More than a month has passed since Foothills Christian (Calif.) forward T.J. Leaf visited Indiana for the first time.
The class of 2016 prospect was in Bloomington in early September and received a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers on the visit. Now that Leaf has had more time to think about it, it’s clear the Indiana option continues to resonate with him.
Inside the Hall spoke with Leaf by phone from the USA Basketball national developmental team mini-camp in Colorado Springs earlier this month.
“It was a really good experience being able to go to a great program like that historically and recently,” he said. “It seems like I would fit really well in their system. I like coach Crean and I like all of the coaches and what they’re doing there. I was just really impressed.”
The No. 25 prospect in the 247Composite, Leaf averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds as a freshman last season. One of his primary goals during the offseason while playing with the Compton Magic was to make himself more perimeter oriented.
“(I’m trying to) keep moving my game to the wing where I can be a multi-dimensional player even more and more,” Leaf said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to (about the upcoming season).”
Leaf’s father, Brad, was a standout at Evansville from 1979-82 and according to T.J., has been a major supporter of looking hard at Indiana.
“He’s probably just as excited as me about it,” Leaf said. “He grew up there always watching the games and wishing he could wear one of those uniforms. He’s edging me to go there, not really, but thats where he sees that I would fit the best right now. We’ll see.”
The 6-foot-8, 210 pound forward also has offers from Portland, San Diego, San Diego State and UCLA and interest from Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico and Stanford.
When he was in the midwest earlier this fall, he took an unofficial stop to Ann Arbor to check out the Wolverines.
“It was a good trip. I got to go to the Notre Dame-Michigan game,” he said. “The facilities there are great. It was really nice to meet all of the coaches and see what they do there. It was a good visit.”
Leaf’s next experience with Indiana basketball will come a month from today when he’ll watch the Hoosiers play Samford at Assembly Hall. So what is he looking forward to most about that trip?
“I guess to see how they actually play and what the coaches let them do out there,” Leaf said. “Do the coaches have handcuffs on them or do the coaches let them play? Just overall, how they coach them and how the players react to their coaching I think is what I’m looking forward to the most.”