Recruiting rewind: Johnson calls IU visit one of his “best experiences”

071413Robert Johnson returned home to Richmond, Va., from his official visit to Indiana late Monday night and on Tuesday afternoon, he provided a brief, but telling, comment on his first official visit.

“It was one of the best experiences I ever had,” Johnson, the first of IU’s 2014 targets to take a fall official visit, told Inside the Hall.

In the days leading up to the trip, Johnson and his father, Robert Sr., wouldn’t rule out a commitment while in Bloomington, but the older Johnson was also specific about many of the things he was hoping to see on any visit.

The detailed list of factors, which included education, graduation rate, the program’s culture and the environment, have all been strong suits for the IU program since Tom Crean took over in the spring of 2008.

The Hoosiers put on the full court press on Johnson beginning in July, when Crean was able to see Johnson average 20.2 points and shoot 46.2 percent on 3-pointers at the Nike Peach Jam.

In July at the Nike Global Challenge, Johnson said style of play would weigh heavily into choosing a school.

“Just somewhere I would fit style of play-wise and go in and have an opportunity to play,” he said. “Where they let their guards play. Ball screens, high-tempo offense, things like that.”

Whitehead eyeing return visit to Bloomington?

Isaiah Whitehead, the No. 35 player nationally in the class of 2014 according to ESPN.com, completed his unofficial visit to Indiana on Monday night.

According to Zagsblog.com, Whitehead, who is a guard at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, will take additional visits and Indiana looks like a strong bet to receive an official.

“It went very well,” Whitehead’s high school coach, “Tiny” Morton told Zagsblog. “There were a lot of questions answered. It was a great visit. I’m assuming he is going to take an official.”

Other schools that could get a visit from Whitehead include Louisville, Minnesota, Seton Hall, Syracuse and UCLA.

Hurt sets official visit to Indiana

Northwest Florida State College center Stephen Hurt will take an official visit to Indiana on Sept. 21, his fourth scheduled visit this fall.

Hurt, the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year last season at Lipscomb, averaged 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds before transferring to Northwest Florida after a coaching change.

He also has visits scheduled for Kansas State on Aug. 30, Miami (FL) on Sept. 6 and Wichita State on Sept. 13. Hurt took an unofficial visit to Indiana in June.

Battle on Indiana’s campus

Class of 2016 five-star guard Tyus Battle of Gill St. Bernard’s in New Jersey began an unofficial visit on Tuesday that will last through Thursday night, when IU football opens its season at Memorial Stadium against Indiana State.

It’s the second trip for Battle to Indiana, who also visited in February for the Michigan game.

In July, Indiana tracked Battle heavily, and he told Inside the Hall at the Live In AC event in Galloway, N.J., that IU and Villanova were the two schools recruiting him the hardest.

“Great school, good development, how they developed [Victor] Oladipo and all,” Battle said. “And a great, great coach. I think they can make me a lot better, stronger, quicker, faster.”

Hill includes Indiana in his final five

Ahmed Hill, a class of 2014 guard from Augusta, Ga., trimmed his list to five on Tuesday and Indiana made the cut, along with Florida, Florida State, Marquette and Missouri.

“Of those five schools, me and the head coach have a great relationship, they’re basketball schools, and I think that I can help them out tremendously and I’d fit into their program,” Hill told Inside the Hall of the finalists.

He’s expected to take official visits to all five finalists, but said that Florida, Marquette and Missouri are recruiting him hardest right now.

One of the main reasons Indiana has stood out in his recruitment, according to Hill, is because Crean came to watch him work out on the first day coaches were allowed on the road last fall.

Hill plans to sign in the fall.

  • bluesy

    What’s the matter? Aren’t you open to any objective information? I not only put myself through IU, but my kids as well. I don’t need lectures from anyone about IU strengths. But if you don’t think schools like North Carolina and UVA are serious competition for our targets, you are living in a dream world.

  • IUMIKE1

    Let me preface this comment with, I would still like for JBjr to sign, stay & succeed at IU. Now…yes I think it is more than likely a PR move as well, not so much the MSU one, but the IU one I feel pretty confident about.

    Like the SMU & pUKe analogy. FITS !

  • metalhead65

    I really hope these guys commit before blackman makes his announcement so IU can say we do not have any scholarships available and we don’t need you now.

  • Jerry Smith

    Blackmon left because he couldn’t get anyone to come to Indiana and play with him. Trey Lyles and Jaquan Lyle both said no. CTC failed Blackmon.

  • bluesy

    Forget Blackmon. He’s not coming to IU. We’re looking at players as good or better. I’d rather have Whitehouse than Blackmon anyway.

  • Rie

    Whitehead*

  • Rie

    Yeah the fake curriculum and PJ Hariston fiasco is a stain. UNC had, and still has, the opportunity to make up for the second one. What action they take will be very telling of their priorities.

  • Rie

    Failed Blackmon? The only thing that was failed was a young man’s ability to keep his word. So who gets the blame for that? Certainly not Crean. You join a school because of its history and what it offers, not because your high school buddies could maybe go there three to four years down the road.

    This comment is so naïve.

  • Hoosierfan inTexas

    I know we all think pUKe is paying their players, and there was definitely some shay stuff that went down with Lyles. Blackmon, from what I understand, has a doctor Mom so I am pretty darn sure that $$ is not the lure for him. Playing where his dad played is probably very appealing. (I know my kids talk about when they grow up and go to IU all the time- it’s our family’s school.)
    I just feel bad for a kid that would rather go to a school where they don’t know his name (Larry Blackmon) and where he probably will sit behind some more NBA ready players.
    …but that’s just me, and JBJ has yet to ask for my opinion ;)

  • Rie

    I, for one, do not think they pay their players. They just have a culture that purely values basketball and nothing else. If a kids priority is exposure and the ability to inflate their draft value, I cannot fully blame them for their decision. I am also in Texas btw, was hoping there would be a game around here… too bad.

  • metalhead65

    if he is the kind of player who can’t make the players around him better or lift the team up himself then IU doesn’t need him. if he is as good as he and the experts say he is then that should not be a problem. zeller came in without any other superstar prospects and made everybody around him better and turned the program around.

  • Jennifer G

    true

  • calbert40

    He very well may choose to go to UNC. UNC obviously has strong tradition, but so does IU, so tradition probably is cancelled out. So far as who is more likely to win an NCAA title over the next 4 years, I think IU has every bit as much chance as UNC.

    There are two things that separate the two schools. 1) location – this is probably an advantage for UNC, and 2) program culture, education, graduation rates, etc – this is an advantage for IU. Even a UNC fan has to acknowledge that there are some unsavory things hanging over the program currently.

    I’d say IU has every bit as much chance to land him as UNC does. Should be an interesting recruiting battle.

  • calbert40

    I don’t think anyone would argue with you that UNC is a quality state-run school. IU is also. So far as which is “better,” (if we have to have that argument) it really depends on what your field of study would be.

    However, concerning Johnson’s father’s statements, I believe he is addressing the program’s culture including the education he will receive as a player.

    This is an area in which CTC and the staff excels. IU not only graduates their players, but many times in just 3 years! The tutors get after it with the players. UNC is having a few issues in this area currently, and I don’t think it is a point that can be argued against accurately.

  • marcusgresham

    Because Tijan Jobe and Bawa Muniru couldn’t be molded into quality players, you doubt the coaching? Jurkin has been injured and he & Perea have been here but a year, so I’d say the jury is still out on them.
    Will Sheehey hasn’t improved? Christian Watford was the same player as a senior that he was his freshman year? Please.

  • marcusgresham

    What kind of master computer do you have that allows you to type umlauts?!

  • IUMIKE1

    Hairston has already publicly stated that he will be on the court for UNC next year after a short suspension and no one from UNC has contradicted it so I think we have our answer.

  • IUMIKE1

    Putting the arguement of whether they do or whether they don’t pay them aside this is how I see that. Just because someone has a parent(s) that makes more money than a lot of other people does not make them immune to wanting something for nothing or wanting to be paid a bunch for something. It has been my experience, and I dealt with a lot of wealthy people in my last job, that there is a just as high of a number, if not higher, of wealthy people that would take the money under the table as there is people that could benefit a great deal more from it than the more wealthy ones.

  • IUMIKE1

    WORD !

  • HoosierFan08

    NC has a pretty stacked class already. Here’s to hoping that’s a turn off for Johnson. Although, Williams should have plenty of spots available after this year. I can’t imagine Hairston, Mcadoo, or Paige sticking around a whole lot longer

  • r

    I never said UNC isn’t in competition for targets. Anyone who has a tv, reads the paper, or has a friend who even occasionally follows college basketball knows UNC is a top-notch school for basketball. I also know it is absurd to say any two schools offer the same. Coaching staffs are all different. Playbooks are all different. Rosters are all different. I am also not saying IU has a better shot at a national championship, but depending on team chemistry, player development, injuries, late commitments, transfers, and on the fate of selection committees, it is also absurd to say one team has a better shot (especially over a year before the season you reference has even begun).

  • r

    In time…I, too, weakened.

  • jim

    ROFLMAO

  • BC

    You put yourself and your kids through IU? Yet you call yourself bluesy? I would not go to an attendee of either school for objectivity. I also think UNC has a cloud hanging over it currently with this potential scandal. I would not put UVA’s basketball program on the same level as UNC’s nor IU’s. What this may come down to is playing time and current recruits signed.

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