Andrew Hicks has only been on the job as the basketball coach at Lexington (Tenn.) high school for three months, but he already has a feel for the top player he’s inheriting.
Hicks, who served as an assistant coach at Humbholt (Tenn.) before accepting the job at Lexington, is looking forward to the opportunity of coaching Nick Marshall, one of the top rising big men in the country.
“One of the best things that I’ve noticed about him in just the little time I’ve been around him is that he’s a great kid as far as interacting with people and being around his teammates,” Hicks told Inside the Hall on Wednesday. “He’s a team guy. He considers his teammates his brothers in a sense.”
The 6-foot-10, 230-pound Marshall had an outstanding summer for Team Thad. As a result, he’s picked up several new scholarship offers, including one from Indiana.
The Hoosiers appear to be prioritizing Marshall in their class of 2015 recruiting efforts and Hicks said IU, along with Clemson, Mississippi State, Memphis, Tennessee and Florida State, have been in contact with him frequently. Connecticut and Florida are two other schools that have been mentioned frequently with Marshall in recent weeks.
The recent offer and increased interest from the IU staff seem to be resonating well with Marshall, according to his high school coach.
The July evaluation periods have come to an end and it’s time for a major update to our 2015 recruiting board.
Several new frontcourt targets have emerged, including a big man from Tennessee who is on the rise nationally and appears to have the Hoosiers among his top five schools.
Take a look at where things stand with Indiana’s recruiting efforts in our latest recruiting board, which includes links to player profiles, rankings, school lists and much more.
2015 Indiana basketball recruiting board
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the breakout players from the 2014 AAU season has interest in Indiana.
Chris Clarke, a class of 2015 wing from Virginia Beach (Va.), opened eyes last month at the NBPA Top 100 camp and continued his strong play into the month of July.
His summer concluded with an appearance in the final four of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) finals at the Peach Jam and a championship in the AAU Super Showcase in Louisville.
Clarke plays for the Nike-affiliated Boo Williams program, which produced a pair of current IU players in Robert Johnson and Troy Williams, the nephew of Boo Williams.
As a result of his efforts this spring and summer, Clarke, who is rated the No. 116 player nationally according to the 247Composite, is on the rise nationally.
ESPN.com’s Paul Biancardi called Clarke the best athlete at the NBPA Top 100 camp in one of his recaps of the event. “Clarke owns eye-popping athletic ability,” Biancardi wrote. “He has speed, vertical and a quick second jump. He fills the lane with speed to beat a defense down the floor and will finish with alley-oop dunks. A great example of his high-level athletic ability is when he caught a pass behind his head on a fast break, gathered himself and scored.”
In the media guide that is distributed at the NBPA Top 100 camp, Clarke listed Indiana as a school that he’d like to visit. So where do things stand currently with the Hoosiers?
It’s been a hectic spring and summer for class of 2016 West Linn (Ore.) point guard Payton Pritchard.
The 6-foot floor leader was one of the standouts on the adidas Gauntlet circuit for Team Fast and he also participated in national events like the NBPA Top 100 camp, the adidas Unrivaled camp and the tryouts for USA Basketball’s U17 World Championship team.
In addition to those experiences, Pritchard also had the opportunity to visit several of the schools that are involved in his recruitment, including Indiana.
The trip to Bloomington came back on May 19, the day after the adidas Gauntlet stop in Fishers wrapped up.
“I really like Indiana. I think their interest level has been high,” Pritchard told Inside the Hall from the USA Basketball training camp in Colorado Springs. “Maybe later this year I’ll get a chance to take another visit. I enjoyed the visit a lot when I went out there. Great coaches, great program.”
Pritchard’s offer list, which was only at five when we spoke to him back in May, has grown considerably recently. Since early June, he’s received offers from Xavier, UCLA, Virginia and Florida State.
Class of 2015 Huntington Prep (W.V.) center Thomas Bryant is one of 33 players in Colorado Springs this week vying for a spot on USA Basketball’s U17 World Championship team.
A native of Rochester, New York, the 6-foot-10, 220 pound Bryant is regarded as one of the best centers in the country and the opportunity to play against other elite talents like Ivan Rabb, Daniel Giddens and Henry Ellenson is one he’s embraced.
“They always play hard, you can’t take a play off against those guys,” he told Inside the Hall by phone from Colorado Springs. “They all know how to score and you’ve just got to find a way to get a defensive stop against them. It makes you a better player.”
While Bryant routinely faced the nation’s best players in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), where he plays for New York-based Team SCAN, he said it doesn’t get any better than a camp where he’s strictly facing the nation’s best players.
“I’m loving it out here,” he said. “It’s a blessing just to be here and I’m just playing as hard as I can against high-level players. Just coming up with different combinations to try to score (is a challenge) or get a deflection and just trying to keep my intensity up, really.”
Bryant’s play last week in the EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam was a big reason that Team SCAN advanced all the way to the event’s semifinals.
Over five games at the Peach Jam, he averaged 16 points and 10.5 rebounds. He also had 10 blocks, hit 19 of his 22 free throws and made 62.9 percent of his field goals. Bryant is currently rated as the No. 22 prospect nationally according to the 247Composite.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — His Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) career may have ended with a loss in the Peach Jam semifinals, but class of 2015 guard Kenny Williams still has a chance to go out on a winning note in his final AAU event.
Williams, who plays for Boo Williams, averaged 10.0 points and 2.6 rebounds at the Peach Jam, but struggled with his shooting over five games. He connected on just 15 of his 45 field goal attempts.
“I was really cold at Peach Jam, especially from inside the 3-point line,” Williams said. “I couldn’t really get my midrange going a lot, so it was tough for me to get my offensive game going with those jump shots not falling.”
The loss in the Peach Jam, however, wasn’t the end for Williams as he’s in the midwest this week for the AAU Super Showcase, where he’s being scouted by numerous high major schools.
Indiana associate head coach Tim Buckley was in Louisville on Thursday to watch Williams and his Boo Williams teammates win a pair of pool play games over ABC/Bank Hoops and the Oklahoma Wizards.
The Hoosiers offered Williams a scholarship in late May and with two former Boo Williams players already on campus in Bloomington, he’s quite familiar with the program.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As the summer moves along, the recruitment of class of 2016 Southport center Joey Brunk continues to add new suitors.
The 6-foot-9 big man added an offer from Indiana following the first July evaluation period and now two other Big Ten schools have followed with offers.
Brunk entered July with offers from Iowa and Purdue and has added Indiana, Michigan State and Northwestern as a result of his strong play with Grassroots Indiana.
In an interview with Inside the Hall at the AAU Super Showcase, he broke down the new offers from the Spartans and Wildcats.
“Coach (Tom) Izzo thinks I fit in well, playing with my back to the basket,” Brunk said. “I can help, I can get people shots from the inside when they double, I can kick it back out and they can play through me. I take what they say and try to use it to get better.
“Coach (Chris) Collins was talking to me on the phone and told me, ‘I’ve won at every level and this isn’t going to be any different.’ He means business, he expects to win and he wants to turn it around.”
At this point, Brunk said he has no leaders in recruitment and is focusing on continuing to grow his game. As a sophomore at Southport, he averaged 15.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 blocks per game as the Cardinals finished 15-8.