A consensus top 10 player in the class of 2016, it’s no surprise that Bentonville (Ark.) guard Malik Monk was selected to participate in the USA Basketball developmental national team mini-camp in Colorado Springs earlier this month.
Monk, who is already attracting major recruiting attention, performed well on the first day of the camp before suffering a thumb injury that forced him to miss day two.
“The first day I kind of overextended my thumb,” he told Inside the Hall on Oct. 6 from Colorado Springs. “Before I got hurt, I was doing very well, but I’ve got to get a long stronger.”
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard averaged 22.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as a freshman at East Poinsett County High, but moved to Bentonville for his sophomore season.
Monk’s older brother, Marcus, played at the University of Arkansas, which has already offered a scholarship. Baylor, Florida, Indiana, Memphis and Kansas have also offered.
More than a month has passed since Foothills Christian (Calif.) forward T.J. Leaf visited Indiana for the first time.
The class of 2016 prospect was in Bloomington in early September and received a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers on the visit. Now that Leaf has had more time to think about it, it’s clear the Indiana option continues to resonate with him.
Inside the Hall spoke with Leaf by phone from the USA Basketball national developmental team mini-camp in Colorado Springs earlier this month.
“It was a really good experience being able to go to a great program like that historically and recently,” he said. “It seems like I would fit really well in their system. I like coach Crean and I like all of the coaches and what they’re doing there. I was just really impressed.”
The No. 25 prospect in the 247Composite, Leaf averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds as a freshman last season. One of his primary goals during the offseason while playing with the Compton Magic was to make himself more perimeter oriented.
“(I’m trying to) keep moving my game to the wing where I can be a multi-dimensional player even more and more,” Leaf said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to (about the upcoming season).”
Leaf’s father, Brad, was a standout at Evansville from 1979-82 and according to T.J., has been a major supporter of looking hard at Indiana.
About three weeks ago, Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.) Academy student Max Hoetzel was at study hall when his basketball coach, Chris Sparks, and Indiana assistant Kenny Johnson walked into the room.
They came with a simple message: Indiana head coach Tom Crean was on campus, and he wanted to see Hoetzel work out. Crean and Johnson were originally on campus to watch Goodluck Okonoboh before he travelled to Ohio State and UNLV, but Sparks had convinced Crean to watch Hoetzel.
After all, Sparks knew IU had needed a shooter for the 2014 class. And he had one in the 6-foot-7 Hoetzel.
Sparks and Johnson had cleared Hoetzel to practice with school administrators by the time they confronted him at study hall. He then left for the gym and practiced under Crean’s watchful eye. It was the first contact Hoetzel had with IU’s coaching staff.
“It was such a humbling experience, I mean, coach Crean is a big deal,” Hoetzel said. “But on the other hand, you can’t really think about it. You just gotta do what you do.”
Three months before then, though, Hoetzel had no idea he would soon be talking to one of the top programs in the nation.
An under-recruited forward, Hoetzel was going into his senior year at Calabasas (Calif.) High School with offers from Utah, Utah State, Pacific, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, Boise State and Davidson, among others.
One of Indiana’s top recruiting priorities in the class of 2016, Gill St. Bernard’s School (N.J.) guard Tyus Battle, was among the elite players who participated at the USA Basketball developmental national team mini-camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Oct. 5-6.
The 6-foot-5, 170 pound prospect told Inside the Hall it was a beneficial experience.
“It’s just competing a lot and playing against the best players in the United States,” Battle told Inside the Hall. “We go after it every time we step on the floor.”
The camp, which had a mixture of class of 2014, 2015 and 2016 players, provided Battle the opportunity to measure himself against older players, a challenge he always looks forward to taking on.
“I really like going against the older guys, the class of 2014 kids. They’ve got the experience and it’s good to go at them,” he said. “You can pick up their patience for the game, they take their time going around screens, defensively they go hard throughout the whole game. You can just pick up a lot from them.”
It’s been a busy fall for Battle already as he’s taken unofficial visits to Indiana and Ohio State, two schools that have both extended scholarship offers.
The trip to Bloomington in late August was the second for the No. 11 prospect in the 247Composite, who also took in Indiana’s win over Michigan last February at Assembly Hall.
Class of 2014 Christchurch (Va.) forward Devin Robinson is down to four schools.
The 6-foot-8, 170 pound wing canceled his official visit to Connecticut that was to take place the weekend of Oct. 19. The Hartford Courant was the first to report the news.
Robinson has already taken official visits to Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Indiana and will take his final official visit this weekend to Florida.
He is expected to sign a National Letter of Intent in the early signing period that begins on Nov. 13. Robinson is rated the No. 21 prospect nationally in the 247Composite.
Indiana has one commitment in its 2014 class, Richmond Benedictine (Va.) guard Robert Johnson.
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(Photo credit: Kelly Kline/Under Armour)
Bryant Crawford of Gonzaga Prep (D.C.) has long been a recruiting priority for Indiana in the class of 2015.
The No. 35 prospect nationally according to the 247Composite, Crawford missed the July evaluation periods as he underwent surgery in June to repair a tear in his meniscus. That injury didn’t keep the Hoosier staff from showing up at his Team Takeover games or from coming to his high school when the recruiting period began in early September.
“They were one of the first schools to come down when the coaches were allowed to come out,” Crawford told Inside the Hall from the USA Basketball developmental national team mini-camp in Colorado Springs last weekend. “Even though I wasn’t playing, they still came down there and talked to me for a little while.”
The 6-foot-2, 179 pound point guard was recently cleared to resume basketball activities and said he expects to be 100 percent for the start of his high school season.
“I just got cleared Monday (Sept. 30),” he said. “I’ve been getting in the pool and riding the bike and since Monday I’ve been getting in the gym and doing a little bit of work to get back into playing shape.”
Before the injury, Crawford was playing his way onto USA Basketball’s U16 team that went on to win a gold medal in the FIBA World Championships in Uruguay. Despite missing time in front of college coaches in July, the IU target believes he got better despite not playing.
One of the top players nationally in the class of 2016, Jayson Tatum, was a standout at last weekend’s USA Basketball men’s developmental national team mini-camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The No. 4 overall prospect in his class according to the 247Composite, the 6-foot-7, 190 pound wing from Chaminade College Prep in St. Louis (Mo.) already has offers from more than a dozen programs. His performance at the USA Basketball camp drew rave reviews from national scouts in attendance.
“It’s really exciting. It’s a blessing,” Tatum told Inside the Hall by phone from Colorado Springs. “It’s fun to come out here and play against the top guys, especially the ones in your age group, the class of 2015 and the class of 2014 and just coming out here, competing and showing your talent.”
A member of the USA Basketball team that won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Uruguay in June, Tatum averaged 10 points and 4.6 rebounds as a reserve.
His play at this past weekend’s mini-camp put him in excellent shape to be picked for the U17 roster that will compete in the FIBA World Championships in Dubai next summer.
Tatum, who is listed as a guard by some recruiting services and as a wing by others, says his versatility has really taken off as his body continues to change.
“I’ve grown quite a bit, so I’m getting more versatile on the court, playing multiple positions and trying to be a mismatch problem on the court,” he said. “I’m bringing the ball up, trying to get my teammates and trying to get stronger and quicker.”