Recruiting roundup: First July evaluation period in full swing

  • 07/14/2017 9:59 am in

It’s been a busy first two days on the recruiting trail for the Indiana coaching staff. Three major shoe circuit events are concentrated in the south (Nike’s EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina, the Under Armour Association Finals in Atlanta and the adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, South Carolina) and all four coaches have been active watching prospects at those events.

Here’s a roundup of everything you need to know from the first day and a half of the first July evaluation period:

· Miller’s early focus – adidas Gauntlet Finale: Archie Miller opened the evaluation period on Wednesday night in Spartanburg watching four-star forward Jerome Hunter, who has the Hoosiers in his list of five finalists. While the other four finalists on Hunter’s list – Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Michigan and Xavier – were all represented, Miller was the only head coach in attendance.

There’s a pre-existing relationship between Hunter and Miller as the versatile forward from Pickerington Central (Ohio) had an offer from Dayton during Miller’s tenure there. Hunter was one of several prospects to attend Indiana’s team camp in Bloomington last month and the fact that Miller made it a priority to see him on Wednesday night is notable.

On Thursday, Miller was again in Spartanburg where some of the prospects he watched were Robert Phinisee, Romeo Langford, Luguentz Dort, Race Thompson, David Duke and Matthew Hurt.

Phinisee is a well-known commodity to Indiana fans as he’s the state’s top point guard prospect in the 2018 class and a recruiting target going back to the previous coaching regime. Phinisee and Indiana Elite lost their opener on Wednesday in the adidas Gauntlet Finale to the Arkansas Hawks. Phinisee was just 2-of-9 from the field and finished with eight points, eight rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes.

Thompson, who took an official visit to Bloomington earlier this summer, appears to be closing in on a decision. According to this piece from The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Thompson has zeroed in on Indiana, Minnesota and Iowa State:

“I’ll make my decision sometime after the AAU season, but I’m not sure when exactly,” he told the Star Tribune on Wednesday. “I’m not sure if I’ll take an official visit to (Minnesota and Iowa State), because I’ve already been there.”

The only official trip that Thompson has made so far is to Indiana in June. He also made an unofficial to Michigan last month. Thompson downplayed the significance of the Hoosiers being the only official so far, but he really was impressed with their campus in Bloomington.

“It was an official just because it was easier,” Thompson said. “I wasn’t going to take an unofficial and then come back again and take an official. So we just changed it. … That campus is a really nice campus. Good school. Great facilities. I like the new coaching staff a lot. Even with a new coach (Archie Miller) I think they’re still going to be a top team in the Big Ten. They’re pretty much always tough to beat and have some of the best fans in the country. I don’t think the culture will really change. Playing in front of that many people I don’t think you can’t (be excited).”

On Thursday, Thompson had 10 points as D1 Minnesota beat Karolina Khoas, 73-60. Thompson’s teammate and fellow IU recruit target Michael Hurt had 27 points and 11 rebounds in the win.

Langford, fresh off a trip to Cairo, Egypt for USA Basketball’s U19 team, played limited minutes on Thursday in a pair of contests. In an early afternoon loss to AC Georgia, Langford had six points in just 11 minutes. Twenty Two Vision rebounded to win later in the afternoon and beat Chuck Hayes Basketball, 53-42. Langford played just 12 minutes and scored five points. Given the rigorous travel schedule this month for the five-star prospect and the fact that he battled a sore back in Egypt, the limited minutes probably shouldn’t be a surprise.

Dort and Brookwood Elite rolled to a 92-75 beatdown of Ohio Basketball to open Gauntlet play on Thursday afternoon. The borderline five-star prospect, a native of Canada, had 13 points in the win.

Duke, a four-star point guard prospect, only had two points in seven minutes in a 64-54 loss to the Atlanta Celtics on Thursday.

Later Thursday night, Miller slid over to the UA Association open finals to get a look at Ben Davis forward Aaron Henry, who added offers from Xavier and Nebraska late last night. Assistant coach Ed Schilling watched Henry on Wednesday night and it appears the staff is taking a hard look as it determines whether or not to extend a scholarship offer. Henry and Team Harris, who played on the adidas Gauntlet silver circuit back in the spring, shifted over to play in Under Armour’s open finals for the first July evaluation period. That event features teams from various shoe circuits.

Schilling spent Wednesday night in Atlanta where Eric Ayala and Moses Brown are also playing.

· Flint, Ostrom open at Nike EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam: Associate head coach Tom Ostrom along with Bruiser Flint were at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball Finals at the Peach Jam on both Wednesday and Thursday, according to our freelancer Jacob Savage, who is attending the event.

On Wednesday night, Savage spotted the IU coaches at the Bradley Beal Elite vs. PSA Cardinals contest. Bradley Beal Elite features five-star point guard Darius Garland. Adam Zagoria had a comprehensive update on Garland, who appears to be seeking out some package deals for the next level:

Garland says he’d like to play with Jones in college, and the two could theoretically complement each other with Garland as more of a combination guard. In that way, they could be similar to how Duke used Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones, Tre’s older brother, who is also here at the Peach Jam supporting his brother.

“I mean, it’s a lot of us who are trying to make a package deal out of each other,” Garland said.

“Cameron Reddish, Tre Jones, me and Marvin, we played together a few years back so we’ve been talking about it. Me and Romeo [Langford] have a really good connection, so I’m trying to get him over with me, too. Wherever I go, I want him to come with me.”

Indiana did get a mention from Garland in the update along with Duke, Vanderbilt, Kansas and UCLA.

Flint was also spotted on Wednesday night watching Meanstreets (Damezi Anderson), as well as Nike Team Florida (Trendon Watford) vs. Boo Williams.

Ostrom watched Howard Pulley, a Minnesota-based program go head-to-head with MoKan Elite. One name from Howard Pulley to keep an eye on is Gabe Kalscheur, a 2018 shooting guard from the Minneapolis area.

On Thursday, five-star prospect Louis King, who is playing at the nearby Peach Invitational, got an Indiana mention in an update from Zagoria over at Zagsblog.com.

Later Thursday night, Savage spotted Flint at BABC vs. CP3 All-Stars.

There was one notable update Thursday in regards to a highly coveted five-star prospect in the class of 2019. Team Penny’s James Wiseman listed the Hoosiers, Kentucky, Kansas and Duke as schools he wants to visit soon:

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  • Donnie Vick

    Great report.

  • Lance76

    Not sure how to react to the comment made by Garland about playing with Jones in college. This world of recruitment must be challenging for staff to figure out players intentions.

  • John D Murphy

    Go Archie go!

  • inLinE6

    That’s a typical way of how kids think, but package deal rarely worked in the past. Mike Conley and Greg Oden were the only ones I could remember. Ultimately they have to pick the system and situation that works to their own best interest. If I have to guess, the chance is, they won’t end up at the same school.

  • 5 Banner Btown

    Imagine if we wld have landed a top 10/ 5star wing on the squad from 2 years ago that had allready won a Big Ten title. Or even last years team it wld have taken us to that next big step and getting us passed the sweet 16. IU gets alot of really good players but imagine the last few years if we wld of had a Micheal Porter, Miles Bridges, or a Romeo Langford. I know these players r hard to come by but a SG/SF who can get u 20 a night and be effective on both sides of the ball is what IU has lacked in signing n the last decade since Eric Gordon. CTC was good at finding players who weren’t big time recruits but players he cld develop into 5 star players. I think DD is gonna b 1 of the better bigs n the NCAA next yr but I have my fingers crossed in hoping we land a big time/name player that will start a trend that has IU landing more and more each yr.

  • 5 Banner Btown

    Wasn’t Okafor and Tyus Jones a package deal at Duke? But I think Romeo wld b the 1 getting followed and not following others to a school of there choosing

  • iugradmark

    I have my fingers and toes crossed but I am not sure the timing is right for this class. We are behind other top schools for the top tier talent and some of these kids like Romeo are thinking one and done and more likely to go to a coach with a track record.

    Archie and the assistants, other than Schilling, were not really recruiting this level of player in the prior jobs and Indiana has not been an upper tier destination for top players for a while. I fully believe we will start to get a few 5 stars in a year or two and hope I am surprised this year.

  • Bill Graham

    Sounds to me like Duke, Kansas or Kentucky will likely get the usually top tier combo’s like Garland and Jones. Historically, Kentucky and Duke usually get the combo’s and then Kansas signs one top dog. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Romeo goes to Kansas. That’s okay though. Those schools will lose those guys after one year and they will be left to recruit the next years top dogs as we progress and grow guys like Thompson or Phinisee into their sophomore years. Archie has said time and time again that seniors are the foundation/the backbone of what he is trying to accomplish. I’d say eventually we will probably have a similar mold to what Kansas has been recently. Strong groups of juniors and seniors complemented by a top tier kid that is brought along slowly (they did this with Wiggins + Jackson recently).

    Look at Notre Dame, they’ve finished 2,5,3 in the loaded ACC conference in each of the past 3 seasons and made it to the elite eight twice….All because of seniors. They know they aren’t going to compete with Duke and North Carolina for top 20 kids right now. So they find middle tier kids and make great seniors out of them and it works.

    Bottom Line: I want the Romeo’s of the world as much as we all do. Heck I just posted on another article that I dreamt of the day I read, “Indiana signs 5 star,” …..but maybe right now we need to be patient and let him do his thing.

  • Bill Graham

    This is slightly contrary to what I just posted….But it does bother me that Indiana kids don’t feel honored to represent their state anymore. Heck if I was a kid nowadays, my college decision would be easy as soon as Archie showed up at my games.

  • Bill Graham

    I could be wrong but I think Romeo fits the same category as guys like Fultz, Jackson, Wiggins, Turner, etc etc… I think he wants to be “the guy,” not part of a package.

  • iugradmark

    Bill, I hear you. I actually do think that down the road, we will get some players that really grow up and want to play at Indiana again. I believe Archie started building that foundation this year with visits to coaches, hosting camps, extending personal invitations, etc. It will take time and some degree of success.

    With all that said, the top kids are still going to go where it is “best” for them. There is too much money, handlers, etc. in the game now that these kids do not see themselves as an extension of the state. If Kentucky, Coach K, Kansas, North Carolina, etc. come calling they will always listen regardless of their roots and right now, we are behind those programs in being a top tier program.

  • Bill Graham

    As much I hate to agree with being behind them….you’re right. The culture has totally changed too… Used to be you’d go to school the day after a game and your buddies would say,
    “Man did you see the game last night? Hoosiers barely held on. Great call by feeding the post on that last play. Thank god we ran clock and took care of the ball at the end.”
    Now its..
    “Hey man did you see the game last night? Those dunks were crazy and how about Kyrie dribbling behind the back and through his legs 18 million times and hitting that fade away 40 foot 3.”

    Players don’t care about fundamentals and tradition.
    They care about flash and NBA exposure.

    I referred several times for Romeo when he was an eighth grader (before he was majorly nationally recognized and I can tell you his game consisted of a ton of fade away 30 footers – now obviously he’s improved but…I still think the bright hollywood-like allure of Kentucky and Duke are probably more appealing to him than representing the state he grew up in….(sidenote – this is just speculation though – I dont personally know him).

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    If Archie can get Garland, Demezie Anderson and Wiseman that would be fantastic. Also added in Musa at center. Wow!!! And of course Robert Phinisee!!!!

  • Donnie Vick

    I don’t really buy this idea about IU being behind with the ’18 recruits. A number of them had offers and visited at least once under Crean. Additionally, all of our coaches except Bruiser were recruiting in some capacity. Its not like we got an NBA coach who had not been recruiting at all in the past few years. Sure, they have to make some adjustments, but Archie is going after some of the same kids he was recruiting to Dayton.

  • Slappy

    The issue there is…who do we want? Aaron Henry and Eric Hunter both have said…make me the offer for IU. There hasn’t been yet. So, if we would rather have Louis King or Damezi or whomever and are holding the scholarships, those guys might have to move on. And we could still end up with none of the other targets.

    Same goes for wanting Garland over Phinisee or Hunter. Two way street on this stuff. We are setting our sights high, and so are the kids. If you are a kid that thinks you are a future pro, of course you look at us vs Kentucky and know which way is more surefire.

    Let’s see what happens.

  • Ivan Renko

    Musa reclassed to 2017 and committed to OSU

  • 5 Banner Btown

    Exactly what we need. Go after top 100 players that will stay 4 yrs and try and sign a 5 star 1 n done ayer here n there to compliment ur senior class. Imagine if we had a Romeo Langford, or Miles Bridges, or a Micheal Porter on the team 2 yrs ago that won the Big Ten.

  • iugradmark

    Donnie, my thoughts on being behind are aimed at the top tier kids. Archie wasn’t competing for these kids or against schools like Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, North Caroline, or teams like MSU at Dayton. Some of these coaches have been working their relationships with these players for many years. That doesn’t mean we can’t sign one, but we are behind on these kids. I think you will see us more competitive with kids like Phinisee and Thompson this year.

  • 5 Banner Btown

    Opening the doors for middle or elementary teams even will pay off. I watched IU practice the yr after we lost to Maryland n championship game. I was n 6th grade I believe and after meeting Mike Davis n the players I was hooked from then on and have never looked back.I obviously wasn’t any big time player or recruit but if I was then I wld of played at IU all bc of that moment. So there’s gonna b young kids that get that same experience as I did but grow up to b a stud and want to play for IU bc of it.

  • Peter Delevett

    Crap – GOTTA stop losing those Bloomington kids. ?

  • Ivan Renko

    Rumor is Archie had slowed down and lowered Musa as a priority. Must’ve seen something in Musa he didn’t like.

  • VOXAC30

    Musa is only 6’5 isn’t he? I could be wrong.

  • Ivan Renko

    right, I’ve read that Holtmann wants him playing the 2 guard spot

  • IUBizmark

    From what I’ve read, Romeo likes Louisville. I think he wants to stay close to home, but doesn’t like the UK atmosphere, partly because his family values education and an atmosphere conducive to that. I think Duke is a leader just because of their reputation. IU and UK are the backup options to Louisville.

  • IUBizmark

    I think those reports are backward. I think Musa agreed to reclassify and that’s what caused the staff to “back off” not the other way around.

  • Dialogos68

    Sounds like Garland, Jones and Langford are all headed to Duke!

  • Tom Jeffries

    OSU only had 10 scholarship players…Holtman lost all 3 Matta recruits plus Jaquan Lyle “quit” and another player transferred.Re-class by Musa gave him a chance for more playing time at OSU

  • IUBizmark

    Exactly. Big exposure and a familiar coach. Plus, I think he wanted to leave the state for college. Can’t blame him. Living near your parents and then going pro or whatever all at once is a big leap.

  • sam

    LOL.. almost funny

  • just a fan

    I see your point, but to my mind a five-star such as Romeo is a waste of a scolly….one-and-done. After one year he’d be off to the pros, I’m supposing, so unless we’re convinced that we’re in contention for a 2019 NCAA championship, we’re continually on the recruiting trail to find & develop someone else. Noah Vonley was a perfect example, good kid, but not enough time to impact the program by developing his game.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I missed that. Thanks.

  • Ivan Renko

    Interesting… makes sense though for Archie if that was the case.

  • VOXAC30

    Even though I do not want to us to defend this kid on the court because at 6’5″ he is going to be match up nightmare four our guards. The kid was smart he may not see the floor at IU where at OSU he will likely see at lot PT his first year.

    I wish him luck except when he plays us!

  • VOXAC30

    It must have been awful at OSU for Jaquan Lyle to quit. I know he got in trouble but he played well at OSU,

  • John D Murphy

    It’s important to begin to get those kids because the five star recruits from two years in the future are looking at other one and done guys not four year guys in deciding who can help them get to the pros.

  • Vincent Agramonte

    My prediction for the class of 2018 as of now is Race Thompson, Robert Phinisee, Jerome Hunter, and Romeo Langford. I know Romeo is optimistic but he has said that his family really values education putting us and Duke ahead of UK and Louisville and wants to stay close to home putting Duke at a disadvantage. The pieces are all there Archie just has to put them together and I wouldn’t bet against him!

  • Donnie Vick

    But Schilling has been chasing the top tier kids for UCLA and you can’t overlook that…my main point is that I think we’ll have a fair to good class in ’18. We’ve got plenty to offer: PT, great young coach and good staff, great facilities, and the best fanbase.

  • iugradmark

    Read today Phinisee has added another school to his top list. Not sure who it is.

  • iugradmark

    Donnie you are right we will get some good kids. My comments were more related to the top of the top tier kids. Schilling is a great assistant and will help us establish relationships moving forward. For the kids that are down a rating all the things you mentioned will be what we are pitching. For top tier kids PT is assumed and they are being offered that by everyone. Same goes for the other items. All the top programs have great facilities, good conferences, play on TV, so it comes down to relationships. We’ll get there.

  • Vincent Agramonte

    Do you remember where you read that?

  • iugradmark
  • Vincent Agramonte

    Interesting… Wonder what school

  • William Stephens

    I like your thinking. I believe Romeo is a long shot. I would love to get him but I can’t get upset over losing a probable one and done. I would love to see IU build depth and develop talented student athletes. 3 year degrees are very possible for any athlete who concerns themselves with an education, IU has a wonderful track record for that plus a world acclaimed School of Business. I enjoy watching young players develop into great college players rather than see them go into the NBA raw. I understand the money is great but I still like players who stay to work on their games.
    Romeo fits what IU needs, but he is just one piece of the puzzle. The the others would make a very nice start to Miller’s IU career. Yet any IU fan knows how injuries can decimate a great recruiting class. That is why I strongly believe depth (by recruiting talent that will stay in school) year in and year out is best. The B1G has slipped some recently in national rankings, so it is important that all B1G teams get out and recruit. Good luck to all, college (B1G ) basketball makes the long winters in the corn belt less monotonous.

  • William Stephens

    As long as the NBA is willing to develop raw talent, schools that have the “Glamour factor” will get the players who aren’t concerned with an education, conference championship, NCAA championship, playing for their home state, or fan base. UK offers an environment with special housing for players complete with a private chef. Going one-and-done means the kid doesn’t need to attend class after the first semester. UK’s Rupp Arena is filled with big money boosters close to the floor and has a very small student section. Their conference (SEC) is a cakewalk with mostly all football schools. They can expect to be in the NCAA every year without fear of a conference threat. Coach Cal has stated he cares more about getting his players into the NBA than a NCAA title. Things are similar at UNC, look at the past history with their educational scandal.
    A major problem that may still not be addressed, time will tell, is will the IU fan base get passed the firing of Bob Knight? Can they come together and root for IU no matter what Archie does? We as a fan base have been on social media and other public forums too many times blasting the coaching staff. We hire them because we like their style or their records or their reputations. Then they lose a game or make a substitution or don’t call a time out, and then some fans show up at the coaches sons high school game chanting for his dad to be fired! Indiana is not the same as it used to be and we as fans are a very big part of that. When recruits read about fan dissention at IU…. why would they want to come here? Get behind them like a real Indiana fan or go root for some one else! GO IU!!!