IU recognizes basketball staff with new job titles

Indiana announced changes in job titles to four members of the men’s basketball staff on Monday. Here’s the complete release from IU media relations:

Bloomington, Indiana—Indiana University men’s basketball coach has named Tim Buckley and Steve McClain to the position of associate head coach, added the title of recruiting coordinator to assistant coach Kenny Johnson and named Calbert Cheaney director of internal and external player development in addition to his duties as director of basketball operations.

“The chemistry inside of your program starts with the chemistry of your staff from top to bottom,” said Crean.  “Everyone in our program continues to work in a diligent and energized pace to keep IU on a continual rise.”

Buckley is the senior member of the staff entering his fifth year with the program. He was the head coach at Ball State from 2000-2006, returned to the Hoosier state in April 2008, as an assistant coach at Indiana after helping Marquette to a second round NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007-08. It was the second time that Buckley had been on Crean’s staff at Marquette and will be the third Big Ten school that he has worked at in his 20-plus year career, which has included stops at Iowa and Wisconsin.

“It’s a great honor,” said Buckley.  “Our staff has been through a lot of things here over the past four years, so I think part of that comes from the success that we’ve had this past season and hopefully for the future, and it’s one that I’m very appreciative of.”

“Tim has been instrumental from day 1 at Indiana with dealing with every aspect of this program,” added Crean.  “He administers, teaches, coaches and recruit at an extremely high level.

McClain, who boasts more than 29 years of coaching experience on the collegiate level, is in his third year as a member of the Hoosiers coaching staff. McClain came to IU after spending three seasons at Colorado, including the last two as associate head coach. He also served as interim coach for a portion of his last season and was the head coach at Wyoming from 1998-2007. He was an assistant at TCU prior to that and the head coach at Hutchinson Community College where he won a national JC title.

“I think, as we all talk about the staff, I don’t think anyone worries about what their titles are,” said McClain. “ I think the one thing that makes this staff so strong is the fact that everybody works the same every day for the same goals every day. It’s a great compliment, yet it’s a compliment of our whole staff.”

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Recruiting Notebook: Lyles, Robinson, IU targets at LeBron

2013 commit Stanford Robinson, 2014 commit Trey Lyles and several 2013 and 2014 prospects with Indiana offers or interest are currently participating at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas.

According to the camp rosters, here are height, weight and wingspan measurements for each player:

Lyles: 6’9.5 / 228 / 7’0
Robinson: 6’3.5 / 187 / 6’8
Semi Ojeleye: 6’6.5 / 217 / 6’9.5
Kennedy Meeks: 6’9.5 / 297 / 7’0
JaQuan Lyle: 6’4.5 / 199 / 6’8
D’Angelo Russell: 6’4 / 175 / 6’8.5
Cliff Alexander: 6’8 / 240 / 7’2
Kuran Iverson: 6’8.5 / 202 / 7’0
Theo Pinson: 6’5.5 / 181 / 6’10
Marcus Lee: 6’10 / 199 / 7’1.5

Scouting notes, recruiting updates

· Robinson, Indiana’s most recent commit, drew praise from both Jerry Meyer of 247Sports and Jody Demling of The Louisville Courier-Journal for his ability to get the ball to the basket on Sunday.

· Hoopniks.com caught up with Iverson, who said Florida is recruiting him the hardest and also mentioned Arizona, Connecticut and Syrcause. Meyer noted that Iverson hopes to hear from Kentucky.

· Lee, who was one of the biggest risers nationally in the spring, told Demling he’s still being recruited hard by Indiana and that he hopes to narrow down his list soon. Lee had a strong showing Sunday night according to Josh Gershon of Scout.com.

· Pinson, who holds an Indiana offer and took an unofficial visit last month, drew the praise of Dave Telep of ESPN.com for his unselfish play and smart decision making.

· Josh Paunil of the National Recruiting Spotlight reports the Ojeleye, who took an unofficial to Bloomington in late June, plans to cut down his list after July.

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Video: Cliff Alexander at the Nike Spring Showdown

Via PrepHoopsTV:

Gordon misses cut for 2012 US Olympic team

The 12-man roster that will represent the United States at the 2012 Olympics in London was announced Saturday night and former Indiana guard Eric Gordon missed the final cut.

Gordon, who averaged 8.6 points and 1.6 rebounds on the USA World Championship team that won the 2010 FIBA World Championship, was among six players vying for the final three spots on the Olympic team.

USA Basketball began training on Friday in Las Vegas and went through two workouts before the final roster was announced.

Andre Igoudala, Blake Griffin and James Harden made the cut and Gordon, Anthony Davis and Rudy Gay were left off the roster.

Gordon, who has agreed to sign an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday for four years and $58 million, reiterated on Friday in Las Vegas that he’ll be disappointed if the New Orleans Hornets decide to match the offer:

“If (the Hornets) were interested, there wouldn’t have been no tour, there wouldn’t have been nothing,” Gordon said. “There’s been no negotiations. I was right there in Indiana. I haven’t received no calls, to me personally. They’ve contacted my agent.

“As for now, I don’t know what’s going on. (If the Hornets match) as of right now, I’d be disappointed.”

As a restricted free agent, the Hornets wil have three days to match Gordon’s offer sheet from Phoenix and retain him.

New Orleans offered Gordon a four-year extension last January when the franchise was still owned by the NBA, but he rejected the offer.

What to watch for: July evaluation period

The first of three five-day July evaluation periods begins next Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Inside the Hall takes a look at what we’ll be watching for as college coaches hit the trail to evaluate prospects:

· How will IU proceed with the 2013 class? With four verbal commitments already secured, Indiana is technically full on scholarships for the 2013-2014 season and that doesn’t include Maurice Creek, who is entering his fourth season but will have eligibility beyond the upcoming season.

The IU staff, led by Tom Crean’s relentless approach to never stop improving the program, continues to recruit for the class. BeeJay Anya, Semi Ojeleye (pictured) and Marcus Lee have all been heavily courted. With all three prospects — and 2014 commit Trey Lyles, 2014 target Trevon Bluiett, 2013 center Kennedy Meeks, 2014 point guard Tyus Jones and 2014 wing Theo Pinson — participating in the Nike Peach Jam during the second evaluation period, expect a heavy Indiana presence at the summer’s final EYBL event in North Augusta, South Carolina.

· How will Hartman fare in July? Fair or not, 2013 commit Collin Hartman has been one of the hottest topics of discussion amongst Indiana fans since the end of the high school season. A lot of that chatter comes from Hartman’s fall from the top 25 in ESPN’s initial 2013 rankings to no ranking by any of the three major scouting services (ESPN, Rivals and Scout/Fox Sports Next).

Hartman has an opportunity to regain stature on a national level this month as the Eric Gordon Central Stars will play in the adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, the NY2LA Summer Jam in Milwaukee and the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas. With the spring concussion that caused problems for the Cathedral senior out of the way, will July be his time to shine?

· Who will emerge as the top priorities for 2014? Our 2014 recruiting board is still fairly lengthy, but July should afford the opportunity for the Indiana staff to lay eyes on just about every recruit listed. Trevon Bluiett currently lays claim to the top spot on the board of the uncommitted prospects due to the strong interest from both sides. But not far behind is Phil Booth, a guard from the Baltimore area who is expected to take an unofficial visit to Bloomington after the July period wraps up.

The two highest listed prospects on the board without offers are Malek Harris and Shane Hall, who have both spoken very highly of Indiana. Perhaps a strong July could lead to further movement with Harris and Hall.

· How will trio of young guards progress after strong spring showings? Indiana has placed an emphasis on getting in on the best in-state prospects very early. With the 2014 class, it paid dividends when Trey Lyles and James Blackmon Jr. committing before ever playing a high school game.

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WDRB.com: Crean’s non-traditional approach includes Denny Crum

WDRB.com: Crean’s non-traditional approach includes Denny Crum

So it was no surprise the videos Crean was studying the other day were not from his team’s unexpected 27-win season. They were videos of teams coached by a guy Crean has long admired – Denny Crum.

They were videos of the 1980 and 1986 University of Louisville teams that Crum directed to NCAA titles. Specifically, they were clips of how those teams, the ones with so many interchangeable parts, played Crum’s trademark switching defense.

“We’ve got a chance to have more depth,” said Crean, who has talked with Crum about visiting IU practices. “We have a chance to pressure the ball more. We definitely have more length. We can do more switching. That’s why I’m so interested in looking at the old Louisville teams of Denny Crum and how they did that.

“There’s so many more opportunities we have defensively right now because of our length and versatility. That’s how we have tried to recruit it. Get versatile, multi-dimensional, multi-positional guys. And try not to get too many people that can’t shoot the ball.”

Reports: Eric Gordon will sign offer sheet with Phoenix

Former Indiana guard Eric Gordon, a restricted free agent, agreed to sign a 4-year, $58 million offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns according to multiple reports on Tuesday night.

Gordon, who played just nine games last season with the New Orleans Hornets due to a knee injury, visited with the Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets and the Suns before reaching an agreement.

The deal cannot be signed until July 11 and New Orleans will have three days to match the offer sheet and retain Gordon.

However, the former IU guard’s prepared statement released last night could be encouragement for the Hornets to re-think their stance on matching the offer or explore a sign-and-trade with Phoenix:

“After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible. (Suns Managing Partner) Mr. (Robert) Sarver, (President of Basketball Operations) Lon Babby, (General Manager) Lance Blanks, the front-office staff and Coach (Alvin) Gentry run a first-class organization and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now.”

Gordon is expected to report to Las Vegas later this week to begin training with USA Basketball for the 2012 Olympics.

He is one of six players (Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, James Harden and Anthony Davis are the other five) competing for the final three spots on the roster.

(Photo credit: SportsNola.com)

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