What to watch for: July evaluation period

  • 07/06/2016 9:28 am in

The first of three five-day July evaluation periods begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Inside the Hall takes you through five things we’ll be watching for as college coaches hit the trail to evaluate prospects:

· In-state class of 2017 prospects: It’s no secret that the class of 2017 is talent rich in Indiana. There are four prospects from Indiana in the top 34 of the latest 247Composite rankings in Kris Wilkes, Jaren Jackson, Paul Scruggs and Malik Williams. Indiana has offered a scholarship to all four, but Wilkes, Scruggs and Williams seem to be the three that the program is really targeting. Wilkes and Scruggs will start out July in the Under Armour All-American Camp in Charlotte while Williams will be in Philadelphia with his Fort Wayne-based Legit Basketball program. Jackson, meanwhile, will be in the EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina. Indiana has scouted each of these players for years, but will be looking to solidify their presence in their recruitments this month.

· Who are the top 2017 priorities? Our recruiting board attempts to shed light on who Indiana is targeting for the 2017 class, but it is inevitable that the board will be shifted by the end of the month. Some names will fall off, others will rise and new names should emerge. In 2013, July was the first month we really heard about Robert Johnson. And in 2014, OG Anunoby came from off the radar to emerge as a target. Many prospects have already stated that they will be trimming their lists at the end of the month. Which players will keep Indiana in the running? And perhaps even more importantly, which players will Indiana bring to campus in the fall for official visits? We’ll begin to get the answers to those questions this month.

· Will Indiana’s lone 2017 commit have a strong July? Indiana’s only committed player in the class of 2017 – Al Durham – had an up-and-down spring on the EYBL circuit with Southern Stampede. Durham had several games where he scored plenty of points and filled the stat sheet in other ways, but also struggled to shoot with efficiency. Will Durham close out his grassroots career with a strong July?

· The 2017 point guard situation: From a positional standpoint, point guard is probably Indiana’s biggest need in the 2017 class. The Hoosiers are involved with several point guards, including Scruggs, Tremont WatersMatt Coleman, Nick Weatherspoon and David Beatty. Scruggs seems like the most realistic fit given his proximity and the fact he’s been recruited for several years, but Indiana also seems to be in great shape with the other four names. Weatherspoon and Beatty both have Indiana on their trimmed down lists that were recently announced while Waters spoke favorably about the program in an interview in the spring as did Coleman.

· Can the Hoosiers reel in another 5-star big man? Thomas Bryant will probably head to the NBA after the upcoming season and while Indiana should have other reinforcements remaining on the roster, grabbing an elite big man in 2017 would be a major coup. So, who are the options? Mohamed Bamba and Nick Richards are two players that Indiana has recruited diligently, but neither has visited campus to this point. Emerging from July on the list for both players with a chance to secure an official visit would be an encouraging development. Indiana’s track record with 5-star big men has been excellent dating back to Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh, so there’s plenty for the staff to sell.

(Photo credit: Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

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  • Bill Graham

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Williams is a project. We want Bamba or Richards. Its interesting that PG is being prioritized considering Josh and RJ will be seniors next year. I guess its good to give a new pg a year to learn under those guys.

  • Kyl470

    With the style of play that IU has I would think it would be a 5 star PGs dream to play in that type of offense.

  • IUBizmark

    And Newkirk will also be a senior. I’m not sure, but I think one reason they want a PG this year is so they don’t have to recruit 2+ next year to fill all the vacancies. Too much risk they would be left without good options. Plus, this class has a lot of great PGs.

  • Fivelefts

    It would be nice to have Tremont Waters!

  • Arch Puddington

    Not that this makes me an expert, but I attended one of the Indiana All-Star scrimmages, and while I agree in general that Williams is a project, I saw real potential. He is still quite slender and not ready for the pounding of the B1G, and his skills are not yet polished. But at least in that game he was better than Jaren Jackson, and when his body and skills mature, he could be really good. I’d take him in a heartbeat and look for multiple years of improving play out of him.

    At least for the moment it does seem that IU is the likely destination for any of them, but you never know. Vonleh and Bryant both came somewhat out of the blue, so here’s hoping for a little recruiting magic.

  • Arch Puddington

    IU has obviously landed a number of top recruits in recent years, but we don’t seem to have gotten all the way over the hump yet. Kansas, Kentucky, and Duke are certainly still more attractive to the 5 stars, and there is even a second rung above us that still seems to have some appeal, including Arizona, UCLA, UNC, Syracuse, and perhaps a few others. Some of that has to do with geography and where the talent comes from, but as has been pointed out, it has been several years since IU even landed one of Indiana’s own Mr. Basketballs. I think that the two years that followed the Cody/Vic team set the program back in that regard, and we still don’t have quite the standing with top talent we might wish for.

    Having said that, we still get lots of good players, and as schools like Wisconsin, Villanova, and even Michigan State routinely show, a boat load of 5 stars isn’t necessary for sustained top 10 play. CTC has done well with some unheralded recruits, and I suspect that if we have another good year this year, some of the problems we have faced — drug and alcohol incidents, questions about CTC’s job, etc. — will begin to fade and we will have even more of a chance to land elite talent.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Wilkes and a good Big! is that too much to ask? can’t wait for the season to start and i hope everyone is healing up from surgeries and injuries!! this year could be one to remember!!

  • TomJameson

    Arch, I know nothing about Williams or Bamba, but going off of your take (which has always been respectable), I would almost rather have a big guy around for 3 or 4 years and improving every year, rather than one who is here for one year and only semi-impactful (due to learning the CBB way).

    There is merit to having a very skilled 5-star impactful player, but he would have to be very impactful for it to be worthwhile … IMO anyway.

  • TomJameson

    I agree Kyle. I just don’t see how a PG wouldn’t love to play at IU with there run-n-gun type of game, and guard dominated offense. Plus good in-conference competition within a consistently top-ranked conference and very good TV exposure. What’s not to like?

    I think what Arch says about getting over the hump in recruiting has a lot of merit. IMHO the recruiting at IU has been on a gradual increase, other than the setback cause mostly by the “movement” class (always with the exception of Yogi). But we could be back on track, and with a good year or two … well, who knows.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    really good post. i’ve thought about it a lot myself, whether or not we should expect this program and this coach to be able to recruit right up there with the top tier schools you mentioned. personally i just don’t see it happening, though i do think CTC has a chance with the ’17 class to make up some ground. especially if he somehow manages to land another big guy.

    i will say, however, that there’s no reason why IU shouldn’t have the best class in the B1G (the one exception being izzo) and a top 10 class nationally on a regular basis. i don’t think that’s too much to ask. there certainly a lot of top players showing interest

  • HardRockHoosier

    Is Williams REALLY a project? You seem pretty adamant about that.. and Arch also said that in one of his posts. Not having seen him, one wonders how he became a Composite 34th ranked 4 star recruit if he’s a project. he must have had some good games somewhere along the way???

  • BadBoyHulls

    Agreed with the 5-star big men, look at this past draft. The 1st big name Freshman PF/C taken was Ellenson at 18 (not including Chriss because he came out of nowhere). Of the other Freshman PF/C leaving I would say Stone probably had the biggest impact for his team. Skal had little impact, Diallo had little, all these 1 and done big men are truly hit and miss for their college impact. I’d rather bring in big that stays a few years to develop so we can have consistency through the program, like the Bryant/Davis overlap.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    We should be able to land both Wilkes and Scruggs 247sports has them trending our way. If we land Waters or Bamba then we will be a legit powerhouse again. It be very nice to get a top five recruiting class.

    What are our chances of landing both Scruggs and Wilkes? Could you imagine what those two kids would mean to the program?

  • Kyl470

    Agree. For every Anthony Davis there is a Steven Zimmerman, Skal Labissiere, Cheick Diallo, etc. A bunch of big guys that played one year in college and didn’t really impact their program.

  • Agreed, great stuff. Generally speaking, last season has made me pretty positive going forward. I think we’re definitely on the way to much better and more enjoyable things from here on out. Now, if next season would just get started…

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Skal was lost in Caligari’s system. Zimmerman was in coaching nightmare. I don’t know much about the Kansas situation. I definitely would have taken any of those guys. Admittedly we did fair better with our big.

  • TomJameson

    That’s a good point though, the situations the different players are stepping into. I think Crean really does get the most out of his players, and he’s always getting kudos for player development. Also, we normally don’t have a plethora of talent at one spot (like UK), so much so that a player can be really underutilized.

    That could be a very nice discussion.

  • Kyl470

    I don’t think Skal was lost in Cal’s system. I think Skal was mostly just an overrated player coming out. He was too thin to really hold his own as a post defender. He was a good shot blocker. On offense he had an ok mid range game, but it has been discussed many of times that most teams are going away from mid range jumpers and focusing on 3 pointers, lay ups, and free throws.

  • Bill Graham

    Nice take Arch. I’ll agree he has potential. I wouldn’t be upset if we signed him. He just doesn’t appear to be TB, NV, or CZ caliber (but then again those are high standards to live up to)

  • Bill Graham

    Yes good points. But most (not all by most) footers are ranked highly strictly on potential. Many of them are unpolished. The polished ones are usually in the top 10 and the rest fall from 30-50. I see this kid as a good sophomore player and a very good junior and senior but I don’t see him as TB’s replacement. He has a ton of work to do to fill those shoes.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I think your right about Skal being underutilized because of what UK had on the bench. I was thinking along the lines that he wasn’t to find a niche or and wasn’t he able to adjust to Calamari’s system

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I know players can be over and underrated but Skal would have been much better if UK wasn’t so deep. Keep in mind that Skal played for elite teams in AAU pretty much dominated also virtually every rating systems had him at a 5 star recruit. You probably could make the argument he was over rated but he didn’t get to do what he was best at doing because pUKe had and abundance of wings that could do it as well so he got pushed around in the post.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Not sure where else to put this but I figured others would be interested (and this is recruiting-related)…December 10 at Southport High School is the annual Forum Credit Union Tip-Off Classic and the event this year has a pretty stacked lineup. Games begin at 11 a.m. and go back-to-back all-day. Players involved include: Zach Gunn (HSE), Damezi Anderson (SB Riley), Kevin Easley (Lawrence North), Jaren Jackson (Park Tudor), Malik Williams (FW Snider), Paul Scruggs (Southport) and the finale features Kris Wilkes and North Central against Romeo Langford and New Albany.