Only eight days remain until the 2014 NBA draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, the Big Ten freshman of the year, continues to workout for teams drafting high in the lottery.
In our latest edition of draft watch, we provide the latest on Vonleh’s draft stock, look at where he has worked out over the past couple of weeks and more:
· ESPN’s Chad Ford: (5) to Utah
· Yahoo! Sports Marc Spears: (5) to Utah
· Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix: (7) to Los Angeles Lakers
· Draft Express: (5) to Utah
· NBADraft.net: (5) to Utah
· June 2: Sacramento
· June 4: Los Angeles Lakers
· June 9: Orlando (unconfirmed by team)
· June 11: Boston
· June 16: Utah
· June 18: Philadelphia (unconfirmed by team)
The Orlando workout was reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman as one that Vonleh had scheduled, but it does not appear that the Magic are publicizing any of their draft workouts this season. The Philadelphia workout, reportedly scheduled for today, was reported by Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s five incoming freshmen. Over the past few weeks, we’ve examined the impact each freshman can have for the Hoosiers next season. Today, the series concludes with James Blackmon Jr. (Previously: Max Hoetzel, Robert Johnson, Jeremiah April, Tim Priller.)
When Marion guard James Blackmon Jr. decided to reopen his recruitment last August, his decision had the potential to turn into a crushing blow for Indiana’s class of 2014 recruiting efforts.
Indiana began recruiting Blackmon Jr. before his freshman season at Ft. Wayne Luers, where he would go on to play his first three high school seasons, and secured a commitment from him in September of 2010. To give some perspective on just how long Indiana had Blackmon Jr. in the fold, his commitment came before Cody Zeller took his official visit to Bloomington.
But unlike other recruits across the country who have chosen to cut ties and go a different direction after making an early commitment, Blackmon Jr. still had genuine interest in attending Indiana.
“Indiana is at the top of my list,” he told Inside the Hall last August. “I still like Indiana. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end back up at Indiana.”
The Hoosier coaching staff, led by Tom Crean, continued to pursue the nation’s top shooting guard diligently as Blackmon Jr. visited Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State. His offer list also included schools like Kansas and North Carolina.
After official visits to Ann Arbor, Lexington and Bloomington, Blackmon Jr. set a decision date of Oct. 31. The plan was to make his decision in front of a national television audience on ESPNU.
No one had this recruitment pegged down for sure as Blackmon Jr. seemed to truly be wavering right up until the moment he was to take the air:
Class of 2015 Waynesville (Mo.) forward Juwan Morgan wasn’t expecting to see a fanbase that has an uncommon passion for its basketball program when he arrived in Bloomington.
When his visit was over, it was clear the support he saw for Indiana basketball over a two-day unofficial visit surpassed his expectations.
“Yes (it met them) and more, actually,” he told Inside the Hall on Tuesday evening. “At first I thought the fanbase was just like any other fanbase. But after seeing videos and things like that of games and the fans going crazy, it’s like you could feel it while you’re sitting there watching it on the screen.
“The whole place was nice and the people who were around the campus love the basketball team. Even just riding around the campus, there were people walking past the (golf) cart saying, ‘Go Hoosiers,’ and things like that. It was just a great experience.”
Rated the No. 98 prospect nationally by the 247Composite, the 6-foot-8, 210 pound Morgan has become a major priority for the Hoosiers in recent weeks.
Indiana scouted him with his MoKan Elite team in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) session in late April in Sacramento and in late May, began making a strong push in his recruitment.
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.
Orlando Magic rookie and former IU All-American Victor Oladipo sat down with Jim Rome on Monday and here’s an excerpt of that appearance from CBS Sports on YouTube where Oladipo discusses the grade he’d give himself in his first NBA season:
When we did a major overhaul of the site this past fall, we noted an improved tablet experience would be on the way in 2014.
This is now live, along with a host of other improvements that have been a focus since the 2013-2014 season wrapped up.
Instead of seeing a tight desktop version of the site on an iPad (or smaller tablet), there’s a lot more breathing room, as the tablet experience is a close mirror of what we have on mobile — a single column of content with white space on the side. (For readers who like a smaller browsing/reading window on desktop, simply minimize your window to an iPad size and you’ll be able to experience the site as such.)
This change makes ITH more adaptive than responsive, as we’re not fully fluid and instead have distinct breakpoints for tablet and mobile.
Other enhancements/improvements are as follows:
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.