When Emmitt Holt chose to attend Vermont Academy for a postgraduate year after his senior season at Webster Schroeder (N.Y.). High, Holt had little hesitation in becoming a class of 2015 recruit.
“I felt for playing and academically in college, it will help me get my head on straight,” Holt told the Democrat and Chronicle when he made the decision in July.
After the 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward averaged 19.8 points, 14.6 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game in his final high school year, over the summer, Holt worked on his game, picked up multiple mid-major offers and even trimmed his list to 10 schools as recently as a couple of weeks ago.
Even though classes start in less than two weeks, Indiana is still not done recruiting the 2014 class.
6-foot-9 Ray Kasongo, who the NCAA has declared eligible but was denied admission into Oregon, has very high interest in Indiana, he told Inside the Hall, and will take an official visit to Bloomington with his parents beginning either Sunday or Monday. Indiana still has an open scholarship for this upcoming season.
The former Ducks signee is down to Indiana and LSU, his mentor, Brandon Bender, confirmed to Inside the Hall on Monday evening.
“This about opportunity, to learn and get better,” Bender said. “At the end of the day, I’ve known coach (Tom) Crean for years, since when he was at Marquette, and I trust him wholeheartedly. And I feel like he can get the best out of the kid. He’s going to push the kid, but that’s just him.”
Kasongo, who is rated the No. 222 prospect overall in the 2014 class, had received interest from schools including Memphis, Michigan State, USC and Kansas from the time it was revealed he would not be attending Oregon. He even visited Lawrence this past weekend, though it became clear that it would not be his final destination.
Admission to the university wasn’t the issue at Kansas, Bender said, rather, there was no opportunity for playing time right away. Kasongo said playing time is one of the biggest factors in his upcoming decision.
Indiana hasn’t been recruiting class of 2015 wing Terance Mann for very long, but the Hoosiers have already made up a lot of ground with the four-star prospect.
The 6-foot-5, 180 pound standout from the Tilton School (N.H.) announced a list of six finalists on Sunday night and many were surprised to see Indiana among the list.
“I started hearing from them right after the Peach Jam,” Mann told Inside the Hall on Wednesday. “I like how hard coach (Tom) Crean makes his guys work and the fanbase.”
Playing with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC) at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) finals at the Peach Jam, Mann averaged 9.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in 29.2 minutes per game.
The Hoosiers join Arizona State, Boston College, Florida State, Marquette and Rhode Island as Mann’s finalists. Mann said Wednesday he doesn’t plan to trim his list any further and intends to pick from the six remaining schools.
His mom, Daynia La-Force, is the women’s basketball coach at Rhode Island.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — It has been a long summer for class of 2016 shooting guard Rawle Alkins, and it was made clear on Saturday morning at adidas Nations.
As his team was partaking in a game against Latin America, the No. 34 prospect in the 2016 class was shuffling in and out of the action, dealing with back issues.
Despite the health concerns, though, Alkins scored a team-high 22 points in that game and ranked third overall during the course of adidas Nations with 18.2 points per game for Team Wall.
And the roller-coaster summer will continue for him this upcoming Saturday, too, when he plays in the Big Strick Classic in his hometown of New York City.
“Every day, something is new,” Alkins said. “Every day, I’m getting calls, invitations to everything. Just getting to travel everywhere, it’s amazing.
“It’s like every weekend I’m going somewhere. I’m never in town, but I’m always repping New York.”
Alkins has raised the eyebrows of the many scouts and college coaches who have watched him breeze past competition on the court, earning scholarship offers from Louisville, NC State, Miami and most recently, Kansas, among others.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Just two and a half weeks ago, 2016 guard Kyle Guy and his Indiana Elite 2015 squad was in Redondo Beach, Calif., participating in the Battle at the Beach tournament.
There, he spoke of a few schools showing interest, but nothing had significantly changed in his recruitment.
Two weeks later, he was back in southern California. This time, on two days notice, he was participating in one of the most prestigious youth basketball camps in the country: adidas Nations. And plenty has changed in those two weeks.
“This is always a dream for me,” Guy told Inside the Hall on Saturday morning. “But I didn’t think it would be like this.”
When Indiana Elite arrived in Las Vegas from Redondo Beach for the adidas Super64, the final tournament of the adidas Gauntlet held from July 23-27, Guy and his teammates felt confident.
After all, they recorded a 12-4 record in their first three tournaments in the Gauntlet and felt they were being overlooked heading into the the tournament. As Guy, the No. 118 prospect in the 2016 class, said, “we had a chip on our shoulder.”
“Everyone talks about Dream Vision for one and Game Elite and all that, and they just overlooked us,” he said. “We knew we were going to go in and take care of business.”
And they did.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Even though it was his last tournament of the summer, class of 2016 forward Braxton Blackwell was particularly excited to participate in adidas Nations this past weekend.
Playing alongside the likes of fellow Indiana targets Thon Maker, De’Ron Davis and Eron Gordon for Team Lillard, Blackwell said he had a good feeling just two games in that he would have a good weekend at the premier event for adidas.
“I think I’ve played pretty well, but defensively I think I could do a lot better,” Blackwell said on Saturday morning following a 98-84 win over team Canada. “There’s some great players obviously, but I think we play good as a team. We started off slow, but we’ve picked it up.”
Blackwell’s premonition proved to be accurate.
Team Lillard went on to win adidas Nations on Monday evening in a 106-78 victory over Team Wall, in which Blackwell recorded six points, three rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 22 minutes in front of a national television audience on ESPNU. He finished the five-game tournament with an average of 7.8 points per game.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — One of the more highly-touted prospects in the 2016 class, 7-footer Thon Maker has had an impressive summer — picking up offers from Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Louisville, among others, and comparisons to Kevin Garnett.
This past weekend, Maker was in southern California for adidas Nations, playing for Team Lillard, the eventual champions in a 106-78 victory in which Maker scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the effort.
On Sunday morning, Inside the Hall spoke with Maker, the No. 3 prospect in the class according to the 247Sports Composite, following Team Lillard’s 118-72 win over IU target Derrick Jones and Team Howard, in which Maker recorded a double-double — 14 points and 14 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action.
Maker discussed his ongoing improvement, what he still needs to work on and his interest in Indiana: