Maurice Aniefiok “very interested” in IU, according to coach

As we reported on Twitter earlier this afternoon, Indiana coach Tom Crean was in Huntington, West Virginia today to scout 2011 Huntington Prep guard Maurice Aniefiok.

The 6-5, 220-pound senior came to the United States last August from Nigeria and is drawing interest from Duquesne, Mississippi, UCLA, USC, Arizona State and Baylor. Aniefiok had been considered a heavy lean to West Virginia, but the two parted ways in January.

Aniefiok, who is not ranked by Scout.com or Rivals.com, described himself as a combo guard that can do a bit of everything.

“In between shot, 3-pointer I can knock down, rebound, if I get a free lane I flush down with a dunk,” he said. “A little bit of everything. I won’t really say I’m a two-guard or one. I’m more of a combo guard.”

Rob Fulford, Aniefiok’s coach at Huntington Prep, offered a similar assessment and also added that Aniefiok’s body fat is less than three percent.

“He’s a catch-and-shoot guy, he’s a rebounder, he’s a physically imposing guard,” Fulford told Inside the Hall’s Zach Osterman. “He can get his own shot, he can catch and shoot. He’s a very good offensive rebounding guard, he’s a very good defensive rebounding guard.”

Aniefiok has not been offered a scholarship by Indiana and said he does not have a timetable on when he might decide on a school. The spring signing period begins on April 13.

“I have to sit down with some people and discuss it,” he said. “They are not going to influence me on where I am supposed to go or where not to go. I’m going to take my visits and when I’m done taking my visits, then we’ll sit down and make a decision. But I’m going to be the one making the decision.”

As for his interest in the Hoosiers, Fulford believes it is significant, but said the Hoosier staff might want to see Aniefiok in a game before deciding whether to offer a scholarship.

“He’s obviously very interested. All of this has kind of come quick,” Fulford said. “I think he (Crean) may want to see him play in a game. Bennie (Seltzer) was in to see him play last week. He (Crean) came in, and Maurice played the same today as he played when Bennie was here.”

  • MillaRed

    Sorry to go off topic here but I just got back from Bloomington. These are a few things I took note of.

    Pre-game – Started out with wings at Yogi’s. Good as ever. The AH crowd really seems to love Crean. He shakes a lot of hands. The “sell-out” crowd actually seated like 80-85%. Not sure what the final numbers were but some of the students definitely bailed.

    In-game – you saw it, no need to go here.

    Post game – Pizza at Nick’s. DJ White was two tables away and graciously shook our hands.

    I was reading the minute after and Zach’s piece on Crean and wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

    First of all, as we wandered around Bloomington, I would certainly say IU fans young and old are concerned about CTC’s coaching. We heard it all night long. I mean ALL night long. I am simply a messenger here folks. I understand it was after a loss, but the theme was clear. Many concerns and not once did we hear praise. So we can talk in here all we want but the concerns are out there. I heard them with my own ears.

    The main complaint was that we had an entire week to prepare for NW. We are in a situation where we needed a win, and we had 6 days for NW at home and came out an played like it was 2009 again. People did not dig it. Regardless of how the players did, how we coached/prepared it doesn’t matter. We completely laid an egg.

    I see both sides of the IU story right now. Crean needs his recruits vs. Crean has coaching issues. As I listened to the post game I really did think he was deflecting all of this on the players. I asked myself, “even if this were true, is it appropriate to continually go public with this?” I mean, we don’t do this in a workplace environment. Personally I don’t think it spells
    “team” when you are pointing fingers at the players and suggesting your week of practice and game plan were flawless. But that’s just me and opinion.

  • Anonymous

    I think the biggest differences was Jefferies/Newton in addition with Odle – we were rebounding machines down low – out rebounded Duke in that game significantly, not to mention Jefferies being a solid go to man in the paint on offense

  • Anonymous

    I think fans in general can be fickle. Winning makes you a great coach, losing makes you an idiot. Even Knight had seasons at the end where people were questioning him despite his championship banners.

    I think the one thing that can really hurt the IU program this season is fans and media giving up on Crean. Yahoo!’s basketball homepage this morning is a “Patience waning” with a photo of Crean. If that starts creeping up with fans and the media then it will kill recruiting, and thus doom our future. Talented players won’t sign if they don’t think the coach will still be around.

  • MillaRed

    I’m curious DS, what are your thoughts on the week of preparation and the result?

    I am in no way ready to even suggest we need a change. But I might be falling into the “patience waning” category. When I look back, I thought we would have a better product on the floor at this stage.

    I do think this team has talent. As much or more than teams we are losing to. Some have mentioned “the players are not responding to him.” Who does that responsibility fall back on? The players? If I am managing 15 people and they are not responding to me, and the product is unsatisfactory, that falls back on me right?

    These are the questions that linger at this stage. I would also say in some circles the “patience waning” has already settled in, a little, not much. Still yet I don’t think this will affect our recruits. If they expected a lot more out of this team upon verbalizing I would be surprised.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately I thinks its starting to happen. It’s the lack of adjustments/changes. I just feel like I continue to watch the same thing night in and night out. After most losses people on here continue to post the same concerns. My issue is that nothing seems to change despite losing and I’m just a confused fan.

  • MillaRed

    I think there are a few basic questions that when answered honestly suggest there is at least mild concern. To say otherwise I just don’t think is responsible. There just hasn’t been much accomplished here, at IU at this juncture.

    You answered one already. Adjustments. We seem to be watching the same movie over and over.

    Game planning/preparation. The first half of this game was not worthy of a Big Ten team. All I really want is to compete for 40 minutes. Once again the fans were buzzing when the offense completely stalled. Not fun to watch.

    I am having a hard time buying into the “we don’t have players” bit anymore. On any given day Jordy, Verdell, CWat, Pritch, Elston, Will, VO can absolutely shine. But we can never get 2-4 of them to play to their abilities in a single game. I know that isn’t always possible but I think it is more possible than we think. I like our players.

    Don’t get me wrong. No falling skies, no standing on ledges etc. I just thought we would be better. That is all.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    That’s what I think too. That’s why I said more likely coming off the bench to be Zellers backup at the 4.

  • Anonymous

    I think we did have 2-4 of those players playing to their abilities in a few games this season and it included victories over two top 25 teams. What changed in those games? For a small stretch this season I was excited about the progress and then just like that its gone. If those were the only games where players just decided to show up (which I don’t think is the case) then why did they decide to show up in those game? It’s just something Crean needs to really look and figure out “why” and make decisions based off it, because in the end, only wins keep job security and he’s going to need to figure this out and maybe make some tough decisions or he shouldn’t be surprised by the results.

    …….so much for the Aniefiok discussion.

  • Anonymous

    BTW – during the game I remember one possession where our shot clock was running out and that was the most disgruntled countdown with 5 seconds left on the shot clock I have ever heard from a fan base. It was like 5-”hurry up”-4-”what are you doing”-3-”ugggghhh”-2-”you get the point”…..the mood changed slightly when he made it though

  • Anonymous

    BTW – during the game I remember one possession where our shot clock was running out and that was the most disgruntled countdown with 5 seconds left on the shot clock I have ever heard from a fan base. It was like 5-”hurry up”-4-”what are you doing”-3-”ugggghhh”-2-”you get the point”…..the mood changed slightly when he made it though

  • MillaRed

    Aniefok, yes sorry. I made it back late and missed out a bit.

    IU is in danger of finishing with a worse Big Ten record than it did last year. Not sure that is a sign of improvement. Keep in mind, no Creek last year in Big Ten play. Throw in the cake-like pre-season schedule and the “we have improved” argument is officially up for discussion.

  • MillaRed

    I was in section C and about 30 of us were screaming “timeout!” at the 1:30 mark so we could set up a play. We eventually got one. Ugh! is right.

  • Anonymous

    I think we have, just much slower than most here would have liked. Last year we got blown out a ton, and had a tough time even being competitive game in and game out. This year we have been competitive in almost every game (save for a few — at Iowa, OSU and at NW come to mind), but have had problems getting over the hump and winning the close games. I’m hoping next year we’ll be over that hump and win more close games than we lose, and get to the next step, which is winning on the road…

  • MillaRed

    I agree Jungle. We def were getting thumped for a good stretch last year. About 17ppg there for a while.

    I just wish we were not completely anemic in a few of these games in the first half. The “near comebacks” would translate into “comeback wins.”

  • Anonymous

    The way we come out in the 1st half has been a problem all year, and I have no idea why we haven’t figured out that we need to play with urgency from the opening tip…

    Anyways, I too think we should be better than 3-11. But I do take solace in the fact that I think we really are close. It doesn’t change anything, but: if we don’t completely collapse in the final 10 minutes against Iowa, if we hit our FT’s at the end of the MSU game, then we’re 5-9 today, maybe feeling better…just have to learn to consistently execute at the end of games (and not bury ourselves in a hole in the 1st 10 minutes of games…)

  • Anonymous

    Sure it is up for discussion, but I think it is pretty evident that this team is better than last year’s squad.

    Last season, we lost 13 games by more than 15 points! Four of those games were in Bloomington. Wisconsin beat us by 60 points in two games (32 @ home). Teams we beat once in conference would come back to SMOKE us (MN lost by 23 in second game; UM lost by 24 in 2nd game).

    We have lost only twice this season by more than 15 points (@ KY in a game that was close for 35 minutes; OSU).

    I know no one likes moral victories, but we have been very competitive against better teams this year than we were last year. We played BC, @ MN, @ Wisc and @ MSU and each game was in doubt until the very end. We have lost games @ MN with players named Henderson, Calbert and Bailey…it isn’t surprising to lose with guys named Hulls, Watford and Sheehey.

    I think if this year’s club played last year’s club, this year’s team would win by double digits.

    Hopefully next season, the games we are losing in the last 3 minutes are games we can win. My point is that the improvement this year is not as tangible as we would like, but it is improvement nonetheless.

  • Anonymous

    Kirk Haston; now there you go. We can want all the Odles and Fifes in the world (and don’t get me wrong, I loved both of them,) but you give this current team a Kirk Haston and it’s a tournament team. Damn, I miss that guy!

  • MillaRed

    Let me re-phrase that. The seats were empty the entire game. And we thought they were student seats. We were in C and it was pretty much on the opposite side of The Hall.

    Anyway, it wasn’t a shot at the students at all. There were empty seats everywhere and the weather was great. For a sellout crowd I thought it was a little empty.

  • MillaRed

    Good grief dude. The comment itself deserves a look in your mirror. This is what I saw and heard in Bloomington and there were 3 others with me hearing the same conversations.

    Honestly, I was being generous. The students were ripping him apart with profanity.

    If you are not buying the fact i have high hopes for Crean then so be it. I’m not going to dance in the rain for anybody.

  • MillaRed

    I think the 2011-2012 season really tells us what is going on. I just think we have to have a winning record. What has happened the last two seasons won’t cut it IMO.

    I thought we would be better than this in 2010 but we were not. I’m not losing any sleep because I knew it wouldn’t be a huge leap anyway.

    Let’s hope we are not having this conversation this time next year.

  • MillaRed

    The over and over you mention is happening on the court Mike. People comment on it all the time.

    Many of us were on here this time last season saying this would not be acceptable next year. Apparently it is. Frankly I’m sympathizing with that. Not thrilled about it but I think we need more time.

    If we are having this conversation next year, we are flying blind. We cannot accept a losing mentality moving forward.

    When I walked out of the game in the halls, I did not like the look on the Hoosier faithful faces. We looked like losing was OK. “Another loss ho hum.” Sorry but that is just unacceptable moving forward.

  • Anonymous

    Any ideas as to why WVU moved on to another kid ?

  • Anonymous

    Coverdale, oddly enough, benefited from having Knight and then Davis as did Fife IMHO. They had the all the basics taught them and taught to them in a top notch manner. Neither player would have been the all round player that they turned out to be without having had to learn all the basics and then being in a position of being able to let the game flow out of them freely and without the fear of being jerked out of the game and embarrassed on national TV.

  • Anonymous

    I sure hope that he is the one with the ball and not the one doing the guarding.

  • Dannon Brown

    my guess would be we will not offer him until Harris and or Hallowell make a decision. That is just my opinion, if they go elsewhere this kid will get an offer.

  • millzy32

    Just making a point here but Crean was only in the Big East for 3 years and finished no higher than tied for Fourth in the conference and no lower than tied for 5th. He had one first place when in Conference USA with DWade.

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

    Aniefiok will decide this spring. Hollowell already said he wants to take his official visits in the fall and Harris doesn’t appear close to a decision.

  • Anonymous

    In response to your question, I don’t worry about it too much. I’m not at practice or in the locker room. I have no idea what the coaching staff is focusing on, how well the players are executing a particular gameplan, or whatever else may or may not be going on behind the scenes.

    We have some young talent, but this season every Big Ten schools has some. We both know what’s gone on with injuries and eligibility.

    We’re a couple of baskets from being in that mess of teams in the middle of the standings. We’re also a couple of baskets away from being 1-13. I don’t think a season like this one is made or wasted by a few plays.

    At some point this program is going to have to win. There will need to be results on the court. But, for me, I didn’t think this was the year.

    I know you’re just reporting what you’ve heard, I don’t recall any of your posts calling for anyone’s head. But I know what you’re saying, I’ve heard it as well.

  • Anonymous

    As Alex pointed out above, Harris and Hollowell have another year or so to decide. Aniefiok will be starting college classes 6 months or so, he can’t wait.

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