Nearly two weeks ago, Indiana’s coaching staff addressed the 2014 recruiting class but had to leave one name out — 6-foot-7 Max Hoetzel — due to the fact that the Hoosiers had not yet received his National Letter of Intent.
Well, on Monday afternoon during his press conference previewing the Hoosiers’ game with Evansville, Indiana coach Tom Crean was able to address the third signee of the class.
Crean confirmed that Indiana has received Hoetzel’s LOI and he officially joins guards James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson as future Hoosiers.
“Anytime you can get a guy that you can see a little of Steve Novak and Will Sheehey in and a guy that absolutely wants to be here, is a gym rat and you know is only going to get better, it’s a very good get,” Crean said. “There was no doubt that we wanted to improve our ability to shoot the ball from the outside. And when that became an opportunity to get someone at that position with that skill set and future skill set, it was a no-brainer for us.”
Class of 2014 Findlay Prep (Nev.) forward Jonah Bolden announced his list of six finalists tonight and Indiana remains in the mix for the 6-foot-9, 210 pound forward.
Bolden, the No. 49 player nationally according to the 247Composite, is also considering Louisville, Kentucky, Southern Methodist, UCLA and USC.
The Hoosiers are making a late push for Bolden, who is a native of Australia that transferred to Findlay Prep for his senior season.
“I started hearing from Indiana only in the last month,” Bolden told Inside the Hall recently. “My conversations with IU so far have been about my need to the program. Just talking about how they are.
“I like the way they play. It’s a very free style of play with as minimum but as much as needed structure as possible. I feel it suits the way I play and my availability for my position as a small forward.”
Bolden’s father, Bruce, played professionally in Australia after a collegiate career at Boise State.
Indiana has three players already signed for its 2014 class — guards James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson and forward Max Hoetzel.
As Tom Crean and his assistant coaches Steve McClain, Tim Buckley and Kenny Johnson addressed the media about a 2014 recruiting class in which James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Max Hoetzel all signed their National Letter of Intents on Thursday, Crean emphatically repeated the phrase on multiple occasions.
“We addressed our needs with a capital ‘N’,” he said.
That need that was so effectively filled by a class with two 6-foot-3 guards and a 6-foot-7 forward?
“Downhill players that can make shots,” Crean said.
With a team that made only 2-of-24 3-point attempts in its first three halves of the season, Indiana’s 2014 recruiting class, ranked No. 17 according to the 247Composite, is regarded for its shooting. Blackmon and Johnson each have elite shot-making skills. Indiana focused on recruiting Hoetzel because of his size and long-range shooting ability, in addition to his athletic upside.
But with a team that might not have the shooting weapons it wants now, Indiana’s staff has found them, and they are only a year from donning the cream and crimson.
The last of three class of 2014 players expected to sign National Letters of Intent today with Indiana, Max Hoetzel made it official this afternoon by inking with the Hoosiers at Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts.
Hoetzel, a 3-star prospect according to the 247Composite, committed to the program on Oct. 27 while on an official visit to Indiana. He joins guards James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson as Indiana’s other signees.
The 6-foot-7 shooter was under-recruited while at Calabasas (Calif.) High and transferred to Wilbraham and Monson this past August, where Indiana began recruiting him after a trip to Wilbraham originally intended to see then-target Goodluck Okonoboh.
Benedictine College Preparatory (Va.) guard Robert Johnson became the second official member of Indiana’s 2014 recruiting class when the 6-foot-3 guard signed his National Letter of Intent this afternoon.
Johnson delayed signing until today so that he could sign at G.H. Reid elementary school in Richmond.
The No. 48 player nationally according to the 247Composite, Johnson becomes the second player to sign with the Hoosiers today, joining Marion guard James Blackmon Jr.
The combo guard averaged 20.2 points and shoot 46.2 percent on 3-pointers at the Nike Peach Jam in July.
The first of three class of 2014 players expected to sign National Letters of Intent today with Indiana, James Blackmon Jr. made it official this morning by inking with the Hoosiers at Marion High School.
Blackmon Jr., the No. 31 player nationally according to the 247Composite, committed to the program on Oct. 31 in a televised announcement on ESPNU.
He’s the fourth highest rated recruit in the Tom Crean era (using 247Composite rankings) behind Cody Zeller, Noah Vonleh and Yogi Ferrell.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 33.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game as a junior at Ft. Wayne Luers and is considered one of the frontrunners for the 2014 Indiana Mr. Basketball award.
The early signing period for the 2014 recruiting class began Wednesday and all three of Indiana’s verbal commitments are scheduled to sign National Letters of Intent with the Hoosiers on Thursday.
James Blackmon Jr. will sign at 11:30 a.m. at Marion High, Robert Johnson at 3 p.m. at GH Reid Elementary in Richmond and Max Hoetzel at 3:30 p.m. at Wilbraham and Monson in Masaschusetts.
Here’s a capsule for each recruit in the class:
Guard, 6-3, 180-pounds, Benedictine College Preparatory (Va.)
247Composite: 4-star (48); ESPN: 4-star (44); Rivals: 4-star (42); Scout: 4-star (55)
Expert opinion: “Johnson is one of the most complete guards in the country. He’s a true combination guard as he can play point guard or the role of a shooter/scorer in a pinch. The strength of his game lies in scoring, with 3-point range and a pull-up jumper along with the ability to attack, drive and finish at the rim. He is not afraid to take jumpers in transition when he is open, a sign of self-confidence. As a point-guard type, he possesses the qualities of poise, vision and the understanding of how and when to distribute and make the assist.” – Paul Biancardi of ESPN.com.
Commitment coverage: Robert Johnson: Indiana is the “best fit for me”; Q & A: 2014 commit Robert Johnson talks IU visit, future
Video: Robert Johnson at the AAU Super Showcase