The Inside the Hall Mailbag: August 12

060513jcxcThe Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@Justin_Albers or @insidethehall) and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

@jaktucke writes: Do you think CTC needs to adjust his strategy toward recruiting, esp regarding early offers? #iubb #ITHMailbag

There’s been a lot of discussion about this since Blackmon Jr.’s decommitment, but quite frankly, I don’t think he needs to adjust anything. The simple fact is if you want to be a player on some of the nation’s top recruits, you need to start early on some of them. Coaching staffs go into it with the mindset that some early offers will pan out and some won’t. That’s just how it is. Some kids will undoubtedly become stagnant in their development due to the early attention, and others will continue to work. Just because Trey Lyles and James Blackmon Jr. decommitted after making early commitments early doesn’t mean Crean and his staff did anything wrong or should change their approach going forward. It happens. If Eron Gordon commits tomorrow, I don’t think anyone’s going to complain.

The “how early is too early” discussion is one we’ll continue to have down the road because the recruiting process is going to continue to start earlier and earlier. By definition, the NCAA considers seventh and eighth graders recruitable prospects. — Justin Albers

@NoahWhyde writes: No chance at Blackmon?

I won’t say no chance, but it’s definitely a long shot. Less than 24 hours after James Blackmon Jr. announced his decision to reopen his recruitment, he had an offer from John Calipari and Kentucky. His father played there, and I think there’s a good chance he’ll end up in Lexington. Plus, it seems Indiana is moving on from Blackmon Jr., given their pitch to Brooklyn guard Isaiah Whitehead. — Justin Albers

@All_Hoosiers writes: What are #iubb’s realistic chances to land Whitehead? Any prediction on what the 2014 recruiting class will look like?

Even though they’re getting in late, the Hoosiers are a factor in Whitehead’s recruitment. He hadn’t ever heard from Indiana coach Tom Crean before getting a phone call on Friday, but the two talked for almost an hour and Whitehead has significant interest in the program. He plans to take an official visit to Bloomington next month. Whitehead is the type of kid that definitely noticed the Hoosiers put two players in the top four of June’s NBA Draft. Getting to the NBA is his No. 1 priority for selecting a college, so I think Indiana will be a major player with him.

As far as what the 2014 recruiting class will look like, that’s a little harder to answer. I do think Indiana is in great shape with big man Michael Humphrey and guard Robert Johnson. Indiana also seems to be in good shape with guys like Quentin Snider, Whitehead and LeRon Black, who will reportedly visit next month. I see it as a three-player class. — Justin Albers

@JenGawne writes: Is it (recruiting) this much of a roller coaster every year?

Not this much of a roller coaster because you don’t always have a decommitment, but ups and downs are typical of the recruiting trail. That’s just how it is. You’re going to win some and lose some. — Justin Albers

@Rich_Park writes: What are the odds we get Stephen Zimmerman? Haven’t seen his name thrown around IU recruiting discussions.

It’s still really early in the game for Zimmerman, especially as it pertains to Indiana. The Hoosiers didn’t offer until July, and he continues to be suited by many of the nation’s top programs. Indiana’s development of Cody Zeller should help with the pursuit of Zimmerman, but it’s far too early in the process to give any sort of accurate odds on the Hoosiers landing him. — Justin Albers

@hoopstrainer writes: It seems combo guard is a priority. Who is the priority for 2014? Exum, Johnson, Whitehead, or other?

I don’t know that there’s any one “priority” in the 2014 class. Exum is a priority, but his stock in the 2014 NBA Draft is rising. At this point, I’ll say Robert Johnson is the Hoosiers’ guard priority. He will take a visit to Bloomington in less than two weeks. — Justin Albers

@jusgolds writes: Any idea when the schedule will be released?

Watch for it sometime later in August once the Big Ten schedule is released. Indiana plans to release the rest of its’ non-conference games at that time. — Justin Albers

@scottybower writes: Which IUBB targets have said when they would announce?

That’s a hard one to answer because you never quite know when a kid will commit. He may say one thing, be blown away by a visit, and then change his timetable. Troy Williams was that way last year. With that said, Whitehead, Johnson, Snider and Humphrey have all said they plan to decide by November. Exum will likely take a little longer, if he decides to attend college. — Justin Albers

@JasonGBrewer writes: Do you think fan posts on social media really has any impact (positive or negative) on recruits?

I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think it has a major impact. Attention from fans on Twitter, positive or negative, may be a small factor at times — Indiana recruits always mention the fans — but I doubt that’s one of the major things they consider when making their decision. — Justin Albers

@FireJoelOsteen writes: With Blackmon out, Ahmed Hill should be more interested in IU, but the offer to Whitehead suggests he is not. Thoughts?

Great point. We hadn’t heard much about him lately, so I got in touch with Hill on Sunday afternoon. He said he still hears from Indiana, but not as much as before. He had previously mentioned Indiana as one of the four schools pursuing him the hardest. Hill said Crean texted him after Blackmon Jr. decommitted to ask if he was still serious about the Hoosiers. His response: “Of course. Since day one.”

He told me he doesn’t yet know if he will take a visit to Bloomington, but didn’t know Whitehead had been offered. My guess is Crean and his staff have been intrigued by Whitehead’s strong summer and he has passed Hill on their wish list. Just a guess, but that’s my take. — Justin Albers

HoosierAsh (forum subscriber) writes: What are the chances of IU getting seriously involved with Bryant McIntosh from Greensburg and is IU recruiting Tucker Blackwell at all at this point?

Indiana has contacted McIntosh, but have not yet offered him a scholarship. I think he’s probably a guy they wait on to see how things develop at this point, but the Hoosiers would be a major player in his recruitment if they do offer. — Justin Albers

  • SCHoosier

    great recruiters at other schools with equally iimpressive crednetials and final four appearances…all of which make the “grass look greener”..if you know what I mean. Discouraging and frustrating…but IU is no longer an automatic designation for the top players in the schools own state. that’s what 6-7 years of being in B-ball hell (which IU was) will do for y ou.

  • WisconHoosier

    . . . and showed that he fully recovered from the knee surgery.

  • WisconHoosier

    Sure wish we’d had Rick Fox (Warsaw) and Eric Montross (Indy) way back when. Together they had North Carolina in the Final Four (’91), then Montross won a NCAA championship with them in ’93.

    Montross and Alan Henderson at IU at the same time. Wow. Heck, Henderson not injured might have meant a banner.

    Oh, well.

  • IUMIKE1

    EXACTLY !

  • GoIU811

    Ok but what I don’t understand is Kentucky’s recruiting class for this year, for example. UK has what 6-7, 5 star recruits coming in. Only 5 can play at once so that means 1 or 2 aren’t going to be able to start, get the playing time, or exposure they might have got had they picked another school where they could have started and possibly been the star on that team. These are high school kids who for the most part think they are the best player in the nation and are very high on themselves. (Not that they shouldn’t be). So it really doesn’t make sense to me that these caliber of recruits are willing to go sit the bench (or at least not get to start) and get the NBA exposure they so desperately want. That has been my biggest question mark the past year or so.

  • Tucson Hoosier

    I feel your frustration…

  • Corey Dunigan

    This sounds pro pUKe, pro revenue generation, pro stay away from the atmosphere of Assembly Hall because its a really scary place.

    I wish college athletics could miraculously find its way back to how it I imagine it started. Actual college kids play for actual colleges.

    There are many aspects of college life that make the experience a worthwhile one. You get to learn and experience new things. You get to learn in class (if you actually are in a situation where you need to go to go class) and experience new things (parties, new friends, women, athletic events). Mr. Downey I’m not sure if you were lucky enough to go to college but I was a lucky one. I was lucky enough to attend IU and spend my glory years in Bloomington Indiana and I got to experience all those things. I can’t begin to tell you how great ASSEMBLY HALL was to that college experience. Please help us keep the facade of college sports alive in its most basic form. Real college students playing on actual college campuses in front of their fellow students. Maybe you prefer a different place on the map, not a lot of room here. Try going south of the Indiana state line. Or just stay where are….

  • BrianS

    I’ve always leery of guys with a skunk stripe.

  • MattMan

    Yeah, I’m thinking it’s the “greener grass” wink, wink.

  • MattMan

    Yeah, I’m thinking it’s the “greener grass” wink, wink.

  • GoIU811

    Agree with this comment fully except that grabbing two guards will fill out our needs for 2014. Definitely think team needs to sign another big man down low. Goodluck or Humphrey would great, would take either in a heartbeat.

  • David James Downey

    Theoretically UK could reach out to Purdue or Butler to play there as well so UK could still get that presence in Indiana by playing at Lucas Oil without IU. The proximity of UK in the area is such that it is a neglible advantage recruiting wise in my view. But that is a reason that IU may not wish to play UK there but is willing to play other teams in Indy.

  • David James Downey

    Theoretically UK could reach out to Purdue or Butler to play there as well so UK could still get that presence in Indiana by playing at Lucas Oil without IU. The proximity of UK in the area is such that it is a neglible advantage recruiting wise in my view. But that is a reason that IU may not wish to play UK there but is willing to play other teams in Indy.

  • David James Downey

    Generating revenue is kind of important with athletic department budgets what they are. There are non-revenue athletes who need scholarships, there is Title IX to address, facility upkeep, etc. Self-sustaining athletic departments keep costs down for tax payers so that is a good thing.
    I loved my college time and while I have only watched games played at Assembly Hall on tv, I have no doubt the special feelings you have for that arena.
    I love your phrase “the facade of college sports”. It is the truest part of your statement. Nothing was pure sense Adam and Eve ate the apple. Frank Capra movies should have taught you that. Still talking about real college students playing in real college arenas in front of their peers is a very hollow statement. If that is true IU would never have lead the charge to the Big 4 in the 1980s, played a single game in neutral arenas or played in the post season as those games are played in front of far more than fellow college students.

  • walton

    I think us IU fans put the program in a greater image than people outside. Before last year I think a lot of people out there didn’t think much of IU at all. Nationally they kind have been out of it for a while. Then last year they pretty much disappointed in the tournament. IU still has some way to go to get that old national presence back. To me that is understandable seeing the destruction from denim and even the mild mediocrity from before that. IT TAKES TIME; I think Crean still understands that, but he may be ran out before he sees it happen.

  • walton

    “Getting to the NBA is his No. 1 priority for selecting a college”. I am still weary about comments like these from recruits. What happened to academics, the college experience, growing as a person? Isn’t college still supposed to be about education — or is it just about getting someone prepared for a profession post college?

  • lolman

    Do you want top recruits or not? College is about education for those who don’t have the opportunity to play professional basketball, football and baseball. If you’re a top level recruit with the opportunity to make millions professionally or possibly make 40k with a college degree what would you do?

  • calbert40

    I think both of you are right. Indiana is a blue blood program. We expect a lot, and rightly so, out of our program. However, I think we do elevate the program above where some outsiders (especially recruits) would place us nationally.

    It has been over 25 years since our last national title, and we haven’t made the Final Four in a decade. Most of the 16 and 17 year olds who we are recruiting have no recollection of either event. Obviously, there is more to recruiting than those items (facilities, staff, exposure, fan base, etc) and we have all of those things is spades. Still, I think if we objectively look at our place on the national stage today, it isn’t in the top 10.

    I think this is where the disconnect in the fanbase is in regards to CTC. Those of us (counting myself in this group) who believe CTC has done a great job getting out of the shadow of the Sampson era and back into the national spotlight defend him, because I feel we are more realistic with current expectations. Those who are less than pleased with CTC view him as disappointing, because “this is Indiana,” and we win conference titles and make Final Fours. His success in bringing us from the brink is noted, but not given the accolades that those of us in the first group believe is deserved.

  • calbert40

    RE: keeping Indiana players – personally, I think that is one of the most overrated aspects of recruiting. Sure, we’d love to lock up the borders, but at the same time, if we truly view our program as “legendary,” we should be able to recruit outside of our little box of Indiana.

    There is a really long list of IU greats and nearly-greats who came here from outside of our own borders (White, Guyton, Haston, Oladipo, etc). I think we all agree that our program is better for having them wear the candy stripes than it would be if we missed out on them. The point is that we want recruits who understand what it means to be an Indiana basketball player. If they come from Alabama, Illinois, Tennessee, Maryland…or Indiana…the location of their upbringing matters less than the quality of them as individuals and basketball players.

  • Outoftheloop

    You are “missing” the uncertainties of life. You flirt with a girl in the hallway, it seems great. You ask her out and she says no. You date a girl for two years and it seems great. The next week she wants to “date around”. I think that Coach Crean found what he wanted, what he can always trust, in Joani, Every other relationship, especially in recruiting 16-19 year old highly talented boys, is “problematic”. Enjoy the ride!

  • Outoftheloop

    Isiah Thomas.

  • Outoftheloop

    Michael this is no criticism of you, but of all of us, myself included. We act like recruiting is a unilateral agreement. In poker you can “double down”, it is 100% your decision. But in recruiting the other party has to say yes. All you can do is to have a great program, a great school, all of the resources for success, a history of success, be honest and sincere, and work hard. AND you must have back-up Plans B,C, D, E, F, … just in case!

  • BlakeD1223

    That will preach!

    I’ve been saying it for awhile now. If you don’t want us then we don’t want you. I would think that Blackmon would get a lot of pressure from his friends, family and classmates to play at Indiana since he’s from here but apparently that’s not enough.

  • walton

    I want top recruits but I still would like to see some more integrity as an institution for education which is what college is. Stuff like this turns school into something that has nothing to do with education. Athletics should be part of college not above. I also didn’t mean to bash on whitehead; this is common everywhere -> its the idea that bugs me.

  • Ole Man

    Of course, I also sometimes would benefit from taking my own advice about chilling out!

  • walton

    Well said. I can see your point about there being different groups of fans. There is a split of expectations. Hopefully IU can get back to the days of Final Fours and Championships and then we’d all be on the same level again.

  • calbert40

    This is actually a good point. Losing out on the best in-state recruits isn’t a new phenomenon isolated to the CTC era. Knight lost out on a lot of them too. Actually, during the Knight era, only 12 Indiana Mr. Basketballs came to IU. That’s more than any single school, but it isn’t like they all came in droves to Bloomington.

  • hoosier1158

    Cal wants to play in Indy so his team can get exposure to the high school basketball talent there. There is no city in the country with better basketball talent. IU doesn’t need that game anymore. Let’s sign a contract with U of L. I like both schools but would like to see them play basketball and football.

  • That One Guy

    Good luck with that.

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