If Park Tudor point guard Yogi Ferrell declares for Indiana on Wednesday, as many are expecting, the pursuit of Hamilton Southeastern’s Gary Harris will instantly become the top recruiting storyline in Bloomington.
The five-star shooting guard, who just wrapped up his junior football season at wide receiver, made a quick trip on Sunday to watch the Hoosiers dispose of Evansville at Assembly Hall.
“I had a good time down there,” Harris told Inside the Hall on Monday evening. “I got to see the game and they got the win, so that was good to see. I got to talk with Coach Crean a little bit.”
Harris’ relationship with Crean has continued to blossom as the Indiana head coach has assumed the role of lead recruiter for the 6-4 guard.
“I do feel they’ve made me a priority,” he said. “Most of my contact has come with Coach Crean. He’s done a great job recruiting me himself. And his recruiting style is up there with the best.”
That recruiting style Harris is speaking of is paying huge dividends in recent months for the Hoosiers.
Indiana has landed eight commitments since August 9 and Harris said he could see a turnaround coming.
“I’m not surprised at all,” he said of the run of commitments. “I could see it coming. I knew Coach Crean was going to turn things around and it’s really starting to take effect. He’s really hit the state hard and done a great job recruiting the state. He’s getting a lot of talent from the state.”
(Photo credit: Scout.com)
The IHSAA Boy’s Basketball begins tonight, but a few schools were still fine tuning their talents on Saturday in scrimmages. Here’s a quick recap of the IU targets involved in two scrimmages I attended – Hamilton Southeastern vs. Perry Meridian and Park Tudor vs. Crispus Attucks.
Hamilton Southeastern vs. Perry Meridian
Gary Harris, Hamilton Southeastern (pictured): The 2012 prospect appeared to be at full strength after dealing with a sprained ankle during the summer. Harris has definitely regained all of his explosiveness and lateral quickness. My unofficial tally had him at 14 points and six rebounds as he played sporadically throughout. Harris shot the ball well, especially from the midrange and created several shots for himself off the dribble. He was also a factor on the glass and was aggressive in his pursuit of loose balls. Overall, Harris, who attended Sunday’s IU-Evansville game, looked great and if he’s able to shoot this well during the season, is poised for a huge year.
Zak Irvin, Hamilton Southeastern: The first thing that stuck out about the rising sophomore was his size. Irvin looks like he has grown an inch or two and it may be safe to call him 6-6. My unofficial count had Irvin with 15 points and five rebounds. Along with Harris, Irvin made an impact on the glass, using his height and length to help his team on the boards. Irvin shot the ball extremely well, knocking down 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers off catch and shoot opportunities. He also looked more comfortable with the ball in his hands, using the pump fake and attacking the basket on several occasions.
Matt Green is no stranger to coaching elite, high-major talent.
The Eric Gordon All-Stars coach led a stacked roster this past summer that included Hamilton Southeastern’s Zak Irvin, Heritage Christian’s Basil Smotherman and Warren Central’s Devin Davis Jr.
And last night, Davis, a versatile 6-6 wing, ended his recruiting process early with a verbal commitment to Indiana.
Green said he wasn’t surprised by the decision and spoke highly of what Davis will bring to Bloomington upon his arrival.
“Right now he’s one of those guys that can get you those extra hustle plays,” he told Inside the Hall on Sunday evening. “He’s really good on the boards, a high-energy guy, a hard worker. He just brings another dimension to IU basketball that’s not there right now.”
Davis is ranked as a four-star prospect by Scout.com and also had offers from Illinois, Purdue and Xavier.
He was one of just 33 underclassmen invited to try out for the 2011-2012 USA Basketball Developmental National Team over the summer in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Green, who along with Davis has three other players with IU offers on his roster (Irvin, Smotherman and Brownsburg’s Jaraan Lands), complimented Tom Crean for his recruiting of in-state players.
“I think the Coach Crean is really working hard towards the in-state talent. Kids are seeing the vision and they’re buying into it and they’re going ahead and pulling the trigger,” Green said. “So he’s doing a great job selling the future of IU right now. All of these kids play against each other, know each other really well. I guess they’re choosing to play with each other right now.”
It was a busy day in the IU basketball recruiting world as the Hoosiers picked up commitments from 2013 forwards Collin Hartman and Devin Davis Jr.
Inside the Hall caught up with the 6-6, 190-pound Hartman, a sophomore at Indianapolis Cathedral, for a Q & A on Sunday evening shortly after his commitment to the Hoosiers:
On what spurred his decision to commit early to Indiana:
“Actually, for two or three weeks I’ve been thinking about it. Thinking about all of the possibilities, ups and downs. And the more I thought about it, the more IU kept coming back. There’s nothing I don’t like about IU. Everything’s good. They are enthusiastic about what they do. The fans are in it, great fanbase. And everybody’s just like a huge family there. I’m a family guy. That’s what I want in a college. Being close to the coaches, being close with the players and having the fans want to be close with you.”
On the decision to tell his mother, Melissa, to stop the car on their way home so he could go back to Bloomington and commit:
“We got about 10 or 15 minutes down the road and I was like, ‘Mom, we’ve gotta turn around. I’ve got to commit. It’s right. It’s just a gut feeling.’ So I called my uncle, because he’s like a father figure to me, and I called him to see if there was any reason that he could find to think about not going to IU. Because I told him that I thought about it. But we couldn’t find any. So I was like, ‘alright, let’s go for it’ and we went and finalized it.”
On Tom Crean’s reaction:
“(Laughs) He was pretty speechless, very happy. Just hugs all around and a lot of smiles.”
On a normal day, the commitments of perhaps the two best 2013 players in the state would get separate posts. But these times, it seems, are not normal in the world of Indiana basketball recruiting. We’ve entered uncharted territory, folks. The Indiana borders may officially be locked down.
As you’ve probably read by now if you’re on Twitter, both Warren Central’s Devin Davis Jr. and Cathedral’s Collin Hartman have committed to play for Tom Crean and Indiana.
Both commitments were broken by Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star in a matter of ten minutes:
Warren Central’s Devin Davis Jr. (2013) just committed to Indiana, per his father.
Cathedral’s Collin Hartman (2013) has committed to Indiana, per his mother.
More on both of these commitments later, but for now, I think it’s safe to say that Tom Crean has caught fire on the recruiting trail.
Per a tweet earlier this evening, 2012 Park Tudor point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell has narrowed the list of schools involved in his recruitment to five.
Ferrell announced a top six of Wake Forest, Florida, Butler, IU, Virginia and Miami (FL) on November 13, but the Hurricanes are now out of the running:
“I have not decided to take my talents to the south with lebron and have cut Miami from my top 6 so I now have top 5 schools”
The No. 2 point guard nationally in his class, according to Rivals.com, has been considered a heavy lean to Indiana due to friendships with 2011 signees Austin Etherington and Cody Zeller, but has not announced a timetable for a decision.
Speculation that an announcement could be imminent has run rampant after Ferrell posted a message on his Twitter that “Something is going down November 24th” and “Be prepared everyone.” Park Tudor opens its season on the 24th against University.
Our Zach Osterman, who has followed Ferrell’s recruitment as closely as anyone in recent months, offered this analysis earlier today in our Twitter mailbag:
“There was a tweet posted during Tuesday’s game suggesting that Yogi’s pledge could be imminent, and I was told by someone I trust that reporting that wouldn’t have been the best idea. I don’t think this goes on for months, but Yogi is going to take a little time, as is his prerogative. I would be surprised — though admittedly not incredibly so — if he commits on the 24th.”
(Photo credit: Scout.com)