Indiana Elite One Orange is on a roll at the Kentucky Hoopfest.
After going 3-0 in pool play, the Elite team featuring Matt Carlino, Marshall Plumlee, Cody Zeller and Spencer Turner rolled into Sunday’s quarterfinals with a 77-54 win over Indiana Select.
Carlino scored 16 points and played an excellent floor game splitting time between the point and off-guard positions.
“It’s going well. Everyone is coming together really well as a team,” Carlino said. “A lot of it is coaching. It’s fun beating people too. It’s just really fun playing with good players. It’s a lot easier to look better and make better decisions even.”
Carlino, who played high school last season in the Phoenix area at Highland, moved to Bloomington in late May. He’ll enroll this fall at Bloomington South. He says one of the advantages of the move will be an increased level of competition.
“Everyone’s always playing,” he said. “There’s good competition everywhere in the summer. It’s really good year round. Bloomington’s just a great place to live in general.”
Having never been to a game at Assembly Hall, he’s also looking forward to taking in a game or two next season at his future school.
“I’ve never been to a game at Indiana, so this year, obviously, I’ll try to go to one or two,” Carlino said.
For now, after a long week of games in Cincinnati at the It Takes 5ive Classic and four games in three days at the Hoopfest, Carlino and his Indiana Elite teammates are planning to rest on Saturday and celebrate Turner’s birthday.
“Everyone’s so tired at this point. I’m running on adrenaline right now,” he said.
During the first week of the July evaluation period, it’s easy for any 16-year old to get caught up by the faces in the crowd. For Washington (IN) big man Cody Zeller, worrying about who is watching does nothing to help his game.
“If you try to impress them, you’ll play awful. I just try to play my game,” Zeller said after a pool play game in Louisville at the Hoopfest where 19 college coaches watched from the baseline. “I play in front of 7,000 people at my high school games, so I’m used to a lot of people watching.”
The 6-9 Zeller, who holds offers from Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Butler and Florida, is unusually well-coordinated for a kid his size, can finish in traffic with either hand and often beats his man up and down the floor.
“I’ve just grown in the last year or two,” he said. “I was 6-5 my freshman year. I was a point guard in junior high, so I’ve always been able to run the floor real well.”
Zeller, accompanied by his brother Luke, recently got the chance to play pick-up games in Bloomington with many of Indiana’s returning players and some of the incoming freshman during an unofficial visit.
“They’ve got some good freshmen coming in,” Zeller said. “I was impressed with quite a few of them. They’ve got some good guys in there so they can build a good team.”
Zeller says he is still in the early stages of the recruiting process and doesn’t have a timetable for a decision. On June 15 when college coaches were able to contact him by phone, mail and email, he received 7 or 8 phone calls and 15 to 20 emails.
“I’m still a long ways away. I’m looking into it more,” he said of the recruiting process. “I’m getting to know the coaches and stuff.”
After watching his two older brothers, Miles and Mason, go through the recruiting process, Marshall Plumlee has a pretty good idea of what to expect.
The youngest Plumlee, a 2011 center who attends the Arden Christ School in North Carolina, has impressed coaches this spring and summer with high intensity play. Scout.com recently ranked him the No. 35 prospect nationally in his class.
His Indiana Elite One Orange team attracted 19 coaches this morning at the Kentucky Hoopfest, including Indiana assistant Tim Buckley.
“It’s exciting, but we have a saying, ‘we just try and put the horse blinders on and go to work.’ It’s hard to ignore it completely, but we’re just here to win, get better and have fun,” Plumlee said.
Seven schools — Notre Dame, Indiana, NC State, Minnesota, Virginia, LSU and Florida — have offered the 6-11 junior-to-be. With a size 18 shoe, Plumlee thinks his feet are done growing but he’s still hoping to reach the seven-foot mark.
The Kentucky Hoopfest kicked off Thursday in Louisville and Inside the Hall attended the evening session at Hoops and Basketball Academy.
+ Among the coaches in attendance: Tom Crean and Tim Buckley; Michigan State’s Tom Izzo; Butler’s Brad Stevens; Xavier’s Chris Mack and assistants from Ohio State, Tennessee, Iowa, Wisconsin and Purdue.
+ At Hoops, the Spiece Indy Stars crushed Indiana Swish Orange. This Spiece group was coming off a tournament win at the Hoosier Shootout and Broad Ripple’s Ron Patterson, Lawrence Central’s Jeremy Hollowell (pictured), Southport’s Kellon Thomas and Avon’s Austin Burgett were all impressive. You’d be hard pressed to find a stronger group of 15-year olds.
Hollowell confirmed that Indiana is ready to make an offer, but it won’t be official until his mother gets a chance to be there for the occasion. Iowa and Cincinnati have offered. Hollowell is 6-5 (and still growing) and said he enjoyed his time last month at the Indiana Elite Camp.
2011 wing Austin Etherington, the No. 57 player nationally in his class according to Scout.com, talked to a group of reporters Monday morning at the adidas It Takes 5ive Classic.
Etherington, who was offered a scholarship just a few days after Indiana’s Elite Camp last month, holds five offers and is playing this spring for the 16U Indiana Elite Team Indiana. That team also features Xavier commit Darwin Davis, Muncie Central’s Jeremiah Davis, former Kentucky commit Vinny Zollo, Deng Leek and 7-footer Cheir Ajou.
You can listen to what the Hamilton Heights junior-to-be had to say in the embedded audio player below:
A who’s-who of college coaches arrived in Cincinnati Monday for the opening of the July evaluation period at the adidas It Takes 5ive Classic.
Among the coaches spotted: Tom Crean and assistants Tim Buckley and Bennie Seltzer; Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Walter McCarty and Steve Masiello; UCLA’s Ben Howland; Kentucky’s John Calipari; North Carolina’s Roy Williams; Ohio State’s Thad Matta; Minnesota’s Tubby Smith; Michigan’s John Beilein; Arizona’s Sean Miller; Memphis’s Josh Pastner; Notre Dame’s Mike Brey; Michigan State’s Tom Izzo; Maryland’s Gary Williams; West Virginia’s Bob Huggins and Georgetown’s John Thompson III.
Inside the Hall spent the day bouncing back and forth between the Fifth Third Center and the Campus Recreation Center and here are our observations:
+ The jury is still out on David Williams: The 6-7 lefty (pictured), IU’s lone commitment from the 2010 class, started the day slow as he failed to score in the Atlanta Celtics opening contest. Williams told us he wasn’t happy with his play in that game and looked much better in the afternoon in a 10-point effort. Offensively, Williams has a long way to go to become a scorer at the Big Ten level. He often looked out of rhythm offensively and needs to become more assertive. In July, the best players tend to stand out and make a name for themselves. Today, we simply didn’t see that from Williams.
+ Strong performances from Indiana Elite’s Matt Carlino, Cody Zeller and Marshall Plumlee: Carlino looked much more comfortable than he was in May and looked like a player that can make an impact at the next level. His court vision and ball handling were both excellent.
The July evaluation period kicks off Monday for college coaches and their assistants. And with coaches being unable to attend AAU tournaments in the month of April, July’s evaluation period has even more importance in 2009.
In no particular order, here are the storylines we’ll be tracking this month:
+ Is David Williams a high major talent? Before he committed to Indiana in late April, Williams was relatively unknown nationally. He is not among the top 100 prospects in the 2010 class on either Scout.com or Rivals.com and many wonder if offering a scholarship to Williams was a stretch for the IU staff. Playing on a stacked roster for the Atlanta “J-Smoove” Celtics that includes N.C. State commit Ryan Harrow, Tennessee commit Jordan McRae and former Ohio State commit Trae Golden, Williams is often overshadowed and perhaps under appreciated by scouts. We’ll get our first look at the Jacksonville native on Monday.
+ Can Indiana secure an official visit from Kyrie Irving? The Hoosiers appear to be in a favorable position for their top 2010 target after he said Indiana was at the top of his list in early June. However, Irving has established himself as one of the top players nationally in his class and Duke, Virginia, Kentucky and Notre Dame are all believed to be making a strong push. He will participate in the LeBron James Skills Academy this week and IU coaches will be able to watch him on Wednesday and Thursday.
+ Will Matt Carlino return to form after a tough April and May? After being slowed by injuries this spring, Carlino hopes to get his shooting stroke back and display the talents that led to an IU offer last summer. With his recent move to Bloomington, he should be more familiar with his Indiana Elite teammates. Look for IU’s lone 2011 commitment to have an impressive summer while playing both guard spots.
+ Is Indiana a major factor for Marquis Teague? Publicly, the stance from the Indianapolis Pike point guard is that he loves Indiana and Tom Crean. At the same time, Louisville has been recognized as the team to beat since last winter. There’s no doubt IU has been able to make up considerable ground in his recruitment. But can Crean sell Teague that he’ll be able to compete for a national title his freshman season?
+ Who is the best player from Indiana in the 2012 class? The 2012 class is loaded with talent and IU is actively recruiting four of the top players: Bowman Academy’s Dejuan Marrero, Broad Ripple’s Ron Patterson, Lawrence Central’s Jeremy Hollowell and North Central’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. To this point, Smith-Rivera has garnered the most national publicity, but Hollowell’s length, Patterson’s versatility and Marrero’s athleticism are all things to keep an eye on.
On Monday, July 6 we’ll be at the adidas It Takes Five Classic in Cincinnati and on July 10, 11 and 12 we’ll be at the Kentucky Hoopfest in Louisville. Follow us on Twitter to receive updates throughout the day from both events.