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.”
Late Thursday night, as 2015 Plainfield East (Ill.) guard Aaron Jordan and his father explored the scene around Cook Hall and Assembly Hall, Jordan found his lasting memory from the visit.
On his first-ever unofficial visit to IU, Jordan saw dozens of fans camped out outside of Assembly Hall watching television and eating pizza, anticipating Hoosier Hysteria the following day. Jordan had never seen anything like it.
“I was just like, ‘Wow’,” Jordan said. “The fans of the whole school are basically about basketball, and that’s what I like. Everything is surrounding basketball. It’s a great environment to be in.”
Two weeks earlier, Jordan had been playing open gym at his high school when Indiana coach Tom Crean arrived and offered him a scholarship. He said the offer immediately put IU “right near the top,” and in the days leading up to his visit, friends were hyping the school up to him.
After arriving Thursday night and watching a practice and Hoosier Hysteria on Friday, Jordan said he now sees what they were talking about.
“When I got down there, it was amazing and eye-opening,” Jordan said. “And I just saw all the fans interacting and getting excited. I see myself fitting in at Indiana.”
During his visit, Jordan and his father, Rob, also had the chance to sit down for a meeting with Crean.
Quentin Goodin wasn’t going to allow a broken right hand to keep him from competing against the nation’s best.
The Taylor County (Ky.) guard, who is rated the No. 29 prospect in the class of 2016 according to the 247Composite, played through an injury over the weekend at the USA Basketball men’s developmental national team mini-camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“I was playing hurt this whole weekend, trying to work things out,” Goodin told Inside the Hall by phone from Colorado Springs on Sunday night. “I didn’t get to play the last two games but I think showcased myself pretty well.”
The 6-foot-2, 175 pound point guard is among the elite players who will be considered for the men’s U17 roster for the FIBA World Championships in Dubai next summer.
“The experience has been amazing with all of the competition and new talent,” he said. “It’s fun playing with the older guys. Everybody out here is competitive. I just try to play my game and go against people as hard as I can.”
This weekend was Goodin’s first back on the court after a hand injury sidelined him for several weeks.
“I broke my hand in practice. I’m just now being able to start dribbling and shooting again,” Goodin said. “I got to shoot a little bit two or three days before this and dribble. The process is taking a while, but I’m going to be good.”
Goodin, who has scholarship offers from Indiana, Oklahoma State, Northern Kentucky, Samford, Tennessee, UAB and Western Kentucky, told Inside the Hall in July that the Hoosier staff was pursuing him the hardest.
Is that still the case?
One of the top prospects nationally in the class of 2016 got his first taste of Indiana basketball in person over the weekend.
Braxton Blackwell, a 6-foot-8, 215 pound forward at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, talked to Inside the Hall on Sunday after returning from his weekend trip to Bloomington.
“I really liked the campus. The facilities are amazing,” Blackwell said. “The coaching staff is one of the best I’ve met so far. I just really could see myself being at Indiana in the future.”
The No. 34 prospect in the 247Composite, Blackwell attended Friday’s Hoosier Hysteria and Saturday’s IU football win over Penn State. His father, Thomas, also made the five hour trip north.
“The word Hysteria is an appropriate word for it as far as the fanbase,” Thomas Blackwell said. “I was really impressed with the students as far how they came in on a Friday to greet both the ladies and men’s teams, coaches and staffs.”
Beyond the time at Hysteria and Memorial Stadium, the Blackwell’s stay in Bloomington, which was far more in-depth than a typical unofficial visit, also included conversations with academic advisor Marni Mooney and strength and conditioning coach Je’Ney Jackson.
Academics are important to the family and was a major focus of the visit.
In a televised announcement on ESPNU, class of 2014 forward-center Goodluck Okonoboh announced his commitment to UNLV.
Okonoboh, the No. 24 prospect in the 247Composite, also considered Duke, Florida, Indiana and Ohio State.
The Wilbraham and Monson Academy (Mass.) took an official visit to Indiana the weekend of Sept. 13-15 and later visited Ohio State and UNLV prior to his announcement.
“They had the best blueprint for me. I’m just excited to be a Rebel,” Okonoboh said on ESPNU of his decision to attend UNLV.
Indiana has one commitment for the 2014 class – guard Robert Johnson – but is hosting Devin Robinson this weekend for an official visit. On paper, the Hoosiers have one more scholarship to give in the class.
Tonight during halftime of an ESPNU college football broadcast, Indiana, Ohio State and UNLV will learn where class of 2014 forward Goodluck Okonoboh will play next season. Okonoboh, a senior at Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts, will announce his intentions a little after 9:00 p.m. ET (assuming the first half of the Louisiana-Monroe and Western Kentucky first half doesn’t run long) from a studio in Bristol, Connecticut.
Here’s our primer for the announcement with everything you need to know:
Forward/Center, 6-9, 220-pounds, Wilbraham & Monson Academy (MA), Mass Rivals
247Composite: 4-star (24); ESPN: 5-star (21); Rivals: 4-star (32); Scout: 4-star (37)
Schools: Duke, Florida, Indiana, Ohio State, UNLV
Official visits: Indiana, Ohio State, UNLV
The Primary Contenders
Okonoboh has five finalists, but he’s only taken three of his available official visits. That means it’s a safe bet to assume he’ll pick between Indiana, Ohio State and UNLV despite also listing Duke and Florida. For a long time, Indiana was widely considered a school to beat for Okonoboh, but opinion among national recruiting writers, most notably Evan Daniels of Scout and Jeff Borzello of CBS, has the Hoosiers on the outside looking in.
· The Indiana recruitment: Indiana really picked up the intensity with Okonoboh last spring with a visit to the Wilbraham and Monson campus, where Tom Crean and Kenny Johnson offered him a scholarship. A close friend of Noah Vonleh, Okonoboh visited Bloomington the weekend of Sept. 13-15 with his parents.
· The Ohio State recruitment: The Buckeyes joined the pursuit a bit later, offering Okonoboh in July after the adidas Invitational, but were front and center for most of his games throughout July. Ohio State received his second official visit on Sept. 27 for a football game against Wisconsin. LeBron James was also on campus.
· The UNLV recruitment: The Running Rebels also offered Okonoboh in July, but like Ohio State, have apparently made up significant ground as of late. UNLV was his final official visit, which took place immediately after his trip to Columbus. Khem Birch, who transferred to UNLV from Pittsburgh, is also a friend of Okonoboh.