Shake Milton, a class of 2015 guard from Owassa (Okla.), had his first opportunity to experience Indiana basketball up close on Monday.
It’s fair to say he came away impressed with his unofficial visit to Bloomington. Milton, the Gatorade player of the year as a junior in Oklahoma, recapped the trip in an interview with Inside the Hall on Monday evening.
“I knew it was a basketball tradition (type of) town,” he said. “But when I got here on campus, I could actually see it in person. It was crazy. The facilities were really nice.”
Milton toured the campus with Tom Crean, associate head coach Steve McClain and the coaching staff. McClain previously recruited a lottery pick in Alec Burks from Morgan’s AAU program, MoKan Elite, when he was at Colorado.
Indiana is recruiting Milton as a true combo guard as the staff views him as being able to handle either backcourt position.
Sunday was a busy day in college basketball recruiting across the country as it marked the first full day that schools could begin unlimited contact with class of 2016 prospects.
One of the new names that has emerged on the radar for the Hoosiers is class of 2016 Christ the King (N.Y.) guard Rawle Alkins, a 6-foot-4, 185 pound guard. Alkins plays with the NY Rens, an adidas based AAU program.
New Indiana assistant coach Chuck Martin reached out to Alkins yesterday and the four-star guard recapped that conversation in an interview with Inside the Hall.
“Actually yesterday was the first time I’d heard from them,” Alkins said. “It was coach (Chuck) Martin. He just let me know that he’s a NYC guy that used to work with the Oklahoma City Thunder this past year.”
According to Alkins, the Indiana coaching staff watched his film from the recent Mary Kline Classic, where he scored a game-high 36 points, and his play caught their eye.
“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s five incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of weeks, we will examine what kind of an impact each player can have for the Hoosiers next season. Today: Max Hoetzel. (Previously: Robert Johnson, Jeremiah April.)
Less than a year ago, rising high school senior Max Hoetzel packed his bags and left his hometown of Calabasas, California, for the unfamiliar, yet promising Wilbraham, Massachusetts. After three years of playing high school basketball in the Los Angeles suburb, Hoetzel decided to transfer to Wilbraham and Monson Academy for his senior year.
It was his best chance to gain exposure, and perhaps college scholarship offers, before graduation, playing under head coach Chris Sparks and with five-star prospect Goodluck Okonoboh.
Indiana fans might be familiar with the latter name. The Hoosiers aggressively recruited the 6-foot-9 power forward, who ultimately committed to and signed with UNLV last fall. But during one recruiting visit to WMA in late September, Sparks convinced Indiana coach Tom Crean to watch his new, and coincidentally fast-rising player, as well. That player was the 6-foot-8 Hoetzel. And he had new offers, already, from St. John’s, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.
“I actually had study hall, and my dorm parent was like, ‘No, he’s not leaving. He has to do his homework,’” Hoetzel told Inside the Hall on April 17. “I was like, ‘Come on, you’ve got to let me shoot for coach Crean.’ They finally did, and now I’m here.”
“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s five incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of weeks, we will examine what kind of an impact each player can have for the Hoosiers next season. Today: Jeremiah April. (Previously: Robert Johnson.)
On April 18, a trio of Indiana basketball signees for the class of 2014 were participating in two prestigious spring all-star games. James Blackmon Jr. was in Brooklyn at the Jordan Brand Classic while Max Hoetzel and Robert Johnson were in Louisville, Kentucky for the Derby Festival Basketball Classic.
By the time the evening was over, the performances of all three, while notable, would become secondary to the interest in a name that wasn’t even on the radar at the beginning of the day for Indiana fans.
As both all-star games got underway, word began to spread via social media that the Indiana staff had just secured a commitment from a big man in Arizona.
The name of the prospect? Jeremiah April.
A quick Google search revealed little about April, a 6-foot-11 center who had just completed a postgraduate season at Westwind Prep in Phoenix. YouTube also yielded little on April. He was a rarity in today’s world of recruiting coverage in which information is readily available at a second’s notice — a true mystery man.
The first call I made was to April’s coach at Westwind Prep, Jai Steadman. A former NBA D-League head coach and college assistant, Steadman explained that Tom Crean and Steve McClain had just left the school, where hours earlier following a meeting, April gave a commitment to Indiana.
Several names have emerged on Indiana’s recruiting radar following April’s evaluation period and a pair of AAU teammates, Shake Milton and Juwan Morgan of MoKan Elite, have the eye of the Hoosier staff.
Milton, a 6-foot-4 guard, was offered a scholarship last week and Morgan, a 6-foot-8 power forward, might be next in line for that same distinction.
Indiana associate head coach Steve McClain has successfully recruited the MoKan Elite program in the past, dating back to his days at Colorado when he brought Alec Burks, a lottery pick, to Boulder.
“I think he respects what we do as a program,” MoKan Elite founder Matt Suther told Inside the Hall. “So he’s always watching our program and identifying kids within our program that he thinks would fit for Indiana.”
Milton, a four-star recruit according to the 247Composite, was the Gatorade player of the year in Oklahoma as a junior at Owasso high school.
He averaged 28.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game and shot 63 percent on 2s and 88 percent from the free throw line.
“He’s just been a late bloomer. He’s a kid who is still growing into his body,” Suther said. “He has a very high skill level, but he wasn’t overdeveloped as a young kid or physically dominant. As he’s caught up physically and he’s kind of grown into his body, he’s really matured on the court. I think it’s just been the maturation of him and getting to the point now where people are really starting to recognize him.”
Morgan, also a four-star recruit according to the 247Composite, has some similarities to Milton, according to Suther.
STARLIGHT, Ind. — Indiana added a pair of spring signees — Westwind Prep (Ariz.) center Jeremiah April and Richland (Tex.) forward Tim Priller — and on Wednesday night at Huber Winery, Tom Crean spoke to the media for the first time about both players.
Here’s a complete transcript of his comments:
On Jeremiah April:
“Jeremiah April, to me, he’s grown four inches in just a couple of years. He’s put on weight, he’s played a lot of games, an awful lot of games. And he’s one of those late bloomer guys but I don’t even think he’s anywhere near where he’s going to be. And he’ll get into campus this weekend, starting next week, so we’ll get a chance to start having him with us and get him indoctrinated into what we’re trying to do along with Tim Priller. But Jeremiah, he’s got very good timing, he’s got excellent hands for a big player. He’s got a tremendously soft touch. So very soft hands and a soft touch. And it’d be a lot different story, because he’s relatively raw there’s no question about that, but if he didn’t have really good hands and didn’t have a really nice touch, then you’re looking at a guy who may not become a good shooter. We think he’s going to become a very good shooter. He’s got good timing on blocking shots. I don’t think he understands the intensity level yet that he’s capable of playing at on a daily basis or what’s going to be expected of him. I love his attitude, I love his family. I really like his coach and I like how excited he is to come to Indiana.”
“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s five incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of weeks, we will examine what kind of an impact each player can have for the Hoosiers next season. Today: Robert Johnson.
When Robert Johnson walked into the library at Benedictine College Preparatory on September 20, he was ready to end what had grown into an intense recruiting battle.
After an outstanding summer with the Boo Williams AAU program, Johnson, who at one time only held a scholarship offer from UNC-Greensboro, was a serious target for four schools: Florida State, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia.
Once the family began taking its official visits last August, communication with the media by Johnson and his father, Robert Sr., slowed considerably. That left many in the dark on which direction he might be leaning in his decision.
Many believed that Johnson would head to Chapel Hill and play for Roy Williams at North Carolina, but the 6-foot-3 guard had a surprise for those who predicted that he would play in the ACC.
“I want to thank all the schools that recruited me and offered me a scholarship,” Johnson said, as he reached for a hat below the table where he sat in the library. “In the fall of 2014, I’m gonna be attending…”
Johnson then put on an IU basketball hat.