Video: Robert Johnson shines at Derby Festival practice

Future Indiana guard Robert Johnson was one of the standouts in Wednesday’s Derby Festival Basketball Classic practice at Basketball Academy in Louisville.

Here’s a quick look at Johnson’s play in the practice:

Video: Robert Johnson, Max Hoetzel talk IU futures at Derby Festival Basketball Classic practice

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.

Watch interviews with both Hoosier signees below:


An early look at who’s coming and going in the Big Ten


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.


Paul Scruggs brings energy to loaded Indy Hoosiers


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.


Q & A: 2017 Hamilton Southeastern wing Zach Gunn


INDIANAPOLIS — In a class that has played only one season of high school basketball, Zach Gunn is one of the few that already has high-major schools interested in him.

The class of 2017 6-foot-6 Hamilton Southeastern wing, who was the only freshman on his school’s varsity roster, already has an offer from Indiana and is receiving interest from multiple schools.

This past Saturday, Inside the Hall caught up with Gunn, a member of the 2017 GRIND Indy Hoosiers team, at the Indyball Shootout, following their first two games of the 2014 season.

You guys played your first couple games of the AAU season today. How do you think you guys looked out there?

“I think we looked good. We looked really fluid. We’ve got to work on some things. We didn’t shoot the ball great, didn’t box out, but it’s going good. I think it’s going to be a well-oiled machine.”

What are you most looking forward to during this AAU season?

“Just winning. We’ve all been together since second or third grade. We’ve all been together. We’ve had times at Nationals where we’ve lost and we’ve had times where we’ve won. And I think all these guys enjoy being around each other and I enjoy being around them.”

How’d you feel out on the court?

“I felt good. I need to get in shape a little more. The shot was falling on and off. And once I hit one I felt good. Once I missed one I hesitated. But I think it’s going to go good. Keep on shooting, and I’m going to be fine.”


Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson to visit Indiana


Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson will visit Indiana on May 5, he announced today on Twitter.

The 6-foot-9, 216 pound forward, who averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game as a junior, has one year of eligibility remaining, but is expected to sit out the 2014-2015 season and play his final year in 2015-2016.

Per reports, Anderson is expected to have right shoulder surgery on Tuesday and then be out for four to six months.

“For everybody asking, I’m sitting out a year to get healthy and stronger then I will play the following year,” Anderson said April 8 on Twitter.

Anderson is also expected to visit Iowa State (May 2) and Arizona (May 8). He is a native of Lakewood, California.

(Photo credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)

“Lethal” Wilkes shows off versatility at Indyball


INDIANAPOLIS — Long before Kris Wilkes played his first high school game at North Central, in August 2013, the current freshman received a scholarship offer to play basketball at Indiana. His AAU coach, Mike Peterson of Indy Hoosiers, called him “lethal.”

And that translated to the high school game in his first season with the Panthers. There, the 6-foot-7 (and nearing 6-foot-8) forward was second on the team in scoring with 9.4 points per game and also recorded 3.3 rebounds per game, per MaxPreps.

Now, his first high school season is complete and the No. 14 prospect in the 2017 class (according to the Future150) is back playing with the Indy Hoosiers. Inside the Hall caught up with Wilkes on Saturday at the Indyball Shootout, the first AAU tournament of the season, after they defeated Circle City Elite by a 73-34 score in a pool play game at North Central. Wilkes finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

I felt really good,” Wilkes said. “I felt like a lot of things were going my way.”

For Wilkes, though, basketball is just part of the equation as to what makes him unique. It’s not just his athleticism that causes people to rise from their seats in anticipation of an alley-oop dunk. It’s not just his ever-improving jump shot. Wilkes said he takes pride in his school work. He said he has well over a 3.0 GPA.


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