Early signing period: IU commits to sign on Thursday

  • 11/13/2013 8:57 pm in

The early signing period for the 2014 recruiting class began Wednesday and all three of Indiana’s verbal commitments are scheduled to sign National Letters of Intent with the Hoosiers on Thursday.

James Blackmon Jr. will sign at 11:30 a.m. at Marion High, Robert Johnson at 3 p.m. at GH Reid Elementary in Richmond and Max Hoetzel at 3:30 p.m. at Wilbraham and Monson in Masaschusetts.

Here’s a capsule for each recruit in the class:

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Robert Johnson

Guard, 6-3, 180-pounds, Benedictine College Preparatory (Va.)
247Composite: 4-star (48); ESPN: 4-star (44); Rivals: 4-star (42); Scout: 4-star (55)

Expert opinion: “Johnson is one of the most complete guards in the country. He’s a true combination guard as he can play point guard or the role of a shooter/scorer in a pinch. The strength of his game lies in scoring, with 3-point range and a pull-up jumper along with the ability to attack, drive and finish at the rim. He is not afraid to take jumpers in transition when he is open, a sign of self-confidence. As a point-guard type, he possesses the qualities of poise, vision and the understanding of how and when to distribute and make the assist.” – Paul Biancardi of ESPN.com.

Commitment coverageRobert Johnson: Indiana is the “best fit for me”; Q & A: 2014 commit Robert Johnson talks IU visit, future

VideoRobert Johnson at the AAU Super Showcase


Max Hoetzel

Forward, 6-7, 210-pounds, Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.)
247Composite: 3-star (311); ESPN: 3-star (NR); Rivals: (NR); Scout: (NR)

Expert opinion: “You just don’t see 6-7 kids shoot the ball as well as he does from as far of range as he can. And as long as he continues to get stronger and he figures out how to score inside as well as outside, that’s where you have a really good player.” — Los Angeles Times preps reporter Eric Sondheimer

Commitment coverage2014 forward Max Hoetzel commits to IndianaQ & A: Max Hoetzel discusses his commitment to IndianaA look at Max Hoetzel’s potential impact at Indiana

VideoMax Hoetzel hears from IU as his recruitment takes off

2013 NBA Players Assocation Top 100

James Blackmon Jr.

Guard, 6-3.5, 180-pounds, Marion (Ind.)
247Composite: 4-star (31); ESPN: 5-star (19); Rivals: 5-star (23); Scout: 4-star (33)

Expert opinion: “One of the best jump shooters in the class. It all begins with his shot preparation, as his feet get adjusted in plenty of time, and his release is high and quick. His range and accuracy from both deep and mid-range are the most consistent parts of his game. In the conversion game, when the defense is scrambling back, he will hit shots when a defender is close by and ready to contest his jumper.” – Paul Biancardi of ESPN.com.

Commitment coverage2014 guard James Blackmon Jr. commits to IndianaQ & A: James Blackmon Jr. talks Indiana commitmentVideo: James Blackmon Jr. commits to Indiana

VideoJames Blackmon Jr. through the years

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  • MillaRed

    Just saw Bobby Capobianco nail a three vs Illinois. What a trip!

  • Drew

    Finally glad to get a LOI out of these fellas. Been a whirlwind of a recruiting process for the class of 2014 it seems. Happy to have all 3 as Hoosiers!

  • Snookafly

    I’m looking forward to their shooting.

  • HoosierPat

    I’ll be happy when JBJ inks his name on the dotted line. Once he signs, he won’t be able to escape again.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Crean plans to have him cuffed and hauled down to Bloomington immediately after the signing.

  • lawlson

    Can’t wait to see these guys light it up from 3 point range next year

  • marcusgresham

    Think it may have been beneficial to have had any of these three guys in uniform Tuesday night? Yikes, it looked like me shooting out there.

  • I’m still holding out hope Exum will go to college (IU). It’s possible Exum’s draft status drops simply due to him not playing in front of scouts/GMs/US TV for the next several months while other top college prospects are producing big numbers. Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Embiid, Smart, and Gordon are all playing great. If Exum drops out of top 5, hopefully he’ll give college stronger consideration. Yes, Exum had great numbers in one game against Team USA U19, but so did Appling and Gary Harris last night against UK, which started many of the same players Exum played against.

    I know that scenario isn’t likely. But one can still hope…

  • 323 S. Grant

    With these guys in the fold, there won’t be any more of that LIU Brooklyn stuff daring IU to shoot threes!!

  • RoscoD73

    Just out of curiousity, where do you think Exum would start if he did decide to go to IU? Would the lineup be Yogi, JBJ, Exum, Troy, Vonleh? I cant imagine JBJ, Robinson, and Robert Johnson all on the bench, and Exum is more of a guard than a forward. I’m not sure Exum would pick IU because of the amount of guards we will have.

  • HoosierPat

    It’s definitely going to be good to have some shooters coming in. It’s safe to say that we are lacking perimeter shooting right now.

  • Miamihoosier

    Very happy with this class. To me, guys like Devin Davis, Max Hoetzel, Stan Robinson, Luke Fischer, and even Jeremy Hollowell, will ensure this season is the last time we’re forced to watch a team learn on the fly. Those 5 can really play, but will be here for 4 years. They will provide that critical experience to blend with whatever elite talent CTC can reel in for the coming seasons. I’d rather have a team full of guys that came in ranked in that 40-110 range blended through all 4 classes. You can’t recruit experience. Then, when we get that 1 five star guy each year, he’s just the piece that pushes us over the edge

  • TomJameson

    We have some shooters, they are just either not shooting (Austin for one) or not hitting (0 for 10???). We may have lost the 40% plus shooters, but we should be hitting 30 to 35%. I think as the season progresses, the guys get more comfortable, and 2 or 3 guys stop trying to do it all themselves 🙂 We’ll be okay. Not great perimeter shooting, but good enough to stop those kind of “dares”. My opinion of course, and put out there to be shot at. lol

  • CreamandCrimson

    Elite shooters at 6’3″, 6’3″ and 6’7″. Most of us were worried about one major thing with this season’s team…perimeter shooting. Through two games, those concerns have been legitimized. The good news is that the coaching staff has identified the weakness and turned it into a potential strength as early as next season. Elite outside shooting (with pretty good size for guards) should open up driving lanes and the interior. In short, it makes everything on the offensive end easier.

    Welcome to IU to all three of these guys and best of luck moving forward as Hoosiers!

  • Wet Vette

    Glad to finally call these guys IU players after some small recruiting mix ups I think they’re on the right path. There’s no place like IU (home) Welcome MAX,ROBERT and JBJ.This class is gonna ROCK assembly hall !!!!! WORD UP !!!

  • N71

    I hope you’re right. Otherwise Noah is going to get a ton of attention down low and will have little to no room to operate.

  • N71

    It seems more likely that Jaquan Lyle would join our 2014 class versus Exum. While I have nothing concrete I’m going to guess that if he clears an SAT hurdle he’ll be part of our program. Otherwise I see him at Memphis or West Virginia perhaps.

  • mk

    opinion of many on this site is that austin is some sort of prolific shooter. maybe there is a reason he isnt taking the shot and was he does he’s missing.

  • plane1972

    It appears Florida State is in on J Lyle now, too. He seems like a Huggy Bear player to me. I could see him at WVU.

  • Rie

    Last I checked with espn, they had FSU as the front runner. I think we are done recruiting guards, unless it is Exum, obviously.

  • Rie

    Exum has the size and ability to play a lot of different positions. If he came here, he would most definitely see the court in a starting role. I could see Yogi, JBJ, Exum, Noah (4 or 5 depending who the other player is, and then Crean’s choice between Luke/Hanner/Troy/Jeremy.

    Either way, Exum would not have to worry about playing time if he chooses to go to college, no matter where he goes.

  • I see exum starting wherever he wants.

  • Rie

    Besides the guys at the top (Turner, Cliff, Jahlil), who we are not in the hunt for any longer, there aren’t any great big men left in the 2014 recruiting pool. The next highest rated one after those three on espn is ranked seventy. While I think we have done an excellent job in recruiting, this worries me slightly if Noah ends up leaving for the NBA. While I have loads of confidence in Hanner and Luke to improve, we could be in a rough spot if the aforementioned happens. So I will enjoy this season and not worry about it, but just something I was thinking about while checking out other teams recruiting classes.

    2014 has been a crazy recruiting experience and it is nice to finally get these guys inked in. This group is going to be huge in crafting a perennial contender and filling in the voids once Yogi’s class become upperclassmen next year. I believe this 2014 class will start our era of constantly reloading instead of rebuilding, assuming Noah returns. 2015 has some amazing big men prospects, and we are in the hunt for the most elite of them.

  • Ole Man

    IMO, Vonleh is here for two years. The next draft is way too loaded. If he stays one more year not only does he vastly improve as a player (one of his stated goals), but he would probably also go top five.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    Agree, agree, agree…..

  • Ole Man

    Hartman was recruited specifically because of his outside shooting.
    We need to be working these guys into the system; letting them play along side the more athletic guys.
    I trust CTC. However, I think we have some scoring that’s not seeing enough minutes to get the experience and flow.
    Just my opinion.

  • Ole Man

    247 has him as IU’s to lose.

  • Ole Man

    Snook…don’t understand why someone voted this “down”. Some strange posters on here…. Or you owe lots of money to someone!!! LOL!

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    After all the discussion already this year, I’ve got a bad case of Recruiting Drama Fatigue.

    If either of these guys happen to show up, that’s great. If they don’t that’s OK, too……

  • CreamandCrimson

    I don’t disagree with you at all. I will add this though. Austin Etherington has been in for 10 minutes of regular season action (8 in the first, 2 in the second) and has attempted the same number of shots as you and I…zero.

    He passed up a couple of wide open 3’s in the first game and passed up one wide open opportunity on the wing against LIU-Brooklyn. If he’s not going to pull the trigger, I don’t see why CTC would have him on the floor, particularly in a close game.

  • Rie

    If there is anything I have learned this year though, it is that none of these sites know who the frontrunner is, especially when these recruits are so fickle.

    I think him de-committing from Louisville was due to their over-recruitment of guards, so I don’t really see him throwing himself into the mix with Stanford, JBJ and RJ. Where do you think Crean stands on him if Lyle does want to come here?

  • Rie

    I feel that way about Lyle, but Exum is an immediate team changer. I’m not going to lose any sleep over the guy, but I would do a backflip if he did decide to come here.

  • Rie

    I obviously agree, but it is definitely a possibility is all I am saying.

  • Ole Man

    You’re right. If the kid averages a double/double in B1G play, he’s gone.

  • Ole Man

    Yep. Me, you and everyone is wondering if it’s a confidence thing.
    He should just let them fly. It’s almost as if he’s playing scared.

  • Ole Man


  • MillaRed

    I totally get it. Having great shooters is a bad thing.

    There are def a few flies in the ITH ointment these days. Either not IU fans or just bitter in general.

    On another note, taking my son to watch the football team get destroyed in Madison Sat. Ya know, to remind him why we like hoops so much.

  • MillaRed

    No doubt. He’s NBA ready right now. Would have an Eric Gordon type impact.

  • MillaRed

    Dante in with Yogi, Troy, Noah and our depth puts us in FF contention immediately.

  • MillaRed

    I don’t think he is 100% yet.

  • CreamandCrimson

    It would seem that way. Or his injury has impacted his confidence or…something. Bottom line, he’s played 10 minutes and taken zero shots. I don’t want him to force anything but he’s not going to help the team or earn additional playing time by not looking at the basket. Hopefully Friday night’s game against Samford will provide him some opportunities to knock a few down.

  • Ole Man

    Have a great time! And bundle up. Don’t mind me asking–how old is your boy?

  • 5bannerfan

    I see a lot of posters that are always worried about recruiting guards and their future playing time. Crean’s offense is designed for as many guards/wings as possible. Having three guys on the perimeter offense that can all break down their man to distribute or shoot from the outside is ideal It doesn’t matter on offense if Jaquan Lyle, Dante Exum, etc. are considered “point guard” prospects, as long as one of them has enough length to play defense against a wing on the other end of the floor. Oladipo was just drafted 2nd overall and moved to point guard immediately by Orlando even though he spent his time on Big Ten champs playing alongside Hulls and Yogi on offense. It is an advantage in recruiting and on offense that Crean has knowingly established.

  • Rie

    I don’t think the fans are worried about the playing time, I think the fans are just conscious that Lyle might be worried about playing time, who decommited from Louisville for such a reason. He isn’t even on the team as of this date so it’s not a big deal. At this point for 2014, we will have four quality guards, which sounds just fine to me.

    Not totally sure what Oladipo has to do with any of this though. He was never a combo guard with IU, like JBJ, RJ and Lyle would be classified as. He is still learning how to be a point guard and really was not that reliable of a ball handler in his time here. I agree with what you said in terms of system fit and playing time, but the rotation and minute distribution will shorten up greatly once we hit the Big Ten schedule. Like you said though, I don’t really see this becoming a problem at all.

  • 5bannerfan

    If the fans understand then I’m sure Crean and Lyle, Exum, JBJ, RJ, etc. are on the same page. We can play 3 combo guards at the same time in this offense, as long as Lyle, Exum or whoever can do a decent job on the other team’s “small forward”. It’s why we matched up so well against Michigan last year (Staukas).
    My point about Oladipo is he played alongside 2 other “point guards” just like Exum or Lyle would. He stilled show enough ball handling in our system by his junior year that Orlando saw him as a future PG and took him #2 overall. It is very important for recruits like Lyle, Exum, JBJ, etc. to be viewed by NBA execs as point guard prospects. The fact that these kids are already good ballhandlers is why they are top 20 recruits and Victor had to develop it as a 3 star.

  • TomJameson

    I agree completely, and I’ll add that Luke will be much better next year, and even better as a Junior (when Noah is gone). Wouldn’t complain about getting a big for the 2015 class though.

  • 5bannerfan

    Also. Saw your post above and agree ALOT of this hinges on Noah returning next year. I could see Yogi leaving after his junior year, not sure if he is on the graduate in 3yrs academic plan? RJ or Stan filling as the 4th man in a 3 guard lineup for one year in that case before taking over.

  • TomJameson

    Exactly, must have that outside game or they’ll pack it inside. Can’t drive lanes and harder to pass inside. Outside shooting creates that spacing and, woe onto anybody not double-teaming Noah! lol

  • TomJameson

    I concur most heartily. I’m sure CTC has a plan, but he needs to share it with me to ease my worries! lol Seriously, he’s got at least 2, maybe 3 reputed shooters on the team. Don’t have to play them all at once, but put one in there and let them pull the trigger. I think Austin’s hesitation looked like he wanted to shoot, but didn’t want to go against the game plan. At least that’s how my imagination took it. 🙂

  • TomJameson

    Shooters have to shoot. Sheehey in the first half. Didn’t give up and had faith in his shot. Eventually, finally, they started to fall.