With Austin Etherington committed and just one scholarship remaining (two if you count the over-sign), the construction of the 2011 recruiting class will be a prime storyline to follow this offseason. Let’s take a deeper dive into whom Indiana is recruiting for this pivotal class:
– Cody Zeller: IU’s need for a versatile big man who can play could be filled by a prospect who resides just 62 miles southwest of Bloomington. The 6-11 Zeller, who led Washington to a 3A state championship with a dominating 20-point, 26-rebound performance, is blossoming into a legitimate five-star prospect. Zeller continues to keep a tight lid on his recruitment and will likely take several official visits in the fall before reaching a decision. Indiana, along with Butler and North Carolina, are considered the schools to beat. If there’s a 2011 recruit Indiana can’t afford to miss out on, it’s the prohibitive favorite for 2011 Mr. Basketball: Cody Zeller.
- Jeremiah Davis: Landing Davis, a powerful 6-3 guard who can play on or off the ball, could actually be better long term for a program trying to establish stability than a one-and-done talent like Marquis Teague. The Muncie Central guard was once considered a Michigan State lean, but Indiana has turned up the heat on Davis and might be the school to beat along with Cincinnati. Davis has talked about rooming with Etherington in college, but is staying the course with his pledge to hold off on a decision until he, in his words, “finds the right fit.” If Zeller is priority No. 1 for IU, Davis is 1A.
- Aaron Thomas: Thomas, a 6-5 scorer from Cincinnati, was named the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a junior as he averaged 22.1 points per game. He’s yet to receive a scholarship offer from Indiana, but told us last month that he was “pretty high” on the Hoosiers. West Virginia, Michigan, Cincinnati, Louisville and Ohio State are also recruiting Thomas.
- Nic Moore: The 5-9 point guard from Warsaw has yet to receive an offer from a high major school, but that could change quickly if he performs well come July with Spiece Indy Heat. He can flat out score, but needs to work on getting into the lane and dishing off to complete his game. Indiana continues to evaluate Moore, but whether or not that interest blossoms into an offer remains to be seen.
Indiana could get a major boost in the coming weeks as former Ohio State and Wright State guard Walter Offutt will choose between walking-on in Bloomington or playing for John Groce at Ohio University. Offutt was a four-star recruit in the 2008 class, but played in just 21 games as a freshman at Ohio State and in two games last fall as a sophomore before transferring to Wright State.
He averaged 17.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals as a junior at Warren Central before missing his senior season due to injury. Inside the Hall caught up with Offutt on Wednesday night for a Q & A:
On his decision to leave Wright State:
“One of the main reasons was (Brad) Brownell leaving to go to Clemson. Brownell was a good coach and I thought I could do really well under him. I really liked his system and wanted to do well under him. Obviously, he left and took on a bigger job at Clemson which is respectable. I’m not mad at him for that. I don’t know how it will be at Wright State. I don’t have the best relationship with Billy Donlon and the way he does things. I just don’t see myself playing with them, so I chose to leave.”
On how the interest in Indiana began:
“My former AAU team, Indiana Elite, the head of that team, Mark Adams and Mike Barnett, Kory Barnett’s Dad, they really like IU’s program and really looked after me during the recruiting process. Obviously I was recruited and went to Ohio State and committed there at an early age so I really didn’t have a chance to be recruited by many schools. They really had a good relationship with Coach Crean and I’ve been thinking about IU for a while. Even though I left the first time, I couldn’t go inter-conference, but now I have the opportunity to walk-on. I talked to Coach Crean already and actually, it’s kind of funny because he wanted to recruit me right after I committed to Ohio State when he was at Marquette. We kind talked about that and that’s how it all kind of started.”
On his interest in Ohio University:
“John Groce, he was the associate head coach at Ohio State and pretty much recruited me all throughout high school and I’ve got a very good relationship with him as well. So obviously, that’s why Ohio is in the mix. He’s showing some interest and has offered me a full ride, so that’s where it stands with that.”
Multiple media outlets are reporting that Bloomington South guard Matt Carlino will graduate high school a year early and attend UCLA next fall as a member of the 2010 class.
Carlino, who originally committed to IU back in August of 2008 following an Elite Camp, re-opened the process on March 25. And now, Carlino will enroll as a Bruin next fall. Here’s what he told Dustin Dopirak of The Herald-Times about his decision:
“It has great tradition. It’s close to home and they’ve got a great coach in coach (Ben) Howland. There are great players coming in there and there currently. I just feel like it’s a great situation for me to come in and help out.”
The Carlino situation is an interesting one with many dynamics. First, he committed very early to Indiana, so it’s not surprising that he would end up changing his mind. It happens quite often.
But beyond that, Carlino and his father, Mark, moved from the Phoenix area to Bloomington last spring to get a closer look at the IU program. And now, he’ll leave Bloomington South, graduate high school a year early, move across the country again and re-classify to 2010. While it would be easy to question the decision making here, the better route is to wish Carlino the best and move along.
We’re a little late to this, but Sterling Gibbs, who Alex interviewed last week, has decided to play for Gary Williams and the Maryland Terripans over “a slew of programs, including Florida, Wake Forest, Indiana, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Virginia,” according to Adam Zagoria.
Tom Crean and the coaching staff’s search for a dynamic point guard in the class of 2011 continues.
Dwight McCombs, a 6-8, 240-pound forward from Morraine Valley Community College (IL), has given a verbal commitment to the University of Central Florida.
McCombs had Indiana among his final list of schools and was scheduled to visit Bloomington on Tuesday. But that visit is likely canceled as MidStateHoops.com is reporting that the Chicago native will attend Central Florida:
McCombs narrowed his school choices to Arizona State, Auburn, Indiana, and Middle Tennessee State a week ago, spurring offers from Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri, NC State, and Penn State. After a strong visit at ASU it was common thought that he’d verbally commit to the Sun Devils.
With one official visit left Dwight decided to set it for MTSU this past weekend. However, a call from his good friend Marcus Jordan, also a former Whitney Young star that currently plays at UCF, convinced McCombs to take a quietly-kept unofficial visit to the Orlando campus.
With the late interest from IU and the Emmanuel Negedu chatter continuing to pick up steam, it’s not surprising that McCombs would chose another school. It is, however, a bit of a surprise that McCombs will attend Central Florida rather than Arizona State, who had long been considered the favorite to secure a commitment.
Emmanuel Negedu, the 6-7, 218-pound forward who chose Tennessee over Indiana, Georgia Tech and Memphis back in the spring of 2008, was on campus today in Bloomington.
Negedu collapsed in September of last year after suffering a cardiac arrest and has not been given clearance to play at the University of Tennessee.
However, Negedu was given clearance by a doctor in California, sparking speculation that he could leave Tennessee and attempt to play at another school.
He was rated the No. 40 player overall in the 2008 class by Rivals.com and averaged 1.9 points, 1.7 rebounds in 7.2 minutes per game as a freshman.
In an announcement at Pike High School in Indianapolis this afternoon, 2011 point guard Marquis Teague revealed that he will attend the University of Kentucky.
Teague, the No. 5 player in his class according to Scout.com, averaged 16.3 points and 4.3 assists a game and shot 43 percent for a 15-7 team at Pike.
He was also considering Louisville, Indiana, Purdue and Cincinnati.