2016 forward Brachen Hazen enjoys first IU visit

  • 05/21/2014 8:24 am in

Monday was a busy day for visitors on Indiana’s campus as the staff hosted three visitors who were in the state for the adidas Gauntlet in Fishers and a fourth visitor from just outside Fort Wayne who got his first up close look at IU basketball.

Brachen Hazen, a 6-foot-7 class of 2016 forward from Columbia City, made the three hour drive south to Bloomington with his parents after the Hoosiers recently expressed interest.

As a sophomore at Columbia City, Hazen averaged close to 12 points and eight rebounds per game, but has flown under the radar in part because he missed his freshman season due to a back injury.

“It was just awesome,” Hazen told Inside the Hall of the Indiana visit. “That was my first time ever being down there. It was just really fun. We enjoyed it.”

Hazen’s younger brother, Parker, was a freshman starter at Columbia City this past season and his older sister, Gabrielle, has signed to play volleyball at Northwestern.

To this point, Hazen said Indiana is the first major school to express significant interest. Hazen said the Indiana coaching staff requested film from his high school coach, Chris Benedict, and then invited him down to tour the campus.

“What Tom Crean said a couple of times is that he liked how I have a lot of upside,” he said. “He liked my athleticism, my quickness to defend smaller post players. And he liked how I attack the rim and how I could shoot outside a little bit.”

Playing alongside some of the top in-state prospects in the class of 2016 on Spiece Indy Heat, Hazen, who can play either forward spot, will have the chance to impress college coaches over three July evaluation periods.

“I like to be a leader out on the court,” Hazen said. “I like to be vocal on the defensive end. I kind of pride myself in how I talk and communicate a lot on the defensive end to make sure we get the stops necessary to win ballgames.”

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  • 323SGrant

    Good to see IU getting these players on campus early. I had not heard of Hazen. Thanks Alex for the most up-to-date IU Men’s b-ball news.

  • Born&Bred2BleedHoosierCrimson

    I agree with you, Grant. Especially on Alex, this is by far the most up-to-date and knowledgeable site for IU Basketball fans. Kudos to Alex and the staff!

  • Outoftheloop

    Two sort of unrelated comments/questions on IU Basketball: 1) ITH has a Recruiting Board for 2014 (now over) and 2015, but none for 2016 and 2017, which seem to be very active recruiting classes for Indiana right now. Can you put these together for your readers? 2) Am I alone in thinking that the Indiana fan base, as represented by many comments on this site, is seriously off-base in it’s extreme criticism of Coach Crean for “losing” to Syracuse (which played well but lost to eventual NCAA Champion Louisville in the Final Four) in the Sweet Sixteen in 2013 when IU had the #2 AND #4 NBA draft picks? No one at Kansas is calling for Coach Self’s head to roll even though he had the #1 player in college basketball last year in Embiid AND the #2 player in Wiggins (according to NBA draft predictions) and lost in the round of 32 to Stanford (who then lost to Dayton in the Sweet Sixteen). No one is calling for Coach K to lose his job for losing to Mercer in the round of 64 while having the #3 player in Parker AND the #14 player in Hood! It is college basketball, a game filled with emotion, injuries, etc. played by 18-22 year olds! Things happen. You always need some “luck” to win a banner!

  • We’ll be putting together a board for 2016 soon. We’re doing a bit of an overhaul on parts of the site, so waiting on that before proceeding.

  • Walton

    2016 class is a ways away. This is more of an introductory period:
    here’s the staff, he are our facilities, tradition, etc. For most of
    these high level recruits, you’d have to think they want to win a
    championship, even if it is in one to two years of being there. And if
    that is the case, then you would have to know for certain who is going
    to be on the team when you get there and if your arrival could win a
    championship with them. So far in this class, its hard to tell what our
    team would look like and if they would be championship ready.

    Now
    on the other hand I feel the 2015 class should have a decent idea of
    what IU will look like when they arrive: Senior PG Yogi, athletic
    juniors in Troy, Stan, and DD, sharp shooting-year under their belt
    sophomores in Blackmon, Johnson, and Max. I am certain that a game changing freshman (aka Zimmerman) would put IU in that championship conversation that a recruit would want to be a part of.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I agree with your general point on the randomness of the tournament but to be fair to Bill Self, Joel Embiid didn’t play in their loss to Stanford.

  • Walton

    I am a savant when talking with friends about IU players and recruits thanks to INSIDE THE HALL!

  • Hoosier Hall

    Couple of points to consider here: First, I am definitely not calling for Crean’s head. I believe he has earned at least one more year. Secondly, Duke and Kansas will definitely not miss the tournament after those disappointing exits (which is what we did). Also, Duke hung a banner in 2010 and Kansas hung one in 2008 and they have both had elite eight or final four runs since then. Those disappointing tourney exits are a lot easier to swallow when you’ve had recent success and are constantly in the conversation.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    Both of those coaches have championships and Syracuse lost to Michigan, but I do agree with most of what you are saying.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Hate to hijack an article, but I read this on ESPN today about the top up and coming recruiters:

    Kenny Johnson, Louisville — When Rick Pitino was looking to fill the vacant spot on his staff this spring, he said he wanted “the best rising assistant coach in the business.” Only three years removed from being an AAU coach for Team Takeover and high school coach at Paul VI in Virginia, Johnson’s ties to the DMV region allowed him to deliver Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson andRobert Johnson to Indiana over the last two years. He was also the lead recruiter for Noah Vonleh, proving his ability to cultivate relationships and attract top national talent in other regions of the country. Johnson is extremely bright with exceptional interpersonal skills.

    Kenny was on the top of the list, man that stings…

  • Gregory Spera

    That’s the same problem I had with people saying “Look at Kentucky! They lost in the first round of the NIT last year!” when rationalizing Indiana’s horrible season. A “bad” season at UK is sandwiched between NCAA Championship game appearances.

  • Gregory Spera

    That was a cold slap in the face, no doubt. The really disappointing thing is that Crean, by his public statements, REALLY wanted Kenny to stay, but Glass and the administration, for whatever reason, were unable to make that happen. So when Patino needs a new lead recruiter, when he wants they top guy in the country… he can just pluck him from Crean’s staff.

  • PocketHoosier

    It seems like it was the most opportune moment in time for Louisville to poach him. Giving Johnson a hefty raise was expected, but Louisville threw “first assistant” at him and doubled his salary from 200k to 400k.

    The way I understand it, there were 2 problems keeping Johnson.
    The first was money, but not in the way you might expect.
    Kenny was on the bottom rung of the coaching ladder at IU and that was not going to change. Buckley and McClain were both going to be ahead of him on the tree because they are valued higher for their game preparation than Johnson was. The problem IU had with bumping up Johnson’s salary to counter Louisville’s offer was that he would have leap frogged both McClain and Buckley in pay. McClain has 30 years experience and Buckley has been with the program since Crean took over. They would have both had to have hefty raises to keep the pay structure in place and coming off of a season in which the Hoosiers did not play in a postseason tourney, it would have been a political nightmare to give the entire coaching staff *HUGE* raises.

    The second problem was the promotion:
    Pitino made Johnson “first assistant” which essentially made him assistant head coach. Indiana could not match that. Kenny Johnson’s Louisville contract has a very rare provision for assistant coaches: a buyout. Louisville threw the kitchen sink at him

  • marcusgresham

    While it sucks to lose him, I don’t know if I blame IU as much as credit Louisville. Generally when Tom Jurich (U of L AD,) wants something/someone, he makes it happen, so my guess would be Pitino said “this is the guy” and Jurich took it from there. I love Fred Glass, but I can’t imagine there’s a better AD in America than Jurich.

  • marcusgresham

    In a perfect world McClain would have gotten that Oregon State position for which Crean was pitching him, allowing Kenny to slide up but it didn’t happen that way.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I won’t argue about Tom Jurich’s success as an AD. He has done wonderful things for Louisville. However, I’d be rather unhappy if I were a Cardinals football fan. Bringing Bobby Petrino back would make it really, really hard for me to support them on the gridiron, even if I were a diehard. I realize this has nothing to do with basketball but thought I would add that in because Jurich made the hire. Still, your overall point stands, he does a great job.

  • PocketHoosier

    Q&A with Kenny Johnson 5/20
    Q: You had a good job. Why did you leave a good job for this job?
    A: You know; I consider it to be a great job. Tom Crean – coach Crean- I’ve known him for 8 years, back since the days when he was recruiting Maurice Creek. I’ve gotten to know him and he’s been a mentor of mine, a supportor and a friend for many years. You know, leaving from his program was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life due to the amount of respect I have for him. When you look at it, you realize [Tom]’s going to be your friend for the rest of your life…I’ve had a little of an advantage, because I’ve been studying Coach Crean for many, many years. When I received the phone call from Coach Pitino, you think about the opportunity to work for, to learn from one of the -at the end of the day he’s a Hall of Fame coach- and the opportunity to be here with him, the opportunity to -Indiana has a tremendous tradition. The fans are awesome. I love Hoosier Nation and I’ll always love Hoosier Nation. But, understand also the tradition that’s here. Louisville, the rich history, the fanbase that I was competing against and now competing every day of my life for. You know, when you weighed everything for a young coach to learn everything possible in a short time that I have here on Earth, I just jumped on the opportunity.

    [end transcript]
    It looks like Louisville threw everything at him and (as we all already knew) Kenny has ambitions of being a head coach sooner rather than later. He spent several years learning under Tom Crean and looked at the chance to learn for a few years under Rick Pitino before making that jump as an invaluable opportunity that he couldn’t pass up.

  • PocketHoosier

    The one thing I don’t get is how Kenny can sit at a podium with a straight face and count Rick Pitino among “Good People.”

    Rick Pitino is slime; he is among the scum of the Earth.
    How many college coaches have impregnated their mistress on the floor of an Italian restaurant and then blackmailed her into getting an abortion?

    Are there any besides Rick Pitino?

  • This isn’t from 5/20. It’s from this press conference which was last month: http://www.insidethehall.com/2014/04/23/video-kenny-johnson-introduced-louisville/

  • PocketHoosier

    Ahh. Ok .Thanks for the correction. The article in the courier-journal that it was included in was from 5/20

  • PocketHoosier

    (Oops…didn’t mean to upvote my own comment)

  • Gregory Spera

    If what you say is true, then Louisville was apparently not as concerned with upsetting the salary structure or the feelings of the other assistants already on staff when they bring Kenny in for big dollars and declare him “first assistant.”

  • PocketHoosier

    I think missing the tournament 2 years in a row would definitely put Crean in the hot seat for the 2015-16 season. There are some mitigating circumstances for the upcoming season though. Fischer gone unexpectedly, Vonleh gone slightly unexpectedly, Lyles decommitted late in the game for bigs…the post is a bit of a mess and it’s not necessarily Crean’s fault. He should -and will- be given some time to get that mess cleaned up, but it has to be done quickly.

    Back to back Sweet Sixteens for the first time since the early 90’s earned him a lot of goodwill that would have to be burned up, but that goodwill would *mostly* be gone by missing the tourney in back to back years now.

  • PocketHoosier

    It works that way in every profession. It’s harder to move up on your current ladder than it is to jump straight into a higher rung on someone else’s ladder. At Indiana, the organizational structure was already set.

    Kevin Keatts was “Associate Head Coach” in Louisville’s structure with Mike Balado and Wyking Jones officially titled “Assistant Coaches” so Balado and Wyking were already used to being at the bottom of the totem pole.

    Johnson didn’t head into Louisville as “Associate Head Coach” (He’s officially an “Assistant Coach”), but ‘word on the street’ is that he’s unofficially considered the “first assistant” to Pitino.

    This was just a new hire for Louisville.

  • Michael

    How do you know how a team prepares?

    You can have the greatest “game plan” in the world until the first punch is thrown and then that goes out the window.

    The fact that the MAJORITY of IU fans don’t recognize the length and talent that syracuse had is embarrassing considering we are suppose to understand basketball.

  • SCHoosier

    Trust me..in business there are many times when the disruption caused by keeping a key employee is worse that the disruption of losing one.

  • IUMIKE1

    Ketchup or Grey Poupon with that hat sir ?

  • Alford Bailey

    Geez did you have to go there again? I will say comparing Crean to Self or Coach K is the funniest thing I’ve read on ITH in a while.

  • Alford Bailey

    Yea, and how about the elite 8 and final four prior to that championship season.

  • Alford Bailey

    Another miss next year and Crean is gone IMO. Its gonna get ugly next season if the team struggles.The guy has been the coach six years now. Any issues with the roster at this point are on him,period.

  • PocketHoosier

    I agree that the issues with the roster are on him, but I think that if the team struggles next year, it will hot seat him for 15-16, not oust him.

    If that were to (regrettably) come to pass, I’d say it’d take at least an Elite Eight run in 15-16 to quench the fire. It’s also important to see how the program will respond to the loss of Kenny Johnson and whether or not any “splash” level talent commits from the ’15 or ’16 recruits.

    Yes, it’s his mess to clean up, but between Fischer’s transfer, Vonleh’s earlier than expected departure, Jurkin’s inability to stay healthy, Perea’s total lack of improvement, and Trey Lyles being a little bitch…there seem to be some extenuating circumstances to the upcoming season’s roster situation. Had Vonleh stayed the popularly expected 2 years, there would be serious buzz and excitement surrounding next season with the additions of JBJ, Robert Johnson, and Hoetzel. The rosters are small and one player changing plans can have significant short term impacts to the program.

    Last year was a down year for lack of shooters. This year will likely be a down year for lack of an experienced post presence. Hopefully it won’t be down as far as last year, but the program is not back to the level that it’s in “Reload” mode yet.

  • HoosierGrampy

    I don’t recall anyone recently comparing Pitino to a member of the church choir. I lived in Lexington when he was UK’s coach and there were more than one story about his after-hours adventures–but that’s his personal life. It didn’t have a negative impact on his teams’ successes on the court.
    I cannot fault Kenny Johnson for taking advantage of an opportunity to learn a little bit about the game of basketball from one of the best coaches in the game…

  • Outoftheloop

    It took Coach Wooden something like 13 years to win his first! That’s lots of luck to keep his job with so little success to show for it! Coach Knight won 3 times in 28 years! He could have won one more if Scott May had not been injured, maybe another if Alan Henderson had not been injured, maybe lost one of the three to Syracuse if Keith Smart doesn’t hit “the shot”. I stand by my statement, “you always need some luck”!

  • Outoftheloop

    I am sure that there is a joke hidden in there somewhere. But doesn’t it defeat the purpose of the joke when it is so well hidden?

  • Outoftheloop

    That’s part of the luck and part of the game!

  • Outoftheloop

    You missed MY point! Indiana in 2013 DID NOT have a disappointing loss in not beating Syracuse! We played a better team, that was not knocked out of the tourney until it played the National Champion in the Final Four! With a little luck we would have played MI, also in the Final Four, the National Runner-up in 2013, not Syracuse, and beaten them for the third time in the season, just like Indiana did in 1976!

  • Outoftheloop

    KY has had the best college basketball players that money and the one and done system can provide every year that Coach Cal has been there! For them NOT to make the Final Four every year is impossible to explain except due to coaching failure! For them to lose in the first round of the NIT is a total collapse and extreme coaching failure!

  • Outoftheloop

    Looks to me like all of the top recruits that Indiana wants are sitting and waiting and keeping their Indiana option open as one of their top options.

  • Outoftheloop

    They have to write something and they “sell” better if they list top names like Indiana. Fred Glass is the ONLY guy who matters and he is not terminating Tom Crean at the end of 2015 OR 2016 ( no matter what!)! ESPN has NEVER done an article on graduation rates or graduation progress reports. These idiots actually gave Napier positive comments for his rant against the NCAA after the title game for putting U Conn on 1 year probation when less that 10 % of their scholarship players graduated in 5 years. Indiana is at the top of the academic-basketball program ladder, ahead of Duke, ahead of Stanford, ahead of Harvard, and light years ahead of EVERY B1G team! Neither Fred Glass nor I ever want to go back to the bottom!

  • Outoftheloop

    The “for whatever reason” was simply cold cash. Louisville, which does NOT make a profit on athletics (which Indiana does!), which does not share in the most lucrative college conference pay-out in the USA (which Indiana does!) could spend twice what IU could on an assistant basketball coach. Where is the investigation of this? Where is the President of the University of Louisville. His University, as an academic institution, was just irreparably undermined! They are college basketball with no academic or fiscal integrity. Does anyone care in Louisville? No! They won a banner in 2012! Is that what Indiana fans want? Be careful what you ask for!

  • Outoftheloop

    Glass believes that the University is superior to the athletics department. Jurich beleves that basketball and football are superior to the University!

  • Hoosier Hall

    I agree with you on not wanting to start over. I hope Crean succeeds and sticks around for a long time. While I don’t always place my trust in ESPN, there is no denying that Crean (though not quite on the hot seat) is at least under the gun. Last season was bad and there isn’t much that can explain it. We weren’t any younger than several other teams that had some measure of success. I hope we don’t miss the tourney again but if we do, I would bet my right arm that you’ll see a new head coach in 2015. Like I said, I hope for the best.

  • Outoftheloop

    Of course Syracuse lost to MI. MI was a very good team. Indiana beat MI twice, home and away. Indiana was a very good team. Syracuse beat Indiana. Syracuse was a very good team. So any game between those three teams was basically a “toss-up” between equal and very good teams, not a disappointing loss!

  • IUMIKE1

    ” If we were prepared for that zone I will eat my hat “.

    When someone says that they will eat a nonfood item if something is or isn’t a certain way I just assume that they will need some kind of condiment to be able to get it down, plus it way my way of saying, albeit in an indirect way, that I disagreed with him. Those things are probably why he replied like he did and why Alex, or one of the mods, deleted his response to my comment.