Observations from the 100th Indiana State Finals

For the first time since the launch of this blog, I made my way to Conseco Fieldhouse for the state finals on Saturday. I did not leave disappointed. My observations from the day begin … now:

+ Faces in the crowd: Tom Crean, accompanied by his son Riley, was in the house for the evening session. Decked out in crimson IU gear, Crean was positioned on the baseline and was easy to spot. Among the other coaches in attendance: Tubby Smith, Bruce Weber, Matt Painter, Roy Williams and Ohio State assistant coach Brandon Miller.

+ Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, Park Tudor (pictured): This was actually my first time watching Ferrell, a sophomore, and I was particularly interested in getting a good read given the recent scholarship offer by Indiana. Ferrell struggled from the field (7 of 21), but was still the most talented player in the 2A game, which Park Tudor lost to Wheeler 41-38. At 5-10, 160 pounds, size must be taken into consideration when evaluating Ferrell’s ceiling, but he did appear capable of playing in the Big Ten. He’s more of a scorer than a pure point guard, is stronger than he looks, makes intelligent decisions and has a really nice handle. In other words, I liked him. I’ll be interested to get another look at Ferrell this spring and summer when he’s not attacked by constant double teams.

+ Cody Zeller, Washington: The 6-9 junior forward continues to improve every time he steps on the court. Gary Wallace had no answer for Zeller on the glass, evidenced by the 26 rebounds he corralled, tying a 3A state finals record. Zeller has excellent hands and if he can continue to get stronger, he’ll be a handful on the boards at the next level. Offensively, he didn’t shoot particularly well, but was able to get to the foul line all evening. I continue to hear Butler, Indiana and North Carolina as three schools in solid standing with Zeller, but nothing to indicate he’s leaning in any particular direction.

+ Branden Dawson, Gary Wallace: I spent the first 5:45 of the opening quarter of the 3A game wondering why, along with Hugh Kellenberger and Lynn Houser of The Herald-Times, Dawson wasn’t in the game. Wallace’s Renaldo Thomas, by far the most entertaining coach in the press room of the evening, said afterward that he chose to use his star junior as a super sub. Whatever the rationale, once he entered the game, his impact was immediately felt. Dawson didn’t shoot particularly well (7 of 24), but showed the explosiveness and instincts that make him a legitimate five-star player. He finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds (six offensive) and carried himself well after a tough loss. Impressive.

+ DeJuan Marrero, Bowman Academy: Marrero, a 6-5, 200 pound forward, is another outstanding prospect from Northwest Indiana. After shooting just 2 of 7 in the first half, the Bowman Academy sophomore came out focused in the second half and was dominant at times. Bowman coach Marvin Rea, who told The Herald-Times that there is definite IU interest in Marrero, said that the first half struggles were likely due to nerves. Marrero shot 6 of 9 in the second half and finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks. There’s no question he’s a high-level prospect, but I’d like to see him add a more consistent jump shot.

(I did not, for the record, watch the 4A title game, which North Central won, 95-74, over Warsaw. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, a 2012 guard with an Indiana offer, scored 16 points. Warsaw’s Nic Moore scored 28 points.)

  • Dave

    Am I the only one that watch Nic Moore scored 28 points in 3 quarters with no help from his teammates and against a backcourt of DSV and the Johnson brothers? Now I have seen Dee Davis play and have never seen him put on a performance like that. Why doesnt anyone talk about this kid being a PG for IU? Tom Crean was at the Warsaw practice earlier in the week. I think the answer lies in Moore not being ranked by the recruiting services…but isnt it possible he has just been overlooked because he is short?

  • BaseballBuc

    If IU could land one of these players I would be happy. I've seen Marrero play a handfull of times and will be a very good player. But Branden Dawson, I believe is the best. He has off the charts talent and will be an NBA player.

  • HoosierChan77

    I know that things will pan out eventually but we need some good news down here in B-town…Every thing happens for a reason and thats cool and all but after this weekend I just want to PUKE…..Anyone with some concrete news thats positive come with it!!!!!

  • Kelin Blab

    HoosierChan77….I have very little offer other than….John Wilkins did visit this week from what I am told and a quote from him was “he wants to play close to home where his dad can see him” Ofcourse his dad is in Gary…..IU, Iowa St., and Providence are rercuiting him…. Not sure if this is good news, but I tried…..

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/G44FMLYIZ4LRONBQFXANGJ56AE Haystacks

    well Buc, get used to watching Dawson….as he plays against IU in a perdue uniform. By everything ive seen he is a boiler lean.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/G44FMLYIZ4LRONBQFXANGJ56AE Haystacks

    great news on Wilkins too, maybe IU can get a bigman, maybe.

  • BaseballBuc

    Ya, i've heard that too. Purdue has dominated the Gary/Northwest Indiana region for a while. Lets hope it's not the case with Dawson.

  • Kelin Blab

    I say if IU doesn't get Dawson, I am great with landing Marrero in 2012

  • BaseballBuc

    Don't understand why no one is going after Bowman's PG Tyrae Robinson. He's their MVP and the quickest end to end pg with a basketball in Indiana.

  • Jubilee01

    If I had my way…..this would be our recruiting classes ( I also factored in people I believe we would be able to sign)

    2011
    Ethrington
    J. Davis
    Zeller (he has to be our #1 target)

    2012
    Patterson
    DSR
    Perea (I am in love with this guy for some reason)
    Jurkin

    I knwo the scholarships probably don't add up, but we could consider this a letter to santa.

  • oldsportsdude

    I have said it before and was dissed on this web site but Marrero is a head case. He got technicals again this year in the tournament for taunting. Marvin Rea is running a basketball school not a legitimate high school. I live in NW Indiana and I follow this kid, he is trouble with a capital T. Similar to Lawrence Funderburke from the 90's at IU.

  • BaseballBuc

    I think Marquis Teague still remains our #1 target in the 2011 class. But would take Zeller at any day of the week. I'm with you with Perea. I think he could be an absolute superstar.

  • Kelin Blab

    I think 2011 we get J.Davis…teague to L'Ville…. I also think we get Zeller, due to his indiana elite ties with Etherington and JD

    2012….we get DSR, Perea, Jurkin….I have a lot of confidence in getting these 3….50/50 chance at Hollowell, Yogi, Patterson

  • BaseballBuc

    I live in Northwest Indiana as well and have watched Bowman many times. When he got the techs last year it wasn't his attitute. The first was hanging on the rim which was questionable and the second was slapping the backboard. I've been following this kid for 2 years and the only legitiment tech he recieved was the one you referenced this year for taunting. I'm not disagreeing with you at all, I'm just telling you what I have seen

  • marcusgresham

    As much as I want to see Teague in cream and crimson, I almost think this would be better because if he's a good as advertised he may not be in college more than a year. I think Davis should hang around a while.
    I think I'd be pretty happy with that collection you listed, too.

  • DJ5

    Concerns about Marrero's attitude are overblown. Hanging on the rim is the most ridiculous and questionable call out there. His tech in the semistate wasn't so much for taunting another player, as it was for celebrating and inciting the crowd. An “attitude” means that a kid doesn't listen to coaches or complains constantly. Getting a technical for touching the backboard on a block or for celebrating a block is “swagger” which IU hasn't had in some time and probably could use.

  • oldsportsdude

    Shows how smart Purdue fans are they can't even spell it right. Just for your information it is P-U-R-D-U-E. Perdue is a chicken company.

  • Kelin Blab

    I think it is important to keep in mind these are kids, and using the word head case against a sophmore is pretty unfair. A technical foul does not make him a head case….it makes it a technical foul. As far as Marvin Rea, he is the basketball coach and did not create the school, and has a solid reputation in that area on and off the court. Bowman is a legit high school and I don't think for a second Marrero would have a laundry lise of scholarship offers if the school wasn't legit or he was not a good kid.

  • hoosierdaddynow

    Anyone with thoughts on Nic Moore from Warsaw? The press in Fort Wayne loves him, but for his admittedly good high school results. I have not seen how anyone else projects him for college, but understand he has interest (offers?) from Butler and L'Ville. He's short – 5-9. But he's also apparently good (29 in title game). How does he compare with J. Davis? Is he on Crean's radar at all?

  • Kelin Blab

    DJ5 you are 100% correct on the 'swagger' that IU needs. They need to stop being the counter puncher and have some guys that come in and are willing to punch first! Coverdale was a punch first guy, Jordan Crawford was a punch first guy, Elston is a punch first guy….and if Marrero sends a shot into the stands and tells a player to get that sh*t out of here, well next time he will think twice about coming into the lane……

    The problem people have with Marrero and Bowman is, they are a 4a team with D-1 talent playing in 1a……….and you can blame our lovely class system for that.

  • Kelin Blab

    I know IU has some interest, I don't expect them to offer. For 2011 they have teague and J.davis they are going after hard. I know Nic Moore is more of a point guard than the other two, but I think his size may hurt him….although he is a couple of inches shorter than Yogi. I like him, the kid can score and plays with some 'edge' and toughness. You never know……

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com/ Matt_J

    Or the feminine form of “lost” in French…

  • Kelin Blab

    Dave I just heard dakich say on his show…moore does have an offer from IU

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    Not aware of an offer for Moore.

  • Casey

    Per Nic Moore, “nah.”

  • BaseballBuc

    Your right with Bowman playing in the 1a tournament but in their regular season they have beat a ton of 4a powerhouses (that includes their win over Deshaun Thomas's team even though they are 2a). Marrero still dominated those games.

  • Taskmaster75

    If anyone has seen Teague recently, how would you compare him to John Wall in HS?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/G44FMLYIZ4LRONBQFXANGJ56AE Haystacks

    ummmm…im an IU fan making fun of perdue, i always spell it like that, it irritates the hell out of them.

  • oldsportsdude

    Have you went on their web site and saw the meager requirements it takes to pass? As a Ball State graduate I am embarassed they chartered the school. As for all the offers that means little. All the kids who go to Oak Hill Academy get offers too and it is just a basketball school. Marvin Rea has a reputation for recruiting kids to his school. Many coaches in the area are mad that kids who should be at area schools are there. All you guys on the site are wanting IU to get a great recruit you overlook all these things. I want IU to be great again too but not with kids like Marrero.

  • oldsportsdude

    Okay, cool. I was raised 40 miles from Purdue. I hate those farmers. Not all famers as my Dad had a farm, just Purdue ones.

  • Kelin Blab

    Oldsportsdude….a couple of things. Alot of us on this site do want IU to be great again just as you do, but if we are honest with ourselves…NO ONE could care less of the high school coaches reputation. We wanted Greg Oden, didn't care his coach has the same reputation. I would take a kid from Oak Hill in a heart beat. Marvin Rea just as about 80% of high school coaches recruit, one difference is, at charter schools they can do so legally just as magnet schools here in Indy. There are no boundaries with both types of schools and so the coach is working within the system he is given. It is a product of the system.

    When you I don't want kids like Marrero, I don't know what you mean? You cannot count his coaches reputation against him nor the school requirements. What has he done other than receive technical fouls (like Teague, Alford, Oden, etc.) that warrents him not to be an IU recruit. In Muncie…J.Davis got in some trouble as well, should we not recruit him?

    These are kids. Marrero is a Sophmore…a kid. What he offers IU in athletic ability, rebounding, scoring, defensive presence on the wing, and an in-route into the region area far far outweighs the kid receiving technical fouls….

    What is it we are missing?

  • oldsportsdude

    Fine you can have him, but when problems arise don't say I did not tell you so. As to what are you missing? I do not know anything about you but I know a lot about me. Kelin I have spent 57 years with me. I have an unfortunate ability to see the worst in people. what I mean I have met many people and without them doing anything to me or others I detect if they are bad or will be bad. I am almost always right. I sensed this about a guy who started dating a girl I knew in college who had introduced me to my first wife. A few years after they were married he cheated on her, got a girl pregnant, convinced the pregnant girl to get an abortion then was nearly killed by her family. I have this happen all the time. I really wish it didn't and I could see the good in people but I have this uncanny ability. I feel in my heart and in what I sense that he will be a problem. Hell I know coaches recruit some. Marion Crawley in the old days built Lafayette Jeff into a power that way. I just object to a whole team being that way. I think Marerro will turn out to be more trouble than he is worth. I have the right to my opinion and that is that.

  • aceman07

    I would love to get Patterson!!! I'm just throwing my opinion out there because everyone else seems to be doing so. I'd love to get Zeller and Teague next year (now after the tournament I have a better feeling about Zeller) and then at least Ron Patterson in '12 along with at least one other big man from somewhere. I think if IU did this then they'd be in good shape in about the same amount of time it took Baylor to get into good shape.

  • aceman07

    I love Patterson! That kid can freaking jump out of the gym and looks like he has an Eric Gordon type strong body with other skills as well. I would love to see IU move him up their list of targets and really pull out all the stops on that one.

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