April on official visit: “They welcomed us in”

  • 05/13/2014 9:41 am in

It didn’t take long for future Indiana big man Jeremiah April to feel at home in Bloomington.

April, who made an official visit over the weekend to check out his college choice for the first time, said one of the highlights of his trip was the opportunity to get a feel for his future teammates.

“They welcomed us in,” April told Inside the Hall on Monday evening. “We had some of the same things in common and we got along really well.”

According to the Westwind Prep (Ariz.) center, he and Tim Priller, who was also making his first trip to Bloomington,  had a chance to go bowling and also go to the movies with several members of IU’s team.

Both players were surprise commitments last month for the Hoosiers, who were in need of frontcourt help following the midseason transfer of Luke Fischer and Noah Vonleh’s departure for the NBA.

One of the first things April got a chance to see upon his arrival was Assembly Hall, Indiana’s historic arena and home to the largest student section in college basketball.

“It was great to see all of the history and tradition in there,” April said. “When you step in, you just get a feeling of ‘wow,’ it’s a pretty crazy feeling. It just makes you want to play there when you step in.”

In addition to a tour of the basketball facilities, campus and meetings with the coaching staff, April was also able to work out with his future teammates in Cook Hall.

“It gave me a lot of confidence,” he said. “I felt like I did pretty good. I felt pretty confident out there. I just want to come back, work and get better. Just having every thing there (in Cook Hall) makes you want to work hard.”

Both April and Priller were checked out by an IU team physician while in Bloomington and were also measured for height, weight and wingspan. April said he came in at 6-foot-11 and 1/8 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and weighed 230 pounds.

He said strength and conditioning coach Je’Ney Jackson gave him a good idea of what to expect upon his arrival on campus, which is scheduled for early June.

“Just work on my core work and flexibility,” April said. “He gave us a little routine to do before we get back to Indiana so we’ll be ready.”

One of April’s primary goals prior to his freshman season is to become more comfortable in the post and also to add some weight to prepare for the rigors of the nation’s most physical conference.

“I think it will come with the weight training, but getting bigger, I probably need to put on 10 or 15 more pounds,” he said. “Also becoming more physical. I’m pretty confident in my shooting, floor vision and passing. I just need to get used to being that down low presence at the next level.”

Like Priller, April is unranked by all of the major recruiting services, but he isn’t concerned with those who have questioned whether he can help Indiana next season. Instead, he’s focused on what he can control, which is getting better.

“I definitely use it as motivation,” April said. “I don’t really pay too much attention to what people say, but it’s out there, so I know.”

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  • Jeff Smith

    If we could get a combined 10 pts/ 10+ rbs out of one guy or two that would be a start…and some rim protection

  • Outoftheloop

    I agree! My Crystal Ball is always open, 24/7!

  • Outoftheloop

    I really liked Hanner’s improvement last year and said so often. I still do not understand NOT using Hanner for all of those minutes given to Jeff Howard. The added growth and experience given to Hanner last year would have paid rich dividends in 2014-15! I also lamented the failure to use Devin with Noah last year, for similar reasons. Hanner and Devin are each great rebounders!. Stan will be a leader of this team with Yogi and be a solid double figure scorer and our best defender, . Troy will become first team All-B1G! He will be great, probably leading the team in scoring and rebounds.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Wow…that’s more than just optimistic. Hanner and Devin are both “great” rebounders but neither will lead the team in rebounding. Yogi will be the best point guard in college but won’t lead the team in scoring. Troy will be 1st Team All-Big Ten. Not to mention the contributions from the freshman you already talked about.

    If your crystal ball is even remotely accurate, we’re in for a successful season! (here’s to hoping your crystal ball is on it’s game)

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m bored at work so I’ll take a shot at this (because I thought the same thing, how many big “4’s” are actually going to be a problem for Troy?)…

    -Illinois = Ekey graduated and they just suspended Darius Paul for the season. That leaves incoming 6’7″ freshman Leron Black as the only power forward on their roster (Egwu at Center).

    -Iowa = Aaron White with Uthoff backing him up (both 6’9″) and Woodbury at center…this one’s a potential problem.

    -Michigan = I don’t know who they are going to play down low…Horford, Morgan, McGary and Robinson III are all gone. Maybe Mark Donnal or freshman Ricky Doyle (both 6’9″).

    -MSU = The power forward spot appears to be Branden Dawson’s. If he is motivated when IU plays them, he’ll manhandle Troy but he doesn’t appear to be motivated all that often.

    -Minnesota = Probably will be 6’10” Maurice Walker. He’s really big and I could see Troy being too walk for Walker but Walker being too strong for Troy.

    -Nebraska = Could be either 6’10” Walter Pitchford (although he could be their center if Vucetic isn’t ready) or a couple of 6’6″ guys. Could be a problem.

    -Northwestern = Impossible to say…so much roster turnover.

    -Ohio State = It’s looking like Anthony Lee (6’9″) will be the PF. We wanted him, let’s hope Troy shows him up.

    -Penn State = 6’7″ Brandon Taylor or 6’9″ Donovan Jack. Taylor is a good player and he’s stronger than Troy but I don’t think it’s an awful matchup.

    -Purdue = I know some Purdue people are high on Vince Edwards, a 6’7″ freshman so it could be him. Could also be 6’5″ Basil Smotherman (although he’s ideally a 3). Not an issue…but Perea against Hammons definitely is.

    -Wisconsin = Probably 6’7″ Nigel Hayes. I think Hayes is going to be really, really good next season. Advantage Wisconsin.

    If you want to skip all the specifics….in conclusion, the only really major issues (in my opinion) would be Iowa (because of skill and length) Minnesota because of size and Wisconsin (because of skill). I think for the most part, Troy should be able to hold his own and potentially cause a lot of matchup problems of his own if he can improve like we hope he does.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I agree but I would add protect the rim as well on the defensive side. We can’t give up easy dunks, layups and expect to win.

  • Rie

    Wow, thank you for that. Good stuff.

    I agree with your last paragraph, but I would also add Dawson in there. I can see him becoming a huge part of what Izzo wants to do, and take the leap that we see so many MSU guys take when we just thought they lost all of their talent.

  • CreamandCrimson

    You could very well be right. Dawson has the ability to take over games and if he could add any kind of consistent jumpshot, he’d be a potential 1st round pick. Does increased opportunity equal a much improved and more consistent player? We’ll see…if anyone can get him make the jump, it’s Izzo.

  • vanpastorman

    Don’t forget Kareem. His skyhook was his main weapon.I too wonder why centers don’t learn it.

  • Great Point. I did not realize that he had that much weight to him already. I like the kids skill level, as is. If we can build some strength, we could have a diamond on our hands.

  • Corey M

    We have both read the same thing and watched the same videos on Priller, what makes you think your opinion is right and mine is wrong baffles me. Either way I am not trying to bash the kid I am just saying from the videos I have seen, he looks like he should be playing D3 not for IU. Can he get better? Of Course, I hope he does. The recruiting services missed him because he is very unorthodox, didnt start for his AAU team, and never got an offer from a D1 school which is usually what it takes to first put a kid on their radar.. PocketHoosier, I appreciate your optimism but Tim Priller was signed because he was one of the few who were not already committed and he gives our team a big body in practice which we desperately needed. If you think he is a diamond in the rough then I respect that. I just dont see this kid ever contributing at this level of college hoops..

  • PocketHoosier

    You are right, if you’re talking about starting and definitely if you’re considering him a “big” rather than a “stretch”. He’s certainly not polished enough to play starter’s minutes in the Big Ten, especially not as a freshman.

    Yes, I’m holding out hope that when he’s finished at IU, other teams are kicking themselves for not giving him a harder look as a recruit, but I hope that for every Hoosier recruit.

    But what I’m thinking more of is that he may develop into a solid role player. I think his shooting is good enough to earn him a few minutes but I’m not sure if it will be this year; I think that with the depth of shooters we have, he likely won’t. We would likely need him most for post defense and offensive rebounding and he’s not currently strong enough to hold down the post against Big Ten competition.

    The thing I’m hoping for is that we can have 2 6’8″ plus shooters on the floor at the same time in Hoetzel and Priller at some point in the near future.