FLOYDS KNOBS, Ind. — Class of 2014 forward Max Hoetzel wasn’t even a name on the IU radar last year at this time, but his recruitment took off after making the move from Calabasas (Calif.) to Wilbraham and Monson Academy (Mass.) for his senior season.
Hoetzel is in Louisville this week participating in the Derby Festival Basketball Classic and is a finalist in the event’s 3-point shootout tonight at Freedom Hall.
Inside the Hall caught up with Hoetzel on Thursday night at Floyd Central high school to discuss a variety of topics, including the quick ending to his recruitment last fall, the story of how IU became involved in his recruitment, how the move to Wilbraham helped him improve his game, how he believes he can help Indiana next season and much more:
FLOYDS KNOBS, Ind. — Indiana class of 2014 signees Max Hoetzel and Robert Johnson participated in the Derby Festival Basketball Classic Night of the Future Stars on Thursday evening at Floyd Central High School.
Hoetzel and Johnson were teammates in the 2-on-2 contest and fell 12-7 in the opening round to Jared Nickens (Maryland) and Jonah Bolden (UCLA).
In the 3-point shootout, both players advanced to the finals, which will be held at halftime of Friday’s Derby Festival Basketball Classic at Freedom Hall.
Hoetzel’s 15 points led all four finalists while Robert Johnson and Louisville signee Quentin Snider (13 points each) won a tiebreaker with Chris Chiozza (Florida) to advance to the finals. Florida signee Brandone Francis is the other 3-point shootout finalist.
Video of both Hoetzel and Johnson in the 3-point shootout is available after the jump.
INDIANAPOLIS — 6-foot-2 guard Kyle Guy isn’t hesitant to challenge himself.
As a sophomore at Lawrence Central, he dealt with double teams and face-guarding all season. Just two weeks ago, it was revealed he would be leaving his former AAU team to join Indiana Elite 2015 and play a more competitive, national schedule.
This past Saturday, Inside the Hall caught up with Guy, the No. 76 player nationally in his class according to the 247Composite, at the Indyball Shootout after his first two games with his new team. Guy spoke about his new AAU team, his recruitment and one part of his game not many people know about:
With it being your first couple of games with Indiana Elite, how do you think they went?
I thought we played really, really well, especially the first game. We looked really good together, offense was looking really smooth. Second game we got a little out of sorts with the other team playing really aggressive, but I thought we handled it really well.
Why did you decide to move to Indiana Elite?
I always try to play with the best and against the best, especially against the best. And this team plays a hell of a schedule, and they’re one of the best teams in the country, so I just felt like this was right spot for me.
Having just finished your sophomore season at Lawrence Central, how do you feel that went?
I’m probably never satisfied just because I know I can always get better. I’m always working to improve and I played really well because I felt there’s a target on my back this year — I had a lot of double-teams and face-guarding and whatnot. But I thought I handled it pretty well.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Future Indiana teammates Robert Johnson and Max Hoetzel are just two hours south of Bloomington this week as participants in the 2014 Derby Festival Basketball Classic, which is Friday night at Freedom Hall.
Inside the Hall was in attendance for the first Derby Festival practice on Wednesday afternoon and caught up with both Johnson and Hoetzel to discuss a variety of topics.
With the spring signing period underway and several key NBA Draft decisions out of the way, it’s time for our first look at who’s coming and going in the Big Ten for the 2014-2015 season.
Illinois (20-15, 8th place tie, NIT second round)
· Arriving: Aaron Cosby (Seton Hall), Ahmad Starks (Oregon State), Darius Paul (Western Michigan), LeRon Black (247Composite Top 100), Michael Finke
· Departing: Jon Ekey (graduation), Joseph Bertrand (graduation)
Notes: The Illini will return all five starters and also add a top 100 recruit in Black and three transfers who are capable of making an impact. If you’re looking for a sleeper team next season in the Big Ten, Illinois may fit the bill.
Indiana (17-15, 8th place tie)
· Arriving: James Blackmon Jr. (247Composite Top 100), Max Hoetzel, Robert Johnson (247Composite Top 100)
· Departing: Austin Etherington (transfer), Evan Gordon (graduation), Jeff Howard (graduation) Jeremy Hollowell (transfer), Noah Vonleh (NBA), Will Sheehey (graduation)
Notes: The Hoosiers were hit by a midseason transfer (Luke Fischer) and then had Etherington and Hollowell leave after the season. Throw in the early departure of Vonleh, a likely lottery pick and IU still has three open scholarships. Blackmon Jr.’s arrival means that IU has a McDonald’s All-American for four straight years.
INDIANAPOLIS — During a game this past Saturday at the Indyball Shootout, 2017 guard Paul Scruggs slowly brought the ball up the court, then suddenly burst into a sprint toward the hoop, catching the defense off-guard and assisting to an open player for the lay-up. It’s a common occurrence.
Scruggs is a big part of the 2017 Indy Hoosiers squad that has won AAU National Championships and is back playing with them after finishing his freshman season at Southport. And before he even started his first high school season, the 6-foot-3 freshman had an offer from Indiana.
“All I can really say is I’m just blessed,” Scruggs said.
Scruggs has made his mark alongside AAU teammates and fellow IU offer recipients Kris Wilkes and Zach Gunn. While Wilkes brings athleticism to the table and Gunn specializes in shooting, Scruggs said he is proud of his on-court energy.
“When I come into the game, I just bring the hypeness, bring the energy,” he said. “Try to get people going, get a couple steals and points and stuff like that.”
In his first season at Southport, Scruggs tried to do just that. After a rocky start to the season, the Cardinals won seven of their final eight games before losing to Pike in the Ben Davis sectional final, finishing the season 15-8 after going 1-19 just a year ago. But the result still left Scruggs unsatisfied.