Spring Scouting: Hanner Perea

Inside the Hall continues our series of spring scouting reports this morning with 2012 commitment Hanner Perea.

(Previously: James Blackmon Jr., Trey Lyles, Mark Donnal, Jaquan Lyle)

After watching Indiana Elite games at the IndyBall.com Shootout, Spiece Run ‘N Slam and the adidas May Classic as well as reviewing video of the Denver Double Pump, here are our thoughts on the 6-foot-8, 210-pound native of Colombia:

— Athleticism and finishing ability: From the first time we saw Perea play in the summer of 2009, it was clear that his athletic ability stood above nearly all of his peers. And with that athletic ability, the 2012 IU commitment has established himself as one of the top finishers in the country. It’s not uncommon for video cameras to start rolling in warmups as Perea typically puts on a display of dunks (like this one) that will leave you scratching your head. After a game at the IndyBall.com Shootout in early April, Yogi Ferrell commented that he basically just had to “throw it up there” and Perea would grab the ball and finish. This is a pretty accurate representation of how things work with Perea as he can quickly turn what seems like an errant pass into a bucket.

— Improving defender: Perea is a solid shotblocker, but can get himself in foul trouble at times by leaving his feet on attempts where he’d be better served standing straight up. That said, his length coupled with his athleticism and quickness can make him a nightmare to score on in the paint. His upper body strength should allow him to step right into the paint and make a difference in a physical Big Ten. And as his instincts and understanding of the game continue to improve, he should be able to step out and effectively guard the perimeter from time-to-time.

— Developing offensive game: Besides scoring off of dunks and alley-oops, Perea gets the majority of his points via putbacks. He’s been effective this spring on the offensive glass and for the most part, does a nice job of immediately going back up to finish plays after grabbing a rebound. He can, at times, fall in love with trying to make the spectacular play rather than the easy or fundamental play or simply lose concentration and drop a pass. One area of his game that’s still lacking for Perea is a mid-range game from 7-to-12 feet. The touch on his shot is good from the foul line, but he rarely looks to score outside of the paint. While he might not be counted on to step out much in college, he’ll certainly want to develop a reliable jump shot if he hopes to play in the NBA at 6-foot-8. Ball handling is another aspect of his game that Perea said he’d like to improve at the adidas May Classic.

— Transition and effort: Besides scoring on putbacks, Perea also runs the floor extremely well and is effective finishing on the fastbreak. But perhaps more important is the effort the Colombia native gives and his business-like demeanor on the court. No one can question how hard Perea plays and even as Indiana Elite’s depth problems have taken their toll this spring, Perea hasn’t let fatigue affect his production.

Watch our complete spring video collection of Perea after the jump …

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Updated: 2013 Indiana Basketball Recruiting Board

With the spring AAU schedule winding down, Inside the Hall refreshes our 2013 recruiting board with a look at 11 names on the Indiana radar as well as six others to keep an eye on.

Check out an in-depth look at the 2013 class, which is already off to a solid start with the commitments of Collin Hartman and Devin Davis Jr., at the link below:

2013 Indiana Basketball Recruiting Board

(Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)

Site News: ITH mobile theme now available

Earlier this afternoon, we launched a mobile-friendly version of Inside the Hall that you’ll now see when you access the site from your mobile device. (It was originally launched earlier in the week, but we ran into some performance problems.) We’re still looking into the possibility of apps for both the iPhone and Android, but this theme will allow for easier reading and navigation for basically every mobile web browser.

Many of the same features on the desktop theme of ITH are available on the new mobile theme: Commenting via Disqus, most video is also available for viewing and you can browse recruit profiles and other pages by using the navigation menu in the top right corner of your screen.

We’ve received quite a bit of positive feedback via Facebook and Twitter thus far, but if you haven’t had the chance to check it out, let us know what you think in the comments.

A deeper look at ESPN’s A-HOPE investigation

ESPN.com, as you know by now, published a series of stories written by Mike Fish focusing on the Bloomington-based African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education (A-HOPE) program and Indiana Elite today.

Their main piece focuses primarily on Mark Adams, who founded A-HOPE. He’s also a coach with Indiana Elite and is the father of Drew Adams, who was formerly the Director of Basketball Operations at Indiana.

A related story claims that 2012 La Porte La Lumiere commitment Hanner Perea received benefits that, according to ESPN, “appear to put Perea in violation of NCAA preferential treatment and extra benefits bylaws (12.1.2.1.6).”

After reading over both stories thoroughly, some thoughts follow in no particular order of importance:

— Perea, guardianship and benefits: Adams did not deny in e-mails to ESPN.com that he paid for airline tickets for Perea to visit his native country of Colombia as well as a $400 laptop that he shares with Obij Aget, another A-HOPE and Indiana Elite member that attends La Porte La Lumiere. The story also mentions that Perea received a used iPod.

Adams explains in an e-mail to ESPN:

“Hanner got here with one pair of old shoes and 2 to 3 changes of clothing!! I am sure there have been times with all the A-HOPE kids while at school either a roommate or friend that had a much better financial background would get something new and just give the old item to one of these kids. Hanner was here for 2 years with no cell phone, there were times that his family tried to call but couldn’t reach him so last August I bought him the cheapest cell phone my cell provider offered and he shares my minutes. I don’t really know where he got the iPod, I may have given him one of my kids’ old ones. You can get iPods for next to nothing anymore. The only two kids at La Lumiere [Perea’s current school] that didn’t have a laptop was Obij [7-foot Obij Aget from Sudan] and Hanner. A-HOPE bought the cheapest $400 laptop Best Buy offered for Obij and Hanner to share.”

Whether or not Perea faces eligibility issues as a result of the reported benefits could come down to one issue that is not made clear in the story: Is Adams the legal United States guardian for Perea?

Adams told ESPN that he is the legal guardian for two A-HOPE kids, but said it was not important to identify their names.

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ESPN on Indiana Elite, Hanner Perea and A-Hope

We’ll have to dig into the meat of this later on because it’s a lot to digest in such a short period of time, but ESPN just published several investigative stories on A-Hope, the Bloomington-based non-profit that assists in bringing international players to the United States.

The first is an in-depth investigative piece on the A-Hope program that brings up several findings that ESPN says could raise red flags with NCAA investigators.

The second reports the following on Hanner Perea:

Treatment afforded him by A-HOPE and its president, Mark Adams, including roundtrip airline tickets to Colombia, appears to put Perea in violation of NCAA preferential treatment and extra benefits bylaws (12.1.2.1.6).

Also at issue are gifts Perea has received from A-HOPE and Adams, whose son served on the IU basketball staff from September 2009 until this month. Perea is a member of an AAU team — Indiana Elite — which Adams coaches and whose best players have in the last year begun committing verbally to IU in bunches. The NCAA declined to comment specifically on Perea, but a spokesperson said that generally, “benefits from the prospects’ coach other than basic living expenses are considered against NCAA rules.”

For now, we’ll leave it at that because as I said, a lot to digest here, but just a quick thought: There’s nothing here that indicates any rulebreaking by Indiana basketball, Tom Crean or the coaching staff. We’ll do our best to wrap our brains what’s been presented, but for now, read the stories (if you wish) and feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

Around the Hall: 2012 class ranked No. 1 by ESPN

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew. So go ahead, get your read on.

It appears Tom Crean was asked about job security during an IU tailgate tour stop today in South Bend. Crean’s comment on what was likely a question on if he’s feeling any heat: “I would sure hope not. Based on what we walked into three years ago. I certainly don’t see it that way.” IU Athletics Director Fred Glass chimed in as well, “I get that we want to be back where we belong as basketball royalty. I think we have the absolute right guy to take us there.”

ESPN released an early look at the 2012 recruiting class rankings and Indiana took the top spot.

Jason King of Yahoo! Sports breaks down the top newcomers in the Big Ten and writes that no freshman in the country will be counted on more heavily than Cody Zeller.

Penn State is turning to Eddie Fogler to assist in finding a replacement for Ed DeChellis. East Carolina’s Jeff Lebo, Duquesne’s Ron Everhart, Drexel’s Bruiser Flint and Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Rob Jeter are potential candidates.

Michigan State guard and Indiana native Russell Byrd is having foot surgery again and will miss four months.

John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus chimes in on the Big Ten’s proposal to increase monthly stipends to athletes to cover the full cost of attendance. Our old friend Eamonn Brennan also addressed the proposal over at the World Wide Leader.

The Big Ten fared the best of the six major conferences in the latest APR data released by the NCAA.

Spring Scouting: Jaquan Lyle

Inside the Hall continues its first breakdown of IU’s 2014 targets today with Evansville Bosse and Eric Gordon All-Stars Guard Jaquan Lyle. At last weekend’s State AAU Tournament, Lyle joined forces with the 2014 Derrick Rose Best Choice team, as his Eric Gordon squad was taking a weekend off.

Inside the Hall was in attendance for two of Lyle’s games and here are some of our thoughts from the weekend:

— Willing and talented passer: To an unaware observer, Lyle didn’t look like a new addition to the Derrick Rose Best Choice team. The 6-foot-4 freshman distributed the ball and played an unselfish style with a brand new set of teammates. Lyle knows how and when to find teammates, whether they’re cutting to the basket, moving off of screens for a jump shot or running the break for easy baskets. He can pass using the dribble, at a standstill or out of the post as he backs down his man. No matter the method, Lyle is an effective passer who creates easy scoring opportunities with great vision and crafty passing.

— Ability to penetrate: Lyle has a keen ability to get to the rim and can make it look easy. He has a tight, crisp handle on the ball and uses a good first step to get by defenders and into the lane. Once in the lane, Lyle can finish at the rim, get to the line or dish the ball out to an open teammate when help defense collapses on him.

— Above average length and athleticism: Lyle appears to have improved his bounce over the past 4-6 weeks as he now appears more confident in his ability to make plays above the rim.  As Lyle continues to work on his strength and agility, his athleticism should only improve. Lyle’s length also gives him an advantage on the defensive end where he can pester opponents and play the passing lanes for potential steals.

— Still growing?: While we certainly aren’t doctors, it isn’t out of the question to consider that Lyle could add a few more inches to his 6-foot-4, 187 pound frame. Just a year ago Lyle stood 5-foot-10, and having just turned 15 in February, there is reason to believe he could squeeze out another inch or two.

— Shooting consistency needs improvement: If there is one real weakness in Lyle’s game it is his inconsistency shooting from the perimeter. Lyle has the ability to knock down jump shots, but is also very streaky. Improving his overall shooting consistency would make the freshman guard that much harder to defend and that much more potent offensively.

New video of Lyle from the State AAU Tournament after the jump …

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