LAS VEGAS — When class of 2015 La Lumiere guard Jalen Coleman heard late in the Nike EYBL season that he was invited to the LeBron James Skills Academy, the Indianapolis native couldn’t hold back his excitement.
Though he was rated as the No. 27 overall prospect in his class, according to the 247Sports Composite, he hadn’t yet experienced this summer playing with and against only the top talent in his class.
“You can test out everything you’ve been working on,” Coleman told Inside the Hall on Saturday. “As far as putting everything into it, this is where all of your working out, practicing and doing all that stuff shows.”
For the 6-foot-3 Coleman, he specifically wanted to use the Cashman Center stage as a proving ground.
With college coaches watching on, he wanted to prove to them — and himself — that he could hold his own as a true combo guard, especially while playing against elite competition.
“I’ve got a lot to show as far as being a point guard and a two,” Coleman said. “I’ve just been trying to show people I can play the one and be efficient, as well.”
And while he was satisfied with the way he played over the course of the camp, which ran from July 9-12, he admitted there were significant challenges that came with it.
Class of 2015 Brewster Academy (N.H.) guard Donovan Mitchell, who received a scholarship offer from Indiana in early June, will take an official visit to Bloomington this fall, according to NBCSports.com.
Mitchell, a native of Elmhurst, New York, has been hearing from the Hoosiers frequently in recent weeks.
According to the report by NBCSports, Mitchell will also take an official visit to Louisville. The 6-foot-3, 180 pound guard is rated the No. 91 prospect nationally in the 247Composite.
He’s also being recruited by Boston College, Cincinnati, Creighton, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Memphis and Providence, among others.
INDIANAPOLIS — If you watch class of 2017 North Central forward Kris Wilkes for just a few minutes, it’s not hard to figure out why he’s become an early recruiting priority for several schools, including Indiana.
Although he just completed his freshman season, Wilkes is a matchup nightmare on the wing at 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan. He can score from the perimeter with his jump shot, beat his man off the dribble and uses his size well in the paint to finish over smaller opponents.
And unlike some of his peers who are already physically developed, his game should continue to grow as he works to put on weight. It’s not just about basketball, either, for Wilkes. He’s a black belt in Taekwando and has a GPA well over 3.0.
As a freshman at North Central, he averaged 9.4 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game as the Panthers finished 16-7 and fell to Carmel in the sectional. His role should expand as a sophomore as North Central lost leading scorer Eron Gordon, who transferred to Cathedral.
This summer, Wilkes, who is just 15, is a major piece on the Under Armour Indy Hoosiers 15-and-under group that also features Southport’s Paul Scruggs, Hamilton Southeastern’s Zach Gunn, Pike’s Justin Roberts and Gary Trent Jr., a Minnesota native.
In its first game of the July evaluation period at the adidas Invitational, the Indy Hoosiers attracted Indiana coach Tom Crean, who offered Wilkes a scholarship last summer.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s approach to pursuing the top players in the state under Tom Crean has been unwavering.
In his six-plus years in Bloomington, Crean has made it a point to get in early with many of the state’s top prospects and in three of the last four years, he’s landed a McDonald’s All-American from Indiana.
The 2017 class is shaping up as another talented group and one of the standouts is Southport guard Paul Scruggs, who received an offer from the Hoosiers last July.
The 6-foot-3 Scruggs is playing in front of college coaches this month with the talented Under Armour Indy Hoosiers 15-and-under AAU team that also includes North Central’s Kris Wilkes, Hamilton Southeastern’s Zach Gunn, Pike’s Justin Roberts and Gary Trent Jr., who is from Minnesota.
Crean was in Indianapolis on Thursday night to watch their first game of July. On Friday, the group attracted assistant coaches from Louisville, Michigan State, Purdue and Xavier. A combination of factors, including fan support, the coaching staff and proximity to campus, has the Hoosiers in solid position early with Scruggs.
INDIANAPOLIS — If it wasn’t clear going into July what kind of priority Louisville Trinity (Ky.) forward Raymond Spalding is for Indiana in its class of 2015 recruiting efforts, the start of the first July evaluation period is putting things into focus.
With high profile events like the Reebok Classic, LeBron James Skills Academy and adidas Unrivaled going on at other venues across the country, Indiana coach Tom Crean was at North Central high school on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning to watch Spalding in the adidas Invitational.
The fact that Crean was in attendance for Spalding’s first two games, the only head coach in his top three schools to earn that distinction, wasn’t lost on the rising senior.
“It really tells a lot about him and his program,” Spalding told Inside the Hall. “He takes basketball to heart over there. He’s a great coach. For him to come to my games, the head coach, the head guy, that means a lot. I talk to coach Crean every day. He’s becoming one of my best friends. We talk every day about basketball and our families in general. He’s a great guy, great coach.”
On Wednesday evening, Spalding poured in 34 points and 11 rebounds as The Ville beat UA Grind, 76-67 and he followed that up with 14 points as The Ville beat St. Louis Gateway, 64-43, on Thursday morning.
Crean, along with Xavier coach Chris Mack and assistants from Clemson and Tennessee, watched Spalding on Thursday morning. After the comfortable win over St. Louis Gateway, Spalding talked more in-depth about his relationship with Crean.
The first of three five-day July evaluation periods begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Inside the Hall takes you through five things we’ll be watching for as college coaches hit the trail to evaluate prospects:
· Who will emerge as the top 2015 targets? With a little over four months until the start of the early signing period in November, Indiana has no players committed for its 2015 recruiting class. It’s a unique position as Indiana has had at least one, if not two or more, commitments going into July dating back to the beginning of Tom Crean’s tenure in Bloomington. The lone exception was in the summer of 2009 when the Hoosiers had yet to secure a commitment from Victor Oladipo or Will Sheehey, who would both commit in the fall and sign in November.
Last year, Indiana went into July with a commitment from James Blackmon Jr., who then opted to reopen his recruitment in August and then recommitted in late October. Indiana’s top 2015 recruiting targets are outlined on the recruiting board and familiar names like Raymond Spalding, Shake Milton, Juwan Morgan, Kenny Williams and Jalen Coleman are all sure to be tracked heavily this month. But will a name lower on the board rise up or a new name totally off the radar, like Robert Johnson last July, emerge? That question will be answered soon enough.
· 2016 comes into greater focus: Indiana has already established itself very well with several class of 2016 prospects like T.J. Leaf, De’Ron Davis, Braxton Blackwell, Kyle Guy, Payton Pritchard, Quentin Goodin, Eli Wright and Nick Rakocevic. Each of those players have already visited Bloomington, which indicates there’s legitimate mutual interest between the prospect and the program.
After opting to reopen his recruitment back on May 29, interest in class of 2015 Sagemont (Fla.) guard Prince Ali has ramped up.
Ali, rated the No. 37 prospect nationally according to the 247Composite, had an impressive spring for Southern Stampede on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit.
So when he decided last month that he committed too soon to Connecticut, it gave schools another shot at recruiting the 6-foot-4 guard who is originally from New York.
Indiana had been interested in Ali prior to his decision to commit to Connecticut and the Hoosiers are right back in the mix. In a phone interview with Inside the Hall from the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Washington D.C., Ali listed Indiana, along with Connecticut, Michigan and UCLA, as the four schools recruiting him the hardest right now.
“So far it’s just been them telling me that they’ve been watching me for a while and when I committed (to UConn), it kind of threw them off and then when I decommitted, it made them happy,” he said. “That’s what Tom Crean told me. He told me I play like two of his former players in Victor Oladipo and Dwyane Wade. I remind him a lot of them.”
So what does Ali think of being compared to a pair of former All-Americans and current NBA guards?