Indiana among top three schools for Raymond Spalding

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INDIANAPOLIS — If it wasn’t clear going into July what kind of priority Louisville Trinity (Ky.) forward Raymond Spalding is for Indiana in its class of 2015 recruiting efforts, the start of the first July evaluation period is putting things into focus.

With high profile events like the Reebok Classic, LeBron James Skills Academy and adidas Unrivaled going on at other venues across the country, Indiana coach Tom Crean was at North Central high school on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning to watch Spalding in the adidas Invitational.

The fact that Crean was in attendance for Spalding’s first two games, the only head coach in his top three schools to earn that distinction, wasn’t lost on the rising senior.

“It really tells a lot about him and his program,” Spalding told Inside the Hall. “He takes basketball to heart over there. He’s a great coach. For him to come to my games, the head coach, the head guy, that means a lot. I talk to coach Crean every day. He’s becoming one of my best friends. We talk every day about basketball and our families in general. He’s a great guy, great coach.”

On Wednesday evening, Spalding poured in 34 points and 11 rebounds as The Ville beat UA Grind, 76-67 and he followed that up with 14 points as The Ville beat St. Louis Gateway, 64-43, on Thursday morning.

Crean, along with Xavier coach Chris Mack and assistants from Clemson and Tennessee, watched Spalding on Thursday morning. After the comfortable win over St. Louis Gateway, Spalding talked more in-depth about his relationship with Crean.

“We talk every day about basketball, our families. He has a son that plays baseball,” he said. “He’s a great guy and he tells me every thing. Besides being a great basketball coach at Indiana University, he’s a great father, mentor and leader.”

The contact with Indiana is frequent — Spalding says he and Crean exchange text messages at least three times per day — and his message is often centered on just how big of a priority he is for the program.

But the Hoosiers are not alone in their pursuit of Spalding, who is on the rise nationally. He listed Xavier and Louisville, along with IU, as his top three schools, in no particular order. Both schools received unofficial visits from Spalding in June and Louisville offered a scholarship on his visit there.

Standing just a few feet from a group of coaches that included Mack, Spalding broke down what he likes about that program as well as Louisville.

“Xavier University, it’s a great school,” he said. “Besides basketball, it’s a great academic school. I got to talk to their academic services person. He’s a great guy, great person. Xavier basketball, it’s big over there in Cincinnati. There’s not much besides basketball over there. Coach (Chris) Mack and coach Travis Steele, those guys are great over there. They really control the players and they have a wonderful facility and they’re starting to build more to it.

“I love the academics (at Louisville) and it’s home town. Coach (Rick) Pitino, he really gets guys to the next level, the pro level. And that’s what I love about it.”

Spalding says he remains open to new schools who may begin recruiting him this month and he’s already hearing from one new school that began contact about a week ago.

“I’m starting to talk to Duke a little bit more than I have before,” Spalding said. “Coach (Nate) James. Talking to Duke, it’s a great university, academics and just a crazy atmosphere over there. They want to get me up sometime to take a visit, but I don’t know when I’m going to take a visit yet.”

At close to 6-foot-10, Spalding may still be growing, but he said all of the schools are recruiting him to play a stretch floor that can also play away from the basket at times.

“It’s a huge focus for me, being a stretch four,” he said. “In my development I need to learn how to shoot the ball better. Today I didn’t shoot the ball that great, but last night I shot it pretty well and I’m just getting in that daily effort and it really comes along.”

The next step for Spalding in the process will likely be to cut his list and look at where he might like to take official visits this fall. In previous interviews, he’s mentioned signing in the fall, but that’s no longer a certainty at this point.

“It’ll be tough to come to a decision because those are three great schools,” Spalding said. “The head coaches there are tremendous guys. When it comes down to making a decision, it’ll be pretty tough.

“I may wait it out until spring some time.”

  • marcusgresham

    Free tattoos?

  • marcusgresham

    Could be, but what the hell was Crean supposed to do, play Jeff Howard at the five 30 minutes a night so he could appease Vonleh’s desire to play the four?

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Recruit more / better front court players?

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Providing backhanded compliments based on past performance invalidates my criticism / predictions? Hmm, that’s an “interesting” opinion you have there.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Trust me, I can say stupid things away from my “office desk.” Just ask my wife!

    But seriously, accusing me of trolling indicates that you appreciate neither critical reasoning nor debate. All I did is point out that people more suited for the 4 have played the 5 at IU in recent years. That’s all I did.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Play Hanner and NV at the same time? Hanner wasn’t an all-star last year, but why didn’t HMP and NV see the court at the same time? Like, just try it for five minutes and see what happens … I think it’s about the only lineup that CTC didn’t employ last year. :)

  • esapata

    Even though UofL is his hometown, he’s clearly interested in being developed into a pro. That hasn’t exactly been Pitino’s strong suit of late. If he’s serious about that, Duke and IU have to look better to him.

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    You also said, “Want to play a stretch 4, don’t come to IU”.. Even though your smirk comment (by the way, the wording of those comments does not sound sincere)… But even though those comments indicate you want him to come to IU, that in itself, if Spalding wants to be a stretch four, is clearly a statement telling him NOT to come to IU..

  • jmac

    Kenny Johnson was his recruiter here. Same now with UL. Hometown team that has a lot of momentum while we do not at this time. Check out our last 3 pickups. I hope I’m wrong. . Would love to have this guy!

  • deebo

    This kid is THE must get besides Zimmerman.

  • Michael Crawley

    Yep, I was trolling myself which I do apologize for – I guess we become very passionate about IU Basketball. Your initial comment seemed to have been with passion without the components of debate you added in later. It came after a signee that left everyone in ITH scratching their collective heads especially when we do need BIGS. I do appreciate critical debate I just hate when it involves players during recruiting. I admit when I clicked on Post and saw I dropped the “T” bomb I knew it was wrong.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Indeed, I should have taken a different tone in my original comment… something along the lines of, “I hope he comes to IU, but the last couple of guys who seemed more fit for the 4 ended up playing the 5.”

    And I think you’re right about recent signings clouding my judgement. I want bigs; we need bigs. I hope Spalding commits soon!

  • Michael Crawley

    Same here…. and I don’t disagree with you. IU fans are passionate and well educated in basketball.. That is what make ITH so cool.

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