Early Indiana offer “meant a lot” to Paul Scruggs

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s approach to pursuing the top players in the state under Tom Crean has been unwavering.

In his six-plus years in Bloomington, Crean has made it a point to get in early with many of the state’s top prospects and in three of the last four years, he’s landed a McDonald’s All-American from Indiana.

The 2017 class is shaping up as another talented group and one of the standouts is Southport guard Paul Scruggs, who received an offer from the Hoosiers last July.

The 6-foot-3 Scruggs is playing in front of college coaches this month with the talented Under Armour Indy Hoosiers 15-and-under AAU team that also includes North Central’s Kris Wilkes, Hamilton Southeastern’s Zach Gunn, Pike’s Justin Roberts and Gary Trent Jr., who is from Minnesota.

Crean was in Indianapolis on Thursday night to watch their first game of July. On Friday, the group attracted assistant coaches from Louisville, Michigan State, Purdue and Xavier. A combination of factors, including fan support, the coaching staff and proximity to campus, has the Hoosiers in solid position early with Scruggs.

“It meant a lot (to get that offer),” he said. “When I got it, there were a whole lot of people in my neighborhood coming up to me and congratulating me and stuff like that. I liked it.”

As a freshman at Southport, Scruggs averaged 13.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as the Cardinals finished 15-8 and lost in the sectional championship to Pike. It was quite a turnaround for a program that finished just 1-19 the season before.

Scruggs said he’s focused on improving in a variety of areas this summer to prepare for his sophomore season.

“I”m really just trying to work on being that much more of a leader, passing the ball and just trying to work on my guard skills and stuff,” the rising sophomore said. “I see myself ending up as a combo guard, not probably a point guard.”

In addition to the offer from Indiana, Scruggs recently picked up an offer from Purdue. To this point, he’s visited five schools: Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Xavier. He also mentioned Kentucky as a school he really likes, but he hasn’t heard from the Wildcats to this point.

His proximity to Bloomington has allowed him to make multiple unofficial visits.

“Every time I go to the games, it’s packed. No matter who they are playing, it’s hype,” Scruggs said. “I can kinda go down there any time they ask me if I’m not doing anything and they ask me to come down, I’ll go down.”

But with more than two years until he can sign a National Letter of Intent, Scruggs is focused on moving his game forward rather than focusing too much on recruiting.

The powerful guard is extremely tough to keep out of the lane, but realizes that his shot has a ways to go to become college ready.

“My weakness is shooting (right now),” he said. “My strength is driving to the basket.”

  • Publius

    In an interview with another site, his eyes lit up when asked about Kentucky, making no hesitation to call them his favorite school. I can’t really blame him, and we obviously have to get players whose first choice isn’t IU, but I hate UK so much it made me sick to hear him gush over Calipari. He did call IU “definitely my second favorite school” though.

    I’ve never really seen him play, but it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses.

  • JamieOwens

    What an awesome picture

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    Who took it?

  • Bryce Kepner

    That Indy Hoosiers 15 and under team is a lethal team. Full of great basketball players and Crean has been the first to offer to most of them. Maybe we can use that factor of them all playing together to get them here

  • Hoosier1158

    IU should be in a position where every top kid in Indiana wants to play here.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Not w/ CTC as coach.

  • Bryce Kepner

    There will always been top kids in Indiana that decide to go elsewhere. It happened under Knight and will always happen.

  • dssnyder1

    I told my wife, a UK fan, that the wildcats are the most hated college bball team there is. Oddly, she didn’t agree with me. Still the fact Calapari will have 9 Mcdonald all Americans on his roster next year is unreal. The “B” coming off the bench would start for most universities. I’m not a fan of the UK program, but Calapari is doing something right when he can get a bunch of
    “I want the ball in my hands every possesion” kids to play team ball. Let’s hope CTC can steal some players away from the evil empire that is UK

  • Kyl470

    I wouldn’t worry about it that much. A lot can happen in two years. IU and UK may both have new head coaches by then.

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    That is BS.. It has never been, no matter who the coach is.. We just can’t offer the money that UK does… They give those guys jobs at those horse farms down tere making $200 an hour and they don’t do anything but show up and watch the horses.

  • Hoosier1158

    Way too many Indiana kids have been going to MI, MSU, OSU and UK lately. Every Indiana kid should want to play at IU unless they grew up in a 25 mile radius of West Lafayette.

  • Hoosier1158

    I really don’t think that is happening down in Lexington. There is no other coach like Cal that can get the kids ready for the NBA like him. He is head and shoulders above Roy, Mike, Rick, Bill…

  • Michael

    lol what?

  • HoosierGrampy

    Sean Miller, Jim Boeheim and Billy Donovan are not that far behind him w/respect to preparing ballers to get into the NBA and stay for more than a season or two.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Pretty arrogant to categorically state that EVERY Indiana kid should want to play at IU. Never has been true, is not true today and most likely will not change in the future. IU is not the Mecca of college basketball, and our upside, at present, pales when compared to some of the schools on these kids’ radar.

  • ForeverIU

    I can take your word, or I can take that of Brad Stevens about how well IU and Coach Crean prepare their players for the NBA.

  • Bryce Kepner

    In a dream world maybe, but logically it just won’t ever happen.

  • Bryce Kepner

    Maybe getting them to the NBA but apart from John Wall and Anthony Davis, none of Cal’s kids have had much success in the pros

  • Hoosier1158

    I was being sarcastic.

  • Hoosier1158

    It should be.

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    I believe it is.. My manager at work is from Kentucky.. has a close relative, like brother-in-law, that indicated as such. Heck back when I was in school, IU had guys (on scholarships), they paid to go and watch the sprinklers at the football field… They did almost no work, and made some money doing it. Thing is I think all programs have stuff going on. It’s just there are no high dollar horse farms in Bloomington that can do such things. I don’t see cal doing that great of a job at getting them ready. He starts with some top notch talent.. Name one ‘real’ star’ he’s had recently and I’lll name you a bunch of busts. Nerlens Noel isfinally coming around a little, but name some more. The book is open still on Julius Randle, but I’m bettin’ he’s not going to be a super star unless he reinvents his game significantly. He’s not a good shooter and not big enough to back into the middle and force up shots in the NBA.. He’ll get stuffed.. Anyway, that’s my take on it, but I’ve heard it from way too many sources what Kentucky is up to down there and Cal s ‘sleazy’.. He’s been in trouble just about every place he’s been. Thing is, he just seems to get out before getting caught, To me he just sounds phoney when they interview him.. But that’s just me.. I know he has plenty of guys like you, that think he walks on water.

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    You’re right ForeverIU.. and I like Brad.. I for one don’t think he’s ‘phony baloney’ like Coach Cal is at least…

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    As others have said, there are a lot of other good programs out there, some that can offer more immediate playing time and have just as good facilities and better.. Maybethe y don’t offer quite as good of overall environment as far as crazy fans who go wild at games, but many are close.. There are always going to be reasons why some kids won’t go to IU. I agree it’s pretty arrogant to think we can get every top recruit or even 50% of them. Not many kids today have the same ‘Home is where the heart is’ feelings that LeBron James has…

  • TomJameson

    I really like it when a kid is excited to play for Indiana, and describes it as a dream come true, but too much has changed for that to be true anymore.

    Huge exposure for students and colleges open up a lot of avenues for the kids. When there are more roads to choose from, then more of the roads leading away from IU will be taken.

    Other colleges get more looks and put out more offers to the IU kids as well and, of course, the more offers on the plate the bigger percentage of offers other than IU will be taken.

    Then there is the loyalty to Indiana, the self serving of the kid trying to get to the NBA, and the lack of wanting to work hard to get there.

    I could go on but won’t. The whole idea is that the world is a smaller place and all the more and different avenues give kids options they didn’t have before.

  • Hoosier1158

    It wasn’t so much as arrogance as wishful thinking…

  • SCHoosier

    And what does their mama feed them to make those players want to ignore those other great schools?:)

  • SCHoosier

    Back in the day of Rick Roby..J Givens etc..I can tell you the horse job story is absolutely true!.

  • ForeverIU

    LOL, you’re okay with me as long as I don’t mention RMK. Peace brother.

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    Hey, I thought I mentioned I agree with your posts quite often.. probably most of the time. In fact, as an interesting aside.. I saw, for the first time the video of PMK calling in the David Letterman show, to give them a ‘pep talk”. Now that was funny. I had to think of our trading of notes relating to that. I do realize that some of RMK’s antics were completely funny. That one had me sitting here laughing out loud.. And the one where he’s taking a golf lesson and making a commercial.. Lots of swearing, but really funny… Peace brother…

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    Well my information is current.. I believe it still is happening.

  • SCHoosier

    More like ” I want the ball in my hands so I can only stay one year while impressing the NBA scouts for a guaranteed contract”. Can’t argue with that?! Coach Cal has not been given credit he deserves for bringing these “selfie ego’s” together into a team that competes for national titles. An damn good achievement regardless of the surrounding perks or circumstances.

  • dtfreed

    But when they don’t and still had a good recruiting class the old cat herder Cal, does fail sometimes too

  • ForeverIU

    Yeah, I’d forgotten about him calling in to Letterman. And the golf antics are classic. There’s also a video of him discussing the F-word, lol.

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