Recruiting Archive

Recruiting notebook: Blackmon Jr. continues to climb state scoring list

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Class of 2014 IU signee James Blackmon Jr. continues to rise in the Indiana all-time high school career scoring list.

Despite scoring a season-low 18 points in a 67-48 win against Madison-Grant this past Saturday, the 6-foot-3 senior Marion guard jumped former Notre Dame guard Chris Thomas (Pike ’01) for 17th all-time in the state’s career list.

Blackmon now has 2,163 career points and is only 16 points shy of topping former Indiana guard and current New Orleans Pelican Eric Gordon (North Central ’07) for the 16th spot.

In his senior season at Marion, Blackmon is averaging 33.6 points per game with another six remaining until postseason play. Next up for the Giants is a matchup at home with Huntington North at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Hoetzel heating up of late

Another class of 2014 Indiana signee, 6-foot-7 Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.) forward Max Hoetzel, has been on a tear of late.

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Indiana one of six finalists for 2015 big man Daniel Giddens

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Indiana is one of six schools still being considered by class of 2015 Wheeler (Ga.) center Daniel Giddens, he announced on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-10, 225 pound big man announced his list of six finalists via his Twitter account in no particular order: Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Kansas and Ohio State.

“Thanks to all the schools thats recruited me over the years and the coaches that took the time out to recruit me,” Giddens said before revealing his list of finalists.

Indiana offered a scholarship in late November.

In a text message to Inside the Hall on Thursday evening, Giddens mentioned two things that are standing out for the Hoosiers.

“Their business school is top 5 in America,” he said. “And coach (Tom) Crean is an amazing coach that helps you become the best you can be.”

Giddens is rated the No. 22 prospect nationally by the 247Composite and was a member of USA Basketball’s 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship team last summer.

He has not taken any official visits yet, but took an unofficial visit to Ohio State in December.

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Indiana offers class of 2014 forward Josh Cunningham

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After a 36 point, 22 rebound performance in front of Tom Crean on Wednesday night, Morgan Park (Ill.) class of 2014 forward Josh Cunningham is the latest prospect to receive a scholarship offer from Indiana.

Cunningham confirmed to Inside the Hall via text message early on Thursday morning that the Hoosiers extended an offer to join the 2014 recruiting class.

His performance came in the opening round of Chicago’s public league playoffs as Morgan Park (16-5) crushed Dunbar, 105-28.

The No. 122 player nationally in his class according to the 247Composite, Cunningham is one of the best remaining players available for 2014 and has offers from Bradley, Creighton, DePaul, Oklahoma and South Carolina, among others.

“I’m still open to any school,” Cunningham said via text.

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Blackmon Jr. selected for 2014 McDonald’s All-American game

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For the fourth consecutive year, Indiana has recruited a McDonald’s All-American to Bloomington.

Cody Zeller was the first McDonald’s All-American under Tom Crean back in 2011, Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell was selected in 2012 and current IU freshman Noah Vonleh made the team in 2013.

And earlier this evening, it was announced that class of 2014 Marion guard James Blackmon Jr. is the latest Hoosier signee to earn the prestigious honor. Blackmon Jr., who is averaging 36.2 points per game this season, will be on the East team. The 24-man roster was announced on Wednesday evening.

For the fourth straight year, the game will be played at the United Center in Chicago. It will tip-off on Wednesday, Apr. 2 at 9:30 ET on ESPN.

“I think he’s just scratching the surface as a player,” Crean said of Blackmon Jr. in November. “In my mind we got the absolute best player in the state of Indiana, and there was no debate for us for a long, long time that he was that guy. And not just because of what he’s doing but because of what he can do in high school, and then what I think he can do here.”

Blackmon Jr. will be the 28th McDonald’s All-American to attend Indiana.

As a member USA Basketball’s Junior National Select team that was announced last week, Blackmon Jr. will also participate in the Nike Hoop Summit at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., on Apr. 12.

A complete list of McDonald’s All-Americans to attend Indiana is available after the jump.

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Recruiting notebook: Mutual interest between Indiana, Matt Cimino

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Only ten days ago at Jan. 19′s Hoophall Classic, 6-foot-10 Worcester (Mass.) Academy senior Matt Cimino raised eyebrows with a 22-point, 8-rebound performance for his school in a loss to Cushing Academy.

One of those coaches that was made aware of his performance? Indiana’s Kenny Johnson.

Cimino spoke to Inside the Hall on Saturday and told ITH he and Johnson have maintained contact since Hoophall, and that he has plenty of interest in the Hoosiers at the moment.

“I have some pretty serious interest in them,” Cimino said. “They’ve been showing me some love the past couple weeks, telling me they need a big man. They don’t know if Noah (Vonleh) stays and they just had a transfer so they’re kind of running thin on big men. ”

At 6-foot-10, Cimino could certainly help fill that void. A self-described versatile player, Cimino said he feels comfortable playing both inside and outside, as well as defending either the four or the five.

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Class of 2015 forward Alex Illikainen sets IU visit

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Alex Illikainen, a class of 2015 forward from Grand Rapids (Minn.), will be in Bloomington this weekend for an unofficial visit. He confirmed his plans to visit to Inside the Hall in a text message on Thursday morning.

Indiana hosts Northwestern at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Illikainen, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound power forward, is the No. 56 player nationally according to the 247Composite and has scholarship offers from IU, California, Creighton, Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska and a few others.

Indiana extended an offer to Illikainen after watching him in July and he spoke to Inside the Hall in August about his interest in the program.

“It’s a great place to go to school,” he said. “I want to go down and visit and just see what it’s like down there. Great tradition. And then it’s a great school academically. They also play in the Big Ten.”

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Robert Johnson’s high school coach on his game, growth and future

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Ryan Marable, the coach at Benedictine Preparatory Academy in Richmond, Virginia, has known and worked with IU class of 2014 signee Robert Johnson for several years. He’s watched as Johnson grew from a prospect with an early offer from UNC Greensboro to a top 50 player who was the subject of a major recruiting battle between Florida State, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia.

Inside the Hall recently caught up with Marable for an in-depth conversation on Johnson and we discussed his growth in recent years, his toughness, the most underrated part of his game and much more.

Here’s a complete transcript of our conversation with Marable:

Inside the Hall: Can you talk a little bit about how Robert has grown since you first started working with him until now. Obviously there’s a lot of talk about his shooting, but where have you seen him grow the most?

Ryan Marable: I actually coached Robert in middle school, so I’ve known him since he was in the sixth grade. He’s always been in love with the game of basketball and he’s been one of those kids that kind of sits back and learns from other people’s games. He’s very mature in the fact that he can identify his weaknesses and then he goes out on his own or with a coach or his dad or whoever and works on his game on his own. He’s probably one of the hardest working kids that I’ve ever been around. And we’ve been around some really successful basketball players.

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