Cheaney leaving Indiana for assistant job at Saint Louis

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Calbert Cheaney, the all-time leading scorer in the Big Ten and one of the best to ever wear an Indiana uniform, is leaving his position as director of basketball operations in Bloomington for an assistant coaching job at Saint Louis University.

Inside the Hall confirmed a report Tuesday evening by the Indiana Rivals site that Cheaney had accepted the position.

A spokesperson at Saint Louis also confirmed Cheaney’s hiring to Inside the Hall.

“It is bittersweet to leave Indiana,” Cheaney said in a release issued by Saint Louis on Wednesday. “Learning and building relationships with Coach (Tom) Crean, the IU staff and the players was an unbelievable experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

A major motivation in Cheaney’s decision to accept the job was the opportunity to get on the floor and work with players and also recruit, according to a source.

“Calbert played an invaluable role in the success we enjoyed the last two years and we are excited for what the future holds for him and his family,” Crean said in a release. “He brought a great deal to us and in turn, I think he gained valuable insight into the profession during his time at IU.

“He has come to have a strong desire to return to the floor coaching and can do so with someone he trusts and respects in Jim Crews. He will do an outstanding job and there is no doubt in my mind that he has a tremendous future coaching at any level.”

Cheaney joined Crean’s staff at Indiana on June 18, 2011.

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2014 forward Goodluck Okonoboh trims list to five

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Class of 2014 forward Goodluck Okonoboh has trimmed his list of schools to five.

Mass Rivals AAU coach Vin Pastore confirmed to Inside the Hall Tuesday afternoon Okonoboh is still considering Duke, Florida, Indiana, Ohio State and UNLV (in no particular order).

Okonoboh also confirmed the news on his Twitter account:

At 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, Okonoboh is known as one of the class’s top shot-blockers and is ranked as the No. 19 recruit in the country and a five-star prospect, according to ESPN.com. 

He plans on taking official visits this fall with the expectation of making a decision by the November early signing period.

Indiana has been in good shape with Okonoboh since offering him in April, and his friendship with incoming freshman Noah Vonleh, a former AAU teammate, has been called significant.

A comprehensive scouting video of Okonoboh from July is available after the jump.

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Robert Johnson Sr. talks recruiting, upcoming IU visit

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After a summer that saw his stock rise significantly after performances at the Peach Jam and the AAU Super Showcase, class of 2014 Benedictine (Va.) guard Robert Johnson is ready to begin visiting schools.

The 6-foot-3, 190 pound guard is working from a list of seven schools — Florida State, Georgetown, Indiana, Miami (FL), North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia — and will make his first scheduled official visit this weekend to Bloomington. Louisville has also expressed interest in the combo guard.

Johnson received his first scholarship offer from UNC-Greensboro last year, but has steadily raised his stock over the past year.

The notoriety hasn’t changed Johnson, according to his father, Robert Sr.

“Talking to Robert, I think he’s handling the process really well,” Robert Johnson Sr. told Inside the Hall on Sunday. “He’s not a kid that shows a lot of emotion. He’s definitely blessed by the attention that he has received because he feel like he’s put in the work.”

While Indiana didn’t officially offer Johnson until late July, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Kenny Johnson has been familiar with the Virginia guard and his family for quite some time.

“Coach Johnson was actually recruiting him when he was at Towson,” Johnson Sr. explained. “Then when he made the transition over to Indiana, Robert was actually playing for the D.C. Assault at the time and he watched him then. He’s been kind of tracking him.”

The Hoosiers put on the full court press beginning in July, when Tom Crean was able to see Johnson average 20.2 points and shoot 46.2 percent on 3-pointers at the Nike Peach Jam.

“(This year) he played with Boo Williams in the live periods at the EYBL sessions at the Peach Jam and he (Johnson) wanted Coach Crean to see for himself the type of player that Robert was,” Johnson Sr. said. “Coach Crean was able to see him at Peach Jam and pretty much put his stamp of approval on everything as far as what Coach Johnson was telling him.”

In a story with ESPN.com late last week, the younger Johnson said that he could commit on a visit if “I find something I really like, I won’t wait. I could commit on a visit.”

Johnson Sr. told Inside the Hall that he’s made it clear to his son that he’ll support him in anything that he does, but was also wants to make sure that any commitment he gives will be final.

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Indiana to play four games on ESPN’s Super Tuesday

IUSMSith0003ESPN announced its annual “Super Tuesday” schedule Monday afternoon, and there is a significant Indiana presence on the list.

IU’s games at home against Wisconsin (Jan. 14, 7 p.m.) and Iowa (Feb. 18, 9 p.m.), and at Michigan State (Jan. 21, 7 p.m.) and Wisconsin (Feb. 25, 9 p.m.) will be featured, with each game being broadcast live on ESPN.

The Hoosiers lead all Big Ten teams with four games scheduled for Super Tuesday. Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State each have three games featured, and Michigan and Wisconsin will play twice.

Below is the full release from ESPN:

ESPN has announced its Super Tuesday schedule for the 2014 men’s college basketball season – showcasing a game from the Big Ten and the SEC each Tuesday beginning January 7. The ESPN doubleheader will tip-off at 7 p.m. ET, followed by a 9 p.m. game. The Big Ten and the SEC will play conference matchups, switching timeslots on varying weeks, through the nine-week series that wraps up March 4.

All games will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and on Apple TV to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

The 2013 Super Tuesday series averaged a 1.2 US household rating – marking the highest-rated college basketball weeknight series on ESPN last season.

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Okonoboh to trim list, IU expected to make cut

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Class of 2014 forward Goodluck Okonoboh is about to take the next step in his recruitment.

A source close to the Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.) senior told Inside the Hall Sunday evening that Okonoboh will trim his list of schools to “no more than five” in the next few days and that there is a “real good possibility” Indiana will be on that list.

After Okonoboh shortens his list, he will take official visits this fall with the expectation of making his decision by the early signing period in November.

Okonoboh is known to be close friends with IU freshman Noah Vonleh, as the two were AAU teammates on Mass Rivals. Since the time he received a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers in April, Okonoboh has spoken with Vonleh about potentially joining forces in Bloomington.

“He’s always in my ear about IU,” Okonoboh said to a group of reporters in July. “The most humble kid you’ll ever meet. He’s one of the top players in the country, but he’s just a great kid. He knows he doesn’t have to talk to me like anybody else would talk to me. We just keep it real with each other.”

“I don’t know how that couldn’t help,” Vin Pastore, Okonoboh’s AAU coach, told Inside the Hall in July. “So I would say the answer to that would be yes (that it helps). Goodluck is his own guy, but when you have a friend that’s already somewhere else and doing well already …”

Okonoboh also has mentioned that finding a program that will help him grow as a player and as a person is a priority.

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An early look at the 2013-2014 backcourt

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With the official start of practice a little more than a month away, the 2013-2014 season is on the horizon. We’ll have comprehensive player-by-player previews this fall, but here’s an early look at some of the storylines to keep an eye on with next season’s backcourt:

— Yogi takes the reigns: Yes, Yogi Ferrell started every game last season as a freshman. And yes, he was an integral piece of a team that won an outright Big Ten championship at Indiana for the first time in 20 years. But in many ways, it was a season of transition for Ferrell as he adjusted from being the man throughout his high school to fitting into a team with an already established leadership. Now that seven players have moved on from last year’s team, Ferrell is the second most tenured player in terms of minutes played at Indiana and will be counted on to lead on both ends of the floor. His freshman season had its share of ups — like his composure in the final 52 seconds a win at Michigan to end the regular season and his offensive display of 16 points against James Madison — and downs — his play against Syracuse in the Sweet 16, zero points and four turnovers — but with a year of experience and bigger things expected of him as a sophomore, it will be Ferrell’s time to shine.

— How does Indiana replace perimeter shooting losses? After finishing second nationally in 3-point shooting percentage for the 2011-2012 season and fourth nationally in 2012-2013, how will Indiana replace the efficiency of Jordan Hulls (44.4 percent) and Victor Oladipo (44.1 percent) from the perimeter?  The quick answer: It’s not realistic to expect another season in the top five nationally from a percentage standpoint. But improvement from Ferrell (30.3 percent as a freshman) along with smart shot selection from guys like Austin Etherington, Collin Hartman, Evan Gordon, Jeremy Hollowell, Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams will be key in maximizing efficiency and not falling down to 2010-2011 levels (34.6 percent) in 3-point shooting percentage.

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2014 Recruiting Board: Robert Johnson on the rise

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With the July evaluation periods in the rearview mirror and some major shakeups over the past two weeks, Inside the Hall has updated our 2014 Indiana basketball recruiting board.

Check out the updated list of prospects the Hoosiers are targeting for the 2014 class at the link below:

Continue to the 2014 Indiana Basketball Recruiting Board »

(Photo credit: Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Goodbye, ITH Nation

As difficult as it is to announce, I will be leaving Inside the Hall to accept a position with Fox Sports and Scout.com covering Indiana basketball and basketball recruiting. I’ll join Terry Hutchens’ team at AllHoosiers.com on Wednesday.

I am truly sad to leave ITH and all of you after almost two years. You guys are some of the most educated and enthusiastic IU fans out there, and I’ll miss being able to interact with you on a regular basis.

On top of that, Alex and Ryan have been two of the best people to work with as well as two of the most talented guys I have ever met. It has been an honor to be part of the ITH team as long as I have and I’ll now watch from afar as it continues to grow and prosper.

I’ll still be around and I hope some of you will come over and read my work at my new home. But instead of rambling on, I’ll just cut myself off there and thank you for reading my work over the last two years. It’s been an honor to bring you IU basketball coverage.

As far as my replacement here at Inside the Hall, that will be announced early next week.