Tuesday, September 25, 2012

IU Takes Aim at Vonleh; Houston Looking Good

So by now you know that Noah Vonleh, ranked as the nation’s No. 3 basketball player in the Class of 2014, is now in the Class of 2013.

That’s important because Indiana is right in the hunt for this 6-9, 222-pound forward from New Hampton Prep in New England. Of course, so are North Carolina, Kansas and Ohio State, among the 15 or so schools on his list, but powerhouse competition is the norm when dealing with a guy of this caliber.

Yes, he’s also likely a one-and-done guy, but that’s also the norm these days for elite players.

How important is Vonleh to IU coach Tom Crean? Well, Crean saw on him on the first of the evaluation period. And new assistant coach Kenny Johnson, who was hired in part because of his strong East Coast recruiting connections, is also very much in the recruiting process.

How good is Vonleh? Well, he earned MVP honors at the Adidas Nations, and thrived during summer travel ball. Vonleh, who originally “redshirted” after leaving Haverhill High School to attend New Hampton, said he in a release that he switched back to his original Class of 2013 because he believed he was now physically, academically and emotionally mature enough to handle going to college a year earlier.

Vonleh, who just recently turned 17, is not eligible to take official visits until early November when he gets the results of his first SAT. If he waits on those, he likely won’t sign until the spring.

IU already has commitments in the Class of 2013 from forwards Devin Davis, Collin Hartman and Luke Fischer, plus shooting guard Stanford Robinson. And it has been vigorously recruiting top-50 forward BeeJay Anya. He’s set to take an official visit to Indiana as part of the Oct. 20 Hoosier Hysteria.

Could this create another scholarship crunch down the road if all six guys sign? Perhaps, but as we know from the Ron Patterson experience, it all works out in the end.


Is IU tailback Stephen Houston ready for a Big Ten breakthrough? The signs point to it. After being criticized for not going hard enough during preseason camp and the first couple of weeks of the season, Houston kicked it in gear in time for Ball State. He rushed for 102 yards on just 12 carries, and the reason, coach Kevin Wilson said, starts with practice.

“(The week leading to the Ball State game) was the best week of practice he had,” Wilson said. He really showed up, expressing runs, playing behind his pads. Running with purpose. Not that he was poor before, but he wasn’t as intense. On Wednesday (before the Ball State game) I said to him all I had to do was watch. You’ve had a good week. He came out and popped a couple of runs.”

Houston will need to pop a couple of more Saturday, when IU (2-1) plays at Northwestern (4-0) in its Big Ten opener.

Last year, his first after coming to IU as a junior college transfer, Houston emerged during Big Ten play to rush for more than 800 yards.

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