Hoosiers host Mercer and Smart for unofficial visits

During IU’s rise back from the depths it found itself in a couple of years ago, Tom Crean found under-recruited players, and turned them into major contributors through strong player development. Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey are just two examples.

Crean seems to be continuing to look for such players, as the Hoosiers got an unofficial visit from Mack Mercer, who is still relatively early in the recruiting process.

Mercer, a class of 2014 forward from Plymouth, Ind., has only three mid-major offers, but a few bigger schools have started to show interest in him.

During his time in Bloomington, the 6-foot-9 Mercer got to watch two workouts, play against the IU players in open gym, take a tour of the facilities, and attend Saturday night’s football game against Indiana State.

“I was really impressed with everything, especially coach Crean,” Mercer said. “He’s just so intense and such a great motivator. I really love that.”

Mercer did not receive a scholarship offer from IU during his visit, but he said Crean told him he was “beyond intrigued.” Mercer said Crean plans to travel to Plymouth to watch him workout and play a few times in the next few months. Mercer currently has offers from Indiana State, Kent State and Ball State, and Notre Dame and Butler have also shown interest.

But if Crean and the Hoosiers were to offer him, Mercer said his decision would be pretty easy to make.

“You can’t get much better than IU in basketball,” he said.

Roosevelt Smart, a guard in the class of 2015 from Palatine, Ill. and a member of the Illinois Wolves AAU program, was also on campus this weekend in Bloomington.

The 6-foot-3 guard does not yet have a scholarship offer, though Illinois and Marquette have shown some interest in the rising sophomore. He could not immediately be reached for comment following his visit.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I would say that chances are Mercer doesn’t get an offer, unless we miss out on some guys that are probably higher on Crean’s list. Seems like a good guy, just probably won’t get an offer. I don’t know about Smart though, a 6’3″ lead guard who is only an incoming sophomore has potential. I guess we’ll see where that goes.

  • Kelin Blab

    Crean has had some success with under the radar guys and It would be stupid of him to abandon that and just look at the highest of highest rankings.

    Unless you go the kentucky route, You have to have guys who can develop in your program like Will, VO, Remy for example.

    Having said that Mercer looks to be very athletic and a 6’9 frosh will continue to grow.

  • TJ91

    Mercer is probably not going to get an offer from IU. Also, he is not a freshman, he is a junior. Unless he develops some great skill moves down low, he will go to a respectable mid major (off athleticism and height alone).

  • Kelin Blab

    6’9 guys don’t necessarily have to play down low anymore and those things can develop in college just as Watford has and Zeller is having to do. I would not rule out an offer as a ‘probably not’.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Elite programs don’t grab “above average” athletes and let them develop; they grab great athletes or great skill guys or both. That’s why Mercer will most likely end up at a mid major.

  • VerdellJonesIV

    We may have forgotten ourselves, but I’m glad CTC hasn’t forgotten that there’s always Gordon Hayward’s and Dwayne Wade’s out there that don’t get much recruiting attention just because they didn’t blow up skill wise when they’re 15 or 16.

  • Pritch24

    I completely agree. We’re not at the point yet where we can go and get 3 top 10 guys and call it a year. We have to make a living on Sheehey’s and Oladipo’s and then sprinkle in a few Yogi’s and Cody’s. That’s been the formula, albeit last year, for success in the past few years for national champions and Coach Crean is doing a great job of it.

  • Kelin Blab

    Elite Programs don’t grab above average athletes and let them develop….
    + Darius Miller Kentucky
    + Christian Watford Indiana
    + Draymond Green MSU
    +

    That is a quick 3 from elite programs. I am sure there are many many others. Not sure who declared this kid an above average athlete….which is NOT a bad thing. There are far few great athletes like Zeller than above average.

    At 6’9 with the ability to face up and put it on the floor I trust Crean in this one and looking at his skill set a lot more closely than any of us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dbspoonemore David Bradley Spoonemore

    What happened to “Recruit Indiana FIRST” philosophy. Seems we`re getting a little big-headed awfully quick!!!

  • Pritch24

    CTC is DEFINITELY recruiting Indiana first, however when players like Gary Harris and Mitch McGary (not really an Indiana kid I guess) chose to go elsewhere, we also have to find players elsewhere, most notably the DMV as of late.

  • TJ91

    You mean Darius Miller, the 33rd ranked player in the nation his senior year? CWat (#34)? Draymond at 36?

    You just named solid 4-star, borderline 5-star recruits, and compared them to Mercer. So obviously the talent of those players made up for their “above average” athletic ability.

    And I declared him an above average athlete from having seen him play 10+ times. I never said it was a bad thing, it was simply an observation.

  • Kelin Blab

    We were not talking rankings but your statement of programs grabbing great athletes or great skill guys. The three I mentioned all developed while at their programs. Green battled weight issues, Miller tried to develop a solid role, and Watford struggled with athleticism and finding his game. I just think, as someone else mentioned you have to have a combination of those great skill guys but also guys that you will develop in your program like….Oladipo, Watford, Sheehey, Abell, Perea, and Jurkin.

    Mercer could absolutely be one of those guys.

  • Kelin Blab

    Mercer is a prime example of recruit Indiana first given he is flying under the radar some….agree with you 100%

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Yes, developing players is a big part of a program, at any level. What I was suggesting is elite programs usually grab phenomenal athletes if they have to develop the amount of skill Mercer still needs to develop. Elite programs frequently grab guys like Miller and Green because they are above average skills wise, making up for even the slightest deficiency in athleticism.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    All of your examples fall in to the “above average skill guys”. Those frequent elite programs. There’s a notable difference between them and Mercer.

  • jaypay23

    I think it’s time to stop offering guys like Mercer and start going after 4 or 5 star recruits. I mean there is no reason why we can’t recruit like North Carolina or Duke. We have the tradition and we are # 1. Every year we should have at least one five star recruit coming in.

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