Tom Crean was on the recruiting road Monday (likely destination – Washington D.C. again), which meant associate head coach Tim Buckley took over for Crean’s weekly radio show.
Buckley, by the way, has filled in for Crean a number of times this season for various press conferences.
Anyway, Buckley provided some insight in the program.
1) Buckley has had some coaches tell him they have players similar to senior guard Jordan Hulls.
“I'll chuckle and I'll say, 'He might look like him,' but Jordan Hulls is in that gym two and three times a day extra.”
Then Buckley joked that Jordan is the "second-best Hulls on campus, now that Kaila's here."
Kaila is Jordan’s younger sister. She is now a member of the Hoosiers’ women’s basketball team.
2) Buckley thinks Will Sheehey is the best sixth man in the country. He averages 12.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in 21.6 minutes. He's shooting 58.3 percent from the field, but just 29.4 percent from three-point range.
3) Injured forward Derek Elston is getting some light shooting in and is on pace for a return around Christmas. Buckley said one of the most impressive things Elston is doing is working with freshman forwards Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin, the guys who will battle him for playing time once he gets healthy and they become eligible on Dec. 15.
4) Victor Oladipo has become an offensive and defensive force.
“Victor is playing with great energy. He's deflecting a lot of balls. He's making things happen out on the floor and creating things for other people.”
Buckley also said he expects Oladipo’s shooting to improve.
Oladipo averages 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds. He shoots 63.3 percent from the field, but just 26.7 percent (4-for-15) from three-point range. He also has a team-leading 18 steals.
5) Buckley was asked about IU coaches’ approach to one-and-done players. Basically he said Indiana will take them, but they try to make sure that the locker room is gelling with good chemistry.
He also said coaches stress to players that they get ahead academically so that whenever they do leave, they have maximized their time in college.
He mentioned Hulls and Elston. Both graduated in three years and are now in grad school.
6) Finally, he said he doesn't think anyone on team cares about who scores, “but they're selfish about rebounding. That is very competitive.”
There’s a lot going on in college football these days -- Northern Illinois beat out Oklahoma for a BCS bowl, Northwestern got picked over for Michigan by the Capital One Bowl, Purdue seeks a new coach in a scenario that is similar to the one that brought Kevin Wilson to Indiana.
Speaking of Wilson, he and his staff have been busy outside the limelight. In other words, his recruiting is going just fine.
In fact, it’s the best it’s ever been, and if this is only his third class, let’s not nick pick.
IU got its 15th commitment for the Class of 2013 courtesy of Florida linebacker T.J. Simmons. He’s a 6-foot, 227-pounder rated as a two-star prospect. He’s a physical player and, if you’ve seen the Hoosiers play defense, you know they need physical players.
Simmons originally committed to Western Kentucky, then reopened his recruiting last summer. He wound up choosing the Hoosiers over Iowa State, Western Kentucky and Toledo. Georgia Tech, LSU, South Florida and Central Florida also were looking at him.
Simmons totaled 121 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions this season for a 9-2 Lakeland High School team.
Simmons is the latest recruiting piece in Wilson’s plan to upgrade the defense as well as the entire team talent pool.
At least nine of the 15 commitments are defensive players, and four of them are four-star (out of five) recruits. Those are safety Antonio Allen, defensive end David Kenney, defensive tackle Darius Latham and cornerback Rashard Fant.
IU wants instant-impact players, and if the ratings mean anything, these guys will deliver.