One of the hottest names on the recruiting trail this spring is class of 2017 South Kent (Conn.) point guard Tremont Waters.
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound floor general has added offers in recent weeks from Duke, Kentucky and Kansas. But Waters is content with letting the process play out as his recruitment heats up.
Inside the Hall was at the second Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) stop in Westfield recently as Waters talked to reporters about his recruitment.
“I’m not committing to any list right now,” he said. “I’m just enjoying the process and letting everything come to me. I’m open to anything.”
Indiana has been keeping tabs on Waters for several years now as they first wrote him a letter as a seventh grader. He said the Hoosier pursuit has intensified in recent weeks.
“They did offer. They said that if I went there that I would be just like Yogi Ferrell,” Waters said. “I would go in and run the show like he does. They keep comparing me to him. After me watching him, I think I play just like him.”
As a junior at South Kent, Waters averaged close to 25 points, eight assists and five steals per game.
So far this spring on the EYBL circuit with Expressions Elite, he’s averaging 14 points, 4.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 29 minutes per game. At 4-3, Expressions Elite has work to do over the next two EYBL sessions to solidify a berth in July’s Peach Jam.
Teaming with another IU target – 2017 big man Nick Richards – has been beneficial for Waters as he continues to hone his point guard skills.
“It makes my job easier,” he explained. “I don’t have to shoot over 7-footers. I can drop it off to him for a dunk. It makes me look good.”
As for his game, Waters, who is ranked the No. 48 prospect in the 247Composite, said he’ll continue to focus on the things that got him to this point.
“Just becoming an elite guard — I can score the basketball,” he said. “Everyone says my shot is terrific. I have to keep working on it, though. Running the team. Defensively, I’m a pest on defense. That’s why they (the schools) keep coming.”
Based on his play this spring for the Mac Irvin Fire, the recruitment of class of 2017 Stevenson (Ill.) forward Justin Smith is picking up steam.
The 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward is averaging 11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals through seven games on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit.
As a result, more schools have jumped into the mix for Smith, who is ranked the No. 134 prospect nationally by the 247Composite.
Villanova, Florida State, NC State, Stanford and Iowa State have all offered scholarships recently, joining a list that already included Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Wake Forest, Wisconsin and others.
Indiana has been a long standing presence in Smith’s recruitment as the Hoosier staff has scouted him many times and has also hosted him for three unofficial visits in Bloomington.
The high scoring, up tempo offense at Indiana has caught the eye of Smith, who said he has no timetable for a decision or when he’ll make a list of finalists and begin taking official visits.
“Just the pace at which they play at,” Smith told Inside the Hall at the EYBL stop in Westfield. “They get up and down the floor, they move the ball around, they get good, open shots. I feel like that would fit my game.”
After playing in a supporting role as a sophomore at Stevenson next to Jalen Brunson on a Class 4A state championship team, Smith took on a much bigger role in his junior season of high school. He averaged 19 points and nine rebounds.
One of the keys to becoming more assertive has been improved confidence.
“Coming off of last year, I was a little shaky, up and down,” he explained. I’d say this year I’m more confident in what I can do and showcasing that. My decision making has gotten much better. And being able to get my teammates open along with myself has helped.”
When asked which schools he felt have been prioritizing him in their recruiting efforts for 2017, Smith mentioned Indiana, Wisconsin and Villanova.
But his focus over the next month s is helping Mac Irvin Fire turn things around from a 2-5 start on the EYBL to get into position for a berth in July’s Peach Jam.
Mac Irvin Fire also features Michigan commit Jordan Poole and forward Christian Negron, who has also visited Indiana. Smith is the only player for Mac Irvin Fire scoring in double figures in EYBL play.
“We just need to play bigger,” Smith said. “We’re an undersized team so we have to fight harder on the glass. We have to play team defense. We have the talent, we just need to play harder.”
One of the top wing players in the 2017 class was in Bloomington earlier as Archbishop Stepinac (NY) took an unofficial visit to the IU campus.
The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Tucker is ranked the No. 31 player in the country according to the 247Composite.
Last weekend, he was in Westfield for the second Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) session where he teamed with five-star guard Hamidou Diallo on the New York Rens.
Formerly an adidas-sponsored program, the Rens are playing in the EYBL this year for the first time and Tucker made the move over from the New York Lightning, another EYBL program.
He mentioned Indiana as one of the schools most active in his recruitment in an interview in Westfield last weekend. The Hoosiers offered him a scholarship last May.
“They’re very high on me. They really want me,” Tucker told Inside the Hall. “They just want to get me into the program so that they can develop me. Tom Crean said I can be a special player so he wants to try to make it happen.”
On the EYBL circuit, Tucker is averaging 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game as the Rens are off to a 5-2 start and firmly in the mix for a berth in July’s Peach Jam.
In addition to the heavy interest from Indiana, Tucker mentioned Syracuse, Maryland, Villanova, Oklahoma, USC and St. John’s as some of the schools most involved in his recruitment.
Along with Diallo and Quade Green, Tucker is scheduled to take an unofficial visit to Syracuse today and the Orange have prioritized him on their list of targets.
“I’m a New York kid. They’ve been on me since I was a freshman,” he said. “They think I can fit perfect in their system as far as being a scorer, shooter and someone that can be very impactful in their zone.”
Tucker, who holds offers from more than 30 programs, hopes to use the rest of the spring and the summer to continue working on his game so that he’s ready to make a major impact when he begins his college career in the fall of 2017.
“I think just working on my athleticism and playing hard throughout the whole game,” Tucker explained. “Sometimes I miss shots and let it get me down, but I just need to keep going.”
Class of 2017 Berkmar (Ga.) guard Al Durham committed to the Hoosiers last fall following a trip to Bloomington and remains Indiana’s lone commitment in the class.
It’s been an up-and-down start to the spring for Durham, who is ranked a 3-star prospect and the No. 207 player in the country according to the 247Composite.
Through the first two sessions on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit, Durham is averaging 13.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, but is shooting just 30.5 percent from the field and is committing 2.9 turnovers per game.
Inside the Hall caught up with the 6-foot-4 combo guard at the EYBL stop in Westfield last weekend to discuss a variety of topics. Our complete Q & A follows:
How are things going so far this spring on the circuit?
“It’s going OK so far. We just had two tough losses at the beginning of this session. We’ve just got to come back and bring the fight that we had the first session over these next two games.”
What does it take to win in this league?
“Every possession counts. You can’t take one possession off. You’ve got to play defense. You’ve got to make sure you know your assignment and the rest will take care of itself. You have to play defense and score off the mistakes the defense makes.”
This last game against CP3 seemed to get a little chippy at times. Is that just competitors getting after it?
“Yeah, we know each other and we’ve been playing against each other forever. It’s just a little competitiveness during the game and wanting to win, the will to win.”
What are you working on most right now in terms of your game?
“Repetition on my shot because that always can get better. Working on coming off of screens, footwork, two-foot jumping, ball fakes, all of that.”
What are your conversations like with Indiana at this point? What do you talk about with them?
“We talk about the process of getting ready to go up there. They gave me hints and stuff on things to start working on now so I’ll be ready when I come in.”
What do you like about the program the most? What stood out to you watching them play this season?
“They all play together. I love their team chemistry. They move the ball and everyone plays for each other. No one is really selfish. Everyone is looking to pass the ball and move and then when it is your turn, you gotta go make a play.”
You talked about your shot, what are the things you can do to improve there?
“Just repetition. Just make sure I shoot the same way, squared, follow through, elbow under the ball and then letting it go at the highest point.”
Give us a synopsis of your high school season and how it went.
“My high school season went well, we fell a little shorter than we anticipated. We played in the Sweet Sixteen and lost a tough one there, lost a couple of players, but it was a good season. We played well, but we’re going to come back next year stronger and better.”
Did you notice opponents coming after you harder after you committed to Indiana?
“It’s a lot of fun. People get up when they play against someone who is committed somewhere big. Everyone got up, they double teamed, they tried to get me off my game, trying to get into my head, but it was fun. I liked it and I love the competitiveness and I’ve got to show them why I’m going to Indiana.”
What’s your relationship like with coach (Tom) Crean and coach (Chuck) Martin? What do you like about them?
“It’s going well. They’re more similar to the people around me. They want to help me get better. They care for me and they care for all of the kids at Indiana like they are their own. I really like that. That really stands out to me.”
One of the top prospects in the class of 2018 has taken an interest in Indiana and he has major ties to the state.
Darius Garland, a 6-foot, 160 pound point guard who attends Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, lived in Indiana until his seventh grade year.
Garland is the son of Winston Garland, who played at Gary Roosevelt and later in the NBA for seven seasons where he spent time with Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Houston and Minnesota. The older Garland was named to the Indiana high school basketball hall of fame’s Silver Anniversary team in 2007 and also coached at Westside High in Gary until 2012.
Darius is building his own name as he’s currently ranked a five-star prospect by the 247Composite and is building major recruiting interest as he stars this spring for the St. Louis Eagles on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit.
As a sophomore at Brentwood Academy, Garland led the program to its second consecutive Division II-AA championship and also won Division II-AA Mr. Basketball honors. He averaged 18.6 points, 4.3 assists, 2.5 steals and two rebounds per game in his third season playing varsity.
His stellar play has continued this spring in his first season with the Eagles as he scored 51 points over three games at the EYBL stop last weekend in Westfield. The Eagles are 5-2 and in good position to qualify for July’s EYBL Peach Jam finals.
“I like it a lot (playing with the Eagles). Have some good teammates, coaches and I think I can fit really well with them,” Garland told Inside the Hall on Saturday. “We have a lot of good wings with Jordan Goodwin and Tim Finke and some solid bigs. It’s been a good fit for me, so I like it a lot.”
Not surprisingly, recruiting interest continues to pick up steam for Garland, who visited Indiana on March 6 for the Maryland game and received a scholarship offer on the trip.
In addition to Indiana, he mentioned Texas, Ohio State, UConn, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Louisville and UCLA as some of the schools involved early on.
“Everyone is in the mix right now because I’m so young,” Garland said when asked about where things stand with the recruiting process. “I haven’t been thinking about it a lot. Meeting new coaches and everything, it’s a lot of fun.”
The early March trip to Bloomington was a positive experience for the five-star floor general.
“It was really good. The atmosphere was crazy because it was senior night,” he explained. “It was really fun. They say they’re going to be on me really hard and they are here watching this weekend.”
Combine his ties to the state and the fact that he’s already been on campus and Garland’s recruitment appears to be one the Hoosiers could be in for the long haul.
“My family is up here and I’ve been liking Indiana for a while,” he said. “They just started recruiting me this year and I’m really excited about that.”
One of the nation’s best 3-point shooters is planning an unofficial visit to Bloomington.
Andrew Platek, a 6-foot-4 guard from Northfield Mount Harmon (Mass.) and the Albany City Rock on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit, told Inside the Hall over the weekend that he’ll see the IU campus early next month.
“Coach (Chuck) Martin and I’ve talked to coach (Tom) Crean on the phone as well,” Platek said. “He’s called my parents. We’re trying to set up a visit for May 7 and 8 to get out there for an unofficial.”
Through the first two EYBL sessions, Platek is shooting 54.1 percent on 3s and is averaging 14.6 points for the City Rocks, who are 5-2. In a win over Southern Stampede and 2017 Indiana commit Al Durham on April 17, Platek scored 20 points and hit four of his six 3-point attempts.
Major programs have taken notice as North Carolina extended an offer to Platek on Wednesday.
“Stanford, Indiana, UNC are schools I’m hearing from,” Platek said on Saturday. “My offers that I’ve been hearing from the most are Davidson, GW (George Washington), Butler, Miami, Rutgers and St. Joe’s.”
A 3-star prospect in the 247Composite, Platek has scored in double figures in six of his seven EYBL games this spring.
He’s known as one of the nation’s best shooters, but is working to expand his game. He said his primary strengths right now are his shooting, defense and creating open looks for his teammates, but also has a list of the areas where he’s looking to improve.
“Getting to the hole, first and foremost,” he said. “I’ve been labeled as a shooter. So I’m trying to expand my game more. Get to the rack and get to the foul line and just all aspects of my game.”
Given Indiana’s success in recent seasons from the perimeter, the mutual interest between the Hoosiers and Platek makes plenty of sense.
“I love their pace of play,” he explained. They average 83 points per game, over 50 percent field goal shooting and over 40 percent from 3. That’s really impressive to me. I love playing like that. The fast pace of play, getting up and down the court, a lot of possessions, it’s fun to me.”
Assuming his team continues its winning ways on the EYBL circuit, Platek already has a schedule in mind for how his recruiting process will play out over the next few months.
“Hopefully, if we get a Peach Jam berth, I’m going to set up some official visits for late summer, early fall,” Platek said. “And then hopefully have a decision by sometime in November.”
Class of 2017 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and Boo Williams point guard Matt Coleman is one of the best in the country at his position.
Ranked the No. 32 prospect nationally according to the 247Composite, Coleman continues to add offers and interest. Through seven games on Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit this spring, Coleman is averaging 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He’s shooting 52.9 percent from the field.
Inside the Hall sat down with Coleman on Saturday morning during the second EYBL session in Westfield for an update on his recruitment and much more. Our full Q & A is available below:
How much have you been hearing from Indiana recently? Have they kept up with you recruiting wise?
“Yes, they have. As a matter of fact, I got a text before we came out here from coach (Tim) Buckley saying ‘I’m looking forward to seeing you play and I want you to know we’re still interested in you and love your game and want you to come in and run the show.'”
Which schools, as you go into your senior year, are making you a priority?
“On a daily basis, who I hear from are Arizona, Texas, Virginia, Ohio State, Florida, Indiana, Seton Hall and N.C. State. Those I hear from on a daily basis. Every day I get a text.”
What stood out to you watching Indiana play this past season and the year that they had?
“They had a really good season. Started out 7-0 in conference play. They ended up winning the conference championship. Made a good run in the (NCAA) tournament. Yogi (Ferrell) ran the show, got others involved and he was able to get the job done with putting the ball in the basket. He was their guy and he had help with Troy Williams, (James) Blackmon and those guys. Plus the freshman, Thomas Bryant. They had a really good year.”
In terms of your game, where do you feel like you’ve made the most progress recently?
“Being more aggressive and being able to take a bump. I’ve been getting a little bit stronger and I’m shooting the ball with more confidence knowing that when I shoot, it’s going to go in.”
What’s going to be your process for narrowing down a list?
“Let the summer play out. Let my four (EYBL) sessions go by. And then cut my list right after Peach Jam (in July). I know most of our seniors at Oak Hill, they made their college decisions right before the season started in October or November. So I look forward to taking my visits during that time and commit before the season starts so I can focus on my senior year.”
Do you want to take all of your official visits?
“Yeah, I do.”
Is Indiana a school you’d like to visit?
“I do want to visit. I haven’t been there and haven’t seen the campus, but I hear great things. They say it’s a college town. So everything is based on and surrounded by the university.”
Indiana jumped into the recruitment of class of 2017 forward Sidney Wilson last April with a scholarship offer.
The Hoosiers continue to recruit Wilson as the coaching staff watched him over the weekend at the Under Armour Association circuit stop at Best Choice Fieldhouse in Fishers.
The 6-foot-7 Wilson, who is ranked the No. 139 player nationally in the 247Composite, plays at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, the same school that Indiana assistant coach Chuck Martin attended.
One of the things that stands out early on about the Hoosiers for Wilson is his relationship with Martin.
“We’ve got a good relationship,” he told Inside the Hall. “He just tells me to stay aggressive and keep getting better, really. Even if I don’t go to Indiana, he’s still rooting for me as a kid because he and I went to the same high school. So he’s really rooting for me any way he can.
“He’s real close to my dad, too, they talk a lot. So it’s just a really good feeling with Indiana right now.”
Through eight games this spring for New Heights on the UA Association circuit, Wilson is averaging 14.6 points on 53.2 percent shooting from the field. He’s also averaging 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 assists per game.
New Heights is 5-3 in its division and on track to qualify for the Association’s finals in mid-July just outside of Atlanta.
Wilson has been working on adding muscle to his 180-pound frame, something he knows he’ll need once he arrives in college in the fall of 2017.
“I’ve been in the weight room a lot, trying to get better and take the hits so that I can finish through contact this summer,” Wilson said. “That’s really something I’ve been priding myself on.”
As far as his recruitment goes, Wilson mentioned IU, St. John’s, Texas, Georgetown, Maryland, Iona, Florida, Temple and Cincinnati as some of the schools showing the most interest right now.
He’s already taken unofficial visits to local schools like Rutgers, St. John’s and Seton Hall, but is hoping to get a chance to see Bloomington soon.
“I was trying to visit sometime here (during this trip), but I’ve got to get back home,” he said. “I’m trying to get down here as fast as I can.”
Wilson also has a timetable for when he’ll start to get more serious about his recruitment.
“Probably at the end of the summer,” Wilson explained. “I’ll cut down my list and start taking more visits.”
Indiana was one of the first schools to make Kris Wilkes a priority in the class of 2017 and the pursuit continues to be strong as the five-star forward concludes his junior season at North Central.
At 6-foot-8 and 195 pounds, Wilkes is a versatile player who has the ability to affect games with his length on defense and also score from both the perimeter and in the paint.
He’s once again starring this spring with the Indy Hoosiers, coached by Mike Peterson, on the Under Armour Association circuit. He was also recently named a core member of the Indiana junior all-stars that will scrimmage the seniors in two exhibitions in early June.