Saturday’s trip to Bloomington for Hoosier Hysteria for McCutcheon point guard Robert Phinisee wasn’t his first to IU’s season opening event.
It was, however, the first time he had the opportunity to walk onto Branch McCracken Court at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall as an Indiana commit.
“I didn’t really expect to walk out of the tunnel and straight onto the court like that and get the ovation from the fans,” Phinisee told Inside the Hall on Sunday. “It was overwhelming, I got chills from it. It was great to see the players and see how they’re adjusting to the coaches and everything.”
Phinisee, the No. 94 player nationally according to the 247Composite, said he figured recruits would just walk around the court as was the case in previous years.
But that wasn’t the case.
“They didn’t tell us anything,” he said. “I was expecting it to be like the last couple of years when we walked around the side of the court. They had (Darius) Garland ahead of me and I heard that and I was like, ‘wow, we’re going to be walking out there.’ It was unexpected, but it was cool.”
The four-star point guard was one of three committed prospects on campus for Hoosier Hysteria. Three five-star prospects – Romeo Langford, Darius Garland and Keion Brooks Jr. – were also in attendance along with Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Phinisee, who sat with Damezi Anderson behind the IU bench during the two-hour event, said he talked to several of the uncommitted players in attendance, but wasn’t playing the role of recruiter.
“Really you just try to build a relationship,” Phinisee explained. “I wouldn’t say I’m coming too hard on them or trying to convince them to come to IU. I’m really just trying to build a relationship so that if they do come to IU, we’ll be close. But I’m not really trying to pitch them anything, I just let them make their decisions on their own.”
The plan for the McCutcheon point guard is to sign with Indiana in the early period, which begins on November 8.
His final high school season at McCutcheon tips off on November 22. The Mavericks will be in for an adjustment period as Tyler Scherer takes over for Rick Peckinpaugh, who retired.
“I need to be more of a vocal leader,” Phinisee said. “In the past we’ve had a lot of seniors and I haven’t been that vocal. And also adjusting to the new coach. It’s been a lot different because our old coach was there for 35 years. It is a lot different right now, but really I’m just trying to get everybody involved and locked in for the season.”
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