Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Recruiting Young – IU’s Crean Does It Again; Making Big Bucks
Tom Crean is fearless when it comes to offering basketball scholarships to guys who have yet to reach high school.
He’s done it again, the second time in the last couple of months, by offering 6-8 center DeRon Davis from Colorado.
Crean and his Indiana staff got a close look at Davis during last week’s Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis. Davis played for the Colorado Hawks team that lost to an Eric Gordon squad in the U15 finals. That’s the same Eric Gordon squad that has Eron Gordon, the other pre-high school recruit Crean has offered this year.
Davis is ranked as the nation’s third-ranked eighth grader by an entity called Nations Elite Prospects. How accurate is the rating? Who knows? Many eighth graders haven’t hit full-throttle puberty yet. But given Davis is already 210 pounds, you’ve got to believe he will physically be able to eventually handle college basketball battles.
Offering eighth graders is a risk, but one Crean is willing to take. A couple of years ago he offered scholarships to Fort Wayne Bishop Luers guard James Blackmon and Indianapolis Tech forward Trey Lyles before either had enrolled in high school. Both accepted his scholarship offers. That’s turned out pretty well. Blackmon is a top-50 prospect in the Class of 2014 while Lyles is a top-10 recruit in the same class.
Eron Gordon, of course, is the brother of Eric Gordon, the former IU All-American and current NBA player. Genetics alone would suggest Eron will develop into at least a solid Big Ten player.
Crean goes deeper than genetics, of course. When you recruit that young, you analyze maturity, academics and quality of character in addition to basketball skill and physical attributes. You want to make sure, as much as you can, that young players have the necessary passion, drive and toughness. That they have high motors and a work ethic that will ensure they will maximize their abilities.
Davis apparently has that. He’s from the Denver area, so he will have to be convinced that moving to Indiana is in his best interests. Of course, like most high-level recruits, he likely has the dream to play professionally some day as well as play on a powerhouse college team. IU’s return to national prominence under Crean, plus the NBA success of former Crean players such as Dwyane Wade, indicates he can help make those dreams happen.
IU associate head coach Steve McClain attended the Colorado Hawks’ loss to the Eric Gordon squad on Sunday, which gave him a chance to evaluate Davis as well as Eron Gordon at the same time. The younger Gordon scored just eight points, but still wound up being the U15 MVP.
Neither Davis nor Gordon have accepted IU’s scholarship offers, by the way.
Would you like to become really, really rich? All you have to do is coach a college basketball team. In particular, coach Indiana’s basketball team.
How hard could it be?
Yes, we are being sarcastic. If you lived through the three-year post-Kelvin Sampson years, you know how hard it is to coach, and to win, with the Hoosiers.
Anyway, thanks to the Bloomington Herald-Times’ annual how-much-people-at-IU-make story, we know where Crean ranks in the salary pecking order.
It’s No. 1.
Crean already was making a ton of money when he was hired in the spring of 2008. He earned bonuses last season for IU’s 27-9, Sweet 16 effort. He got an extra $25,000 for making the NCAA tourney, $25,000 for winning the first game, $35,000 for winning the second and making the Sweet 16. His total was $2.34 million.
Football coach Kevin Wilson make $1.21 million. Not bad for a 1-11 coaching debut season.
In case you’re interested, IU president Michael A. McRobbie makes $631,120.
Part II of the three-part July evaluation period begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and ends Sunday at 5 p.m. The Indianapolis area hosts another event with the Best of Midwest tourney in Fishers. While it will lack some of the national star power featured in the Adidas Invitational, the Best of the Midwest will still provide opportunities for players, coaches and fans.
If you prefer big-time events, there’s always the Nike EYBL Final at Peach Jam in north Augusta, S.C. and the AAU Super Showcase in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Don’t forget the Best Buy Summer Classic in Minnesota and the Under Armour Summer Jam in Milwaukee, plus events in Las Vegas, California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia.