Recruiting notebook: New offers, Maker update, more

  • 04/22/2015 9:06 am in

A pair of prospects – one in the class of 2016 and one in the class of 2018 – received scholarship offers from Indiana this week.

Nick Ward (pictured), a rising senior from Gahanna Lincoln in Columbus, Ohio, was offered by the Hoosiers on April 18 and Jonathan Kabongo, a rising sophomore who plays at Huntington Prep (W.V.), was offered a scholarship on Tuesday according to his coach, Arkell Bruce.

Ward, a 6-foot-9 power forward, is rated the No. 53 prospect in the 2016 class by the 247Composite. Ward, who plays AAU for All Ohio Red, is currently the leading rebounder in the Nike EYBL at 10.2 per game.

Kabongo, the younger brother of former Texas guard Myck Kabongo, is a 6-foot-3 point guard who also holds an offer from Virginia Tech and is a native of Toronto.

Maker focused on four schools

Thon Maker, who visited Indiana for its final regular season game against Michigan State at Assembly Hall, is focused on four schools according to his mentor Edward Smith.

In an interview with, Smith told Evan Daniels that Maker isn’t considering going overseas to play professionally and could be a mid-year enrollee.

“It’s shaping up like it’s going to be mid-year,” Smith told Scout. “It’s looking more and more like it’ll be that. He has his core done. That’ll be done on June 23. He’s fine in his core. It’s just getting the work done. For our sake we are going step by step to see what makes sense for him. If we can get a mid-year situation that’s good for him and he can walk in then we’ll go with a mid-year situation.”

In addition to Indiana, Kansas and Kentucky, Maker is now considering Arizona State. The connection there is new assistant coach Brian Merritt, who worked for John Lucas the past few years in his camps that Maker has attended.

“We have a good relationship,” Smith told Scout. “We’ve known Brian since Thon was in eighth grade with John Lucas. It’s all about speaking to coach Hurley, seeing what their interest is and seeing if a mid-year situation comes.”

Maker is rated the No. 8 prospect nationally in the 2015 class by the 247Composite.

Alkins looking at unofficial to Bloomington

Class of 2016 Christ the King (N.Y.) guard Rawle Alkins, one of Indiana’s top recruiting targets, will be in Indianapolis this weekend for the second adidas Gauntlet session and tweeted on Tuesday that he may take an unofficial visit while in the area.

With Friday, Saturday and Sunday being a part of the spring’s second live evaluation period, Alkins would have to work in any visit before or after the period concludes.

If it happens, it would be the second Indiana visit to Bloomington for Alkins, who attended Hoosier Hysteria last fall. Alkins is rated the No. 31 prospect nationally in the 2016 class by the 247Composite.

Indiana involved with former Purdue commit

Class of 2016 Indianapolis Tech point guard C.J. Walker, a former Purdue commit, is hearing from Indiana.

In an interview with Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star, Walker listed four schools that were standing out, a list that Indiana wasn’t currently on.

However, the Hoosiers did get a mention from Walker, who averaged close to 24 points as a junior at Tech and was named the Indiana core junior all-star team.

“I feel like I’ve got a fresh slate with IU,” Walker told Neddepriep said. “I was never really recruited by them so I’m starting with a fresh slate. Just like Yogi (Ferrell), I feel like I can do something like he did at point guard. It’s a great environment there. It seems like a great place to be.”

Mulder visiting Kentucky this weekend

Vincennes Junior College guard Mychal Mulder, who was offered a scholarship by Indiana recently, is set to visit Kentucky this weekend and the Wildcats appear to be a heavy favorite to land him.

“He was really excited about the offer,” Vincennes assistant coach Brian Davis told The Courier-Journal. “He knows about Kentucky and the history and what type of program that is. He wants to check it out in person and compare it to the other schools that have been recruiting him and make a decision pretty soon after that.”

In addition to Indiana and Kentucky, Mulder is also considering Creighton and Wichita State.

Second spring evaluation begins Friday

The second spring evaluation, a chance for college coaches to evaluate prospects, begins this Friday.

The three major events will be in close proximity as the Nike EYBL comes to Lexington, Kentucky, the Under Armour Association comes to Louisville, Kentucky and the adidas Gauntlet returns to Indianapolis for a second straight year.

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  • hoosier93

    I don’t think Thon’s body could handle going straight into the B1G schedule. Is that fair to say? If he did come to IU I think he’d realistically play 14 minutes a game. That might be too much. I doubt he’d just walk in and start. I think it’d be kind of like Florida and Chris Walker.

  • IU track Alumni

    Hit it right on the nose!!! Thank you for this comment!

  • IU track Alumni

    Very good comparison! Yes thats fair to say. I’m not saying he would be ready right away. However, I dont think he needs to be ready physically pound with the Hammons and the Swanigans of the BIG because thats what we have Bryant for. Thon seems more of a finesse stretch 4 that could compliment and play helpside.

  • hoosier93

    The college game is very physical at any position. Overly physical but the refs are awful so it makes sense. The Chris Walker comparison is pretty much perfect. But Walker barely played his Freshman year. That UF team was the #1 team in the nation though.

  • IU track Alumni

    Yea he never really played up to the hype.

  • hoosier93

    But Walker had to sit out like the 1st half of the year for something. Basically I’m saying don’t get your hopes too much. I still think he needs time in college.

  • IU track Alumni

    Yes of course as all freshman have a learning curve no matter how good they are. However, the learning curve for him wont be a big as you think. He is a freak athlete with a very high skill level. I would even go out on a limb and say he’s very much comparable to someone like Kevin Garnett who it only took a couple of years to adjust to the NBA let alone college.

  • Guyton25

    I’d rather see 0 banners in the next 10 years if getting one meant hurting the integrity of IUBB. You come to IU to play for IU, not just to use IU as a stepping stone. The 1-and-done rule is coming to an end very soon. Silver has already said so. We’re a program steeped in tradition and passion. Any die-hard IU fan knows that is what makes us who we are and what makes IUBB something truly special. Don’t suggest making a perversion out of IUBB.

  • IU diehard from CT

    unfortunately, that line of thinking gets ZERO banners hung. and by the way, are you a major donor or something? how would signing a 1 and done of this kid’s talent affect IU’s integrity. you talk like you built the buildings there and sit on the board of directors

  • IU diehard from CT

    another little tidbit…guys with that line of thinking are also the guys who complain when IU doesn’t win banners…as if they should be winning every couple of years with average talent and every kid dreaming of playing there. its not 1987 anymore. with the coach drawing up plays on a chalkboard. and you can’t have your cake and eat it too. what integrity? so if they won a ring, you would be upset that the imaginary integrity of IU was tainted? in what way? crean is trying to hang banners by getting the best players. so if he gets good talent and wins 20-24 games a year and never wins a ring, but does it the “IU way” you’ll all leave him alone? absolutely laughable. jeffries was 1 and done. they almost won. was the schools integrity tainted then?

  • hoosier93

    Kevin Garnett is a future HOF player that went right out of HS. Right now Thon is more like Hanner with a jumpsuit right now.

  • SCHoosier

    Making too much $$$$ with his camps and training center.

  • John D Murphy

    My understanding is that while the announcements don’t have to be public, you have to have your plan to the NCAA sometime in May.

  • IU diehard from CT

    you’re welcome

  • John D Murphy

    It wasn’t in the article and I haven’t seen any discussion. Would a mid-year entry on Thon mean he isn’t on campus or mean he isn’t on the bench but could participate in practice/workouts. That would be a huge difference.

  • crashby89

    Last I heard was an issue with some credits that his camp thought would be accepted were not. As far as eligibility for draft from what I am seeing elsewhere that would be a no not till the 2017 draft. If thats the case then oh yeah come on down. I mean ill take him either way but for 2 years? Oh yeah

  • crashby89

    They already announced it. Over signings tend to work out anyway. Personally I’ll take being prepared over being caught with your pants down any day.

  • crashby89

    OR we could do both? Bring in some 1 or 2 and dones if the talent and fit is right but supplement that with players like Oladipo, Yogi, and even Troy Williams. Nobody wants IU to turn into UK but avoiding the potential 1 and done players like Bryant and Maker would be a huge mistake.

  • crashby89

    With such a unique situation I have no idea. If he is enrolled but not taking classes yet he would probably have access to the gym but my guess is he would not be able to participate in official practices.

  • triple

    It’s not about being negative or stuck in earlier times, it’s
    about being conscious of the fact that this is not a normal situation and if things go wrong (chemistry, academics, etc.) there will be very little time for Crean or anybody else to react. High risk versus high reward. Nothing more than that. Not surprising that there are
    differing opinions.

  • Rick Pearson

    Maker needs to make a decision like soon already

  • IU track Alumni

    Really??? Hanner!? Stop the madness please! Don’t judge KG for what he has become, compare him to what he was in high school. Thon is KG 2.0. point blank.

  • IU track Alumni

    Duke’s integrity isn’t lost! They are still and will always be a one of the best programs ever and Coach K is recruiting 1 and done’s every year now. Not to mention, THEY JUST HUNG ANOTHER BANNER!

  • Guyton25

    I haven’t missed an IU game since I was 6 years old. I’ve been an IU faithful for as long as I can remember. If the integrity and tradition of IU basketball is lost on you then there is no point in having this discussion with you. Of course you don’t get why people don’t want one-and-dones here, you don’t know where “here” is. I respect your opinion, but the Hoosier Faithful see IUBB as something special that we genuinely love.

    Also, don’t get me wrong.. I feel the same way about UK, KU, UNC, etc. when it comes to respect for their programs and that players should want to play for those programs and not use them as stepping stones. I’m not talking about something exclusive to IU.

    UK will forever have the rings they get with Calipari looked down upon as the “one-and-done” era championships. Mark my words. Tainted success.

  • IU track Alumni

    He has to be enrolled to become a Hoosier. No way around it.

  • hoosier93

    Welcome to 2015. Kids use every school as a stepping stone. And our coaching staff should be helping every player reach their potential by putting them in a position to succed. We NEED to be going after the top talent in the nation every year. We need to step up in recruiting and start getting Top 10 recruiting classes. Even Coach K was able to embrace the new age of CBB. You just show where a lot of IU fans seem to be stuck. Reality is that the program needs to modernize and catchup if we want to be a Top 5 program.

  • iuoiu

    “The Kentucky Question” It boils down to that. They have gone all in with the one and done gamble, and you certainly can’t question the results (although you could question whether playing in an actual conference would change it). But do they really feel a connection to these here and gone players, despite the wins they gobble up? Somehow I think no. I’d rather have a core of returning players complimented by a one and done caliber player each season. I’m still not a fan of the one and done but I’m also pretty certain that you need that NBA level talent to get you over the hump.

  • Outoftheloop


  • hoosier93

    Crean can’t react to things knowing something is going to happen in 4 years.

  • Hoosier4life67

    just waiting to see what JBJ and Yogi do. Don’t want to announce another signed player putting IU over the limit till other decisions are final. That’s my best guess.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I TOTALLY AGREE with IUOIU —- I prefer seeing IU sign players that may be one/done, but are more likely 2-3/done. That provides some continuity and, honestly, gives a chance to get to know the kids and want to root for them.

    I also think it helps the NBA when there is a rooted college connection beyond 1 year. For example, people always thought of Isiah as an IU guy. People always thought of MJ as Carolina guy. Grant Hill – Duke guy, etc. It is good for the NBA game to have that deeper connection where the fans see these kids develop into men and then they go root for them in the NBA.

    Obviously, Yogi is an IU guy — and if he goes (big mistake), then we will always think of him as an IU guy for the 10 min a game he gets to play.

  • Guyton25

    That’s what I mean. I’m all for Thon Maker too. It’s better to have a 1-and-done than a huge hole in the middle. Bryant isn’t enough I don’t think. Then again, maybe he will be.

  • Guyton25

    I’m all for getting 1-and-dones in short order. All I’m really talking about is the UK style of fill your team with them. Like I said before, I don’t mind having a one-and-doner, especially the 2-and-dones like Cody. Most of the time the ones we get love IU basketball, like Eric Gordon. And if getting Thon Maker means not having a huge hole in the middle beside Bryant, then I’m all for it. We’ll have next year to find replacements.

    But our goal should always be on getting guys like Frank Kaminsky and Yogi. I don’t see anyone saying Wisconsin needs to “get with the times.”

  • Guyton25

    Weren’t we just #1 a couple years ago without filling our team with 1-and-dones..?

  • hoosier93

    Except we had a player in Cody that could have been a one and done. He would have been a lottery pick no matter what year he left. but look what happened the year after…. we had Zeller, Oladipo, Watford, Hulls and Elston leave without having enough talent coming in to fill the void.

  • Guyton25

    That team was a prime example of why you don’t need one-and-dones to have a championship-caliber team. Cody was supposed to stay all 4 years, as Zellers do, but he surprised everyone when he left after 2. I think it was Tyler that said he’d pay Cody’s tuition if he stayed for another year.

    You’re next to never going to have enough talent to replace a championship-caliber squad. With that being said, I agree that missing the post-season is simply unacceptable.

  • hoosier93

    If you were surprised by Cody leaving then you might just be insane. You don’t pass up being a projected lottery pick twice. It should have been beyond known after his freshman year that he was leaving.

  • Guyton25

    You do if you’re focused on education as much as basketball. I did a report in college about how the majority of NBA players go bankrupt a few years after retiring from the NBA. This wouldn’t be the case if they would have gotten degrees while in college. The Zeller family is one of the few who get that and put a lot of weight on staying in school.

    Personally I wasn’t too surprised because he was a preseason Wooden Award favorite, and you just can’t pass that lottery opportunity up, like you said, but after Oladipo outshined him during the season I wasn’t so sure.

  • Kyl470

    I’m sorry to inform you that you are wrong on that. He could go to the NBA after half a season.