2016 guard Ibi Watson closing in on decision

  • 07/22/2015 11:33 pm in

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Class of 2016 Pickerington Central (Ohio) guard Ibi Watson is nearing the end of his recruitment.

The 6-foot-5 guard, who is playing for Nike-sponsored All-Ohio Red this week in the AAU Super Showcase at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, said on Wednesday night that he’s planning to make a commitment soon.

“I want to make it sometime soon,” Watson said. “After this last live period and going into August, I want to make my decision.”

The timing could be favorable for Indiana as the Hoosiers were the first major offer for Watson earlier this month and the other high major schools he is mentioning – Michigan, Florida, VCU and Missouri – have yet to take that step.

The Wolverines, who already have a player in their program from Pickerington Central in Caris LeVert, had assistant coach Bacari Alexander watching Watson on Wednesday.

“They just want to watch me through this last tournament and they said they’ll call me Monday and we’ll talk,” Watson said when asked about the prospect of a Michigan offer. “They just want to keep evaluating me and see how I progress.”

Watson also mentioned Dayton and UMass as schools who are involved in his recruitment. He said there’s a chance he could take visits before announcing a decision next month and said Indiana would be in line for an official visit.

Indiana associate head coach Tim Buckley was at Watson’s game on Wednesday.

“They’ve been talking to me almost every day, telling me stuff I can work on, get better and the stuff they love to see me do,” Watson said. “They pretty much tell me that when they see me play aggressive, like when I attack, they think I have a lot of potential and the potential to play early if I come in and work hard.”

This past spring in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), Watson averaged 12 points, four rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. His shooting is often mentioned as the primary strength of his game, but doesn’t want to be known solely for that facet of his game.

“A lot of people think I’m just a straight jump shooter,” Watson said. “But I feel like I have the ability to attack off the dribble and the pull-up.”

While Watson didn’t completely rule out the possibility that his recruitment could extend into the fall, he seemed to be firm on ending the process sooner rather than later.

“Right now I’m pretty set that I want to get it over with and get it done next month,” he said. “But I definitely want to just make sure I know the exact school that I want to go to. I’ll go home after this tournament and talk to my mom, talk to my coaches and everything and just make sure I make a good decision.”

“I’ll probably tell the coach first, and then I’ll probably just tweet it out.”

(Photo credit: Jon Lopez/Nike)

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  • hoosier93

    We’re trying to get Rawle Alkins… so let’s go after a sub-200 player that might sign early with us who plays the same spot. Genius thinking. Let’s eat up them schollys with some 3 stars.

  • Kyl470

    The team is going to lose Yogi, Nick Z, Troy, and probably JBJ after this year. That is three guards to replace. So there is still plenty of room for Rawle.

  • hoosier93

    Not when we’re going after Rawle, Brown and Gordon. Right now Watson is ranked 210. That’s pretty big time. If we’re losing 5 players and have 6 schollys… we need to try to fill that with players that are ready to play. Not players that’ll be 3 years from being ready.

  • inLinE6

    Every time I see Indiana being listed as the first high major program to offer someone, I’m a bit concerned and skeptical. Not that I have doubt in CTC’s talent evaluation. But I’m just not a big fan of that direction. We’ve got some relatively unknown but turned-out-to-be pretty good players, out of how many? What’s our success rate?

  • TomJameson

    IMO, Crean and staff do a real good job recruiting, but they seem to do even better with their guards. They definitely have an eye for talent in that area that exceeds the norm. Of course, they are looking for those kids that fit into their system as well, character wise and skill wise.

    I have no problem with getting Ibi on the team and will probably love watching him develop over his 4-year career at IU.

  • hoosier93

    I don’t understand it. We’re going to need players that are ready to walk onto the court and contribute. Not players that will take 3 years. And we’re the only big offer he has right now. Those schools are holding out why? But Crean throws out schollys like candy from a parade float.

  • hoosier93

    They do good with guards in the Top 150. And not even gonna go into the “character” aspect of recruiting.

  • SilentBob

    It looks like this kid has some tools that will allow him to come in and at least fill a minor role as a freshmen if we need him too. But we’re looking at having to replace possibly six players, and as much as I’d like to, were realistically going to land Alkins, Brown, Jones, Bridges, Maker, and Davis. So it seems practical to land a kid like this. And you definitely don’t want to wait until spring for a kid like Rawle to make up his mind. I mean keep a spot for him, but you want the core of your class signed before spring in my opinion.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I remember people being concerned about offers to Collin Hartman. That worked out. I realize that CTC can be criticized for many things, including recruiting “project” 7’s that don’t work out … but he generally spots the guards well.

  • hoosier93

    Well I wouldn’t necessarily say Colin HAS worked out but he’s been good. He’s also been able to play workin himself. And someone on here said that his recruiting value dropped quite a bit because of his injuries in HS.

  • hoosier93

    Well if the classes keep repeating themselves then we’re going to have a McD’s AA with another Top 100 player or 2 and a player or two that’ll have everyone scratching their head.

  • SilentBob

    Well first off I don’t think I’ve never seen Crean target so many big name prospects before. Really spreading his eggs out well this year. I mean 10 consensus top 100 players. Two more who are top 100 in 3 of the 4 major recruiting sites. And two more that are top 100 by at least one of those sites. And that’s just off the recruiting board provided by this site. There are some other journalists who have us linked to other top 100 kids as well.

    And really I don’t care what a scouting service says too much. It’s pretty obvious they look for potential over current talent, kids who have both are 5 stars, everyone else and it becomes a pretty flawed system. More accurate than I could probably draw up but still more of guidelines than rules. I mean if De’Ron Davis was an inch or two taller or a little bit quicker he would easily a consensus be top 10 to top 20. But since he isn’t, he probably will never be a lottery pick, and that drops him way down on the rankings. Same with Tony Bradley and even this kid ( although not nearly as dramatic as top 20).

    And I won’t even delve into the old classes. It’s a meaningless debate at this point. I will just say circumstances change

  • hoosier93

    We have offers to two Top 5 recruits in 2017. Maybe he’s figuring it out. Idk. I guess it takes 7 years.

  • twarrior87

    JBJ has a lot of work to do before heading to the NBA. I think it would be a safe bet to say we have him for 1 more year unless he’s made Oladipo like strides with his defense.

  • twarrior87

    I do like a 6’5 guard.

  • SilentBob

    Coaches are always learning. But I wouldn’t say it took 7 years. He has brought in some really strong recruiting classes the past 7 years, especially considering the circumstances early on. I say he is adjusting more than learning, probably both really.

  • hoosier93

    I’d hope so. Considering 2012 was a bust. 2013 has brought us Troy and Hartman. His 2014 class is looking to be his best one with JBJ RJ and Holt.

  • SilentBob

    It is. And having busts like that can set a program back a few years. I’m not going to blame it all on the players, as Crean recruited them, but he can’t control everything and he has had the most rotten luck I’ve ever seen a head coach get at a major college basketball program over the course of 7 years. From what he started with, to major injuries, off court instances, and untimely transfers who figured to be a big part of our team down the road. The dude just can’t catch a break.

  • hoosier93

    It isn’t good luck but you have to be able to combat that worth good coaching and playing to a teams strength. The 13-14 team should have been WAAAAAY better than it was. There aren’t any excuses other than poor coaching and strategy for that team failing.

  • SilentBob

    I agree with needing to play to a teams strength. I disagree that that team should have been way better or had a strength to play around. I thought that team was going to be absolute crap. I mean we had what? Two upperclassmen. Only one had been there for more than that year and the other was frickin Evan Gordon. Rent Abell and Uncle Mo leaving really hurt us. Even if Mo didn’t get on the court much with his intensely hampered speed, we could have used a consistent outside threat with Austin and Evan being more trigger shy than a pacifist.

    Upperclassmen are extremely important to any coach not putting 3 picks into the NBA first round that June. Seriously we lost 9 games by a total of 7 or less points. That’s inexperience to the max. The average turnovers for those 9 games were 16.9 almost two more than our ridiculous season average of 15. And the median number was 18.

    Also Crean was tasked with replacing almost 75% of his total point out out from the year previous with a sophomore Yogi, a glorified role player in Sheehey, and a handful of extremely raw freshmen. For comparison Bo Ryan is looking at replacing around 65% of his total point production from this past season. He has the luxury of doing it with two well established seniors and a handful of guys who have been quietly waiting their turn and two not so raw freshmen. So no outside shot, no consistent post game which minimizes cutting opportunities, and two freshmen who would travel before while driving with a clear path. Plus anytime he threw it to Noah he was doubled with no outlet option. And if you drag him out to 3 or land a bunch you take away our only decent offensive opportunity of a put back. That team was screwed from the get go. I’ll agree that he didn’t do a good job of getting Hollowelllnthe ball in the eighth spot, but even when he did he didn’t capitalize, and it’s well known he had an attire problem. Perhaps play Collin a bit more but that’s not the difference between what we did and getting a post season tourney opportunity.

  • hoosier93

    We had Yogi, Sheehey, Hollowell, Gordon, Etherington, Stan and Troy. Then Vonleh, Perea, Fischer (partially), DD and Hartman. Hartman wasn’t ready to play and DD really wasn’t either. Fischer should have been staying from day one along with Vonleh. It would have let Vonleh be a stretch 4. Then start Troy, Sheehey and Yogi. Would have been the biggest team we’d ever put on the floor for sure. Would that team be great at shooting? No. But plenty of teams get away with that. What that team. Could have done was played defense, rebound and take the ball from their opponents. I personally think Crean stresses “deflections” too much and doesn’t tell em to just take the dang ball. Fast breaks can greatly help a teams offense. That team had the talent and players. It was beyond poorly used by a poor coaching staff.

  • SilentBob

    Austin Etherington is just a god awful basketball player. He was recruited to do two things A) be Cody’s friend B) hit three pointers. He was lightly used by Butler this year an still only shot the three for like 25%. Evan Gordon had a 39% fg% at ASU and outside of two 15 & 26 pt outburst against crappy teams didn’t belong anywhere near an IU facility. But hey we were in desperate need of a guard and little brother Eron was looking like he may eventually be a 5 star at the time so why not.

    Luke Fischer was coming back from a mild injury and was wisely brought back slowly. It’s funny that ya mention this because a handful of games leading up to his transfer Crean had experimented with some different front court sets involving Noah, Hanner, and Luke. This actually led to Luke’s best game in his brief career at IU, he transferred like two days after that game. And anyone who has seen Hollowell in high school or during a practice knows it would have been equally as foolish to not give him a sniff at playing the stretch four. Not only does he look a bit like a young Paul Pierce in his body, but he actually had a similar skill set. Not saying he was anywhere near as good as Paul, but if he would have broke out and made the league that’s the comparison draft analysis would have been using that night. After 10 or so games of Jeremy being Jeremy Crean tried this out, just to have Luke transfer on him anyway.

    And Luke only averaged 4.25 rebounds this year against an underwhelming Big East talent wise in the front court. And that’s after having a year off to work on his body. Luke is slow and just didn’t have the muscle to battle big ten Bigs for 25 or so minutes a game as a freshmen. If Vonleh doesn’t shoot a three from behind the arc then he tries to shake and bake like he is a 6’10 Allen Iverson. That lineup would have been terrible too.

  • SilentBob

    Oh and the one somewhat bright spot of that team outside of Noah’s ferocious rebounding was the perimeter defense provided by Stan and Will in big ten play. Taking Stan out of that line up would have been a hit too. Also not having another ball handler was probably the biggest hamper on that team. Despite Yogis stature he just isn’t a pure PG. He is very much a score first PG. Always has been and always will be. That lineup probably would of had even more turnovers than the ridiculous 15 a game we already had