attitude and work ethic. Jansen also played basketball, and has good speed and athleticism for a guy this size.

Wilson, who has a limited number of scholarships to work with for 2013, is being picky. He’s not wasting offers. He wants guys who can help build the program and who want to put forth the effort necessary to do so. Jansen apparently showed him that.

CYNIC: How picky can Wilson be when he’s beating out Harvard? Are you kidding me? Harvard? The last time they were good, Teddy Roosevelt was president and Enrico Caruso was the musical heartthrob. Besides, I thought Harvard dropped football for contests to build the first manned spaceship to Mars.

HH: You're being awfully harsh.

CYNIC: Hey, I'm toning it down. You should catch me on a bad day. Anyway, didn’t Jansen also visit Boston College and Duke, and neither offered a scholarship? What does that tell you? What’s going on?

HH: Wilson is coming off a 1-11 debut season. That’s not exactly a recruiting friendly record. He has to show recruits his system works. It takes time. Athletic director Fred Glass understands that, which is why he signed Wilson to a seven-year deal instead of five.

Last year not enough guys bought into Wilson's approach, in part, as he admitted, because he and his staff didn’t do a good enough job of building relationships with them. He seems to have corrected that. These Hoosiers seem better suited, mentally and physically, to play his style.

CYNIC: Take off your Cream ‘n Crimson glasses so you can see the truth. Until they start getting difference-making guys, they have no chance.

HH: The truth is, you need to have faith.

CYNIC: Here’s my faith. I just bought a Bill Belichick bobble head doll.

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