Q & A: Harris reflects on AAU season, looks ahead

With his final AAU season coming to a close and his senior year at Hamilton Southeastern set to begin in a couple of weeks, five-star guard Gary Harris sat down with reporters to discuss a variety of topics at the Spiece Fieldhouse on Saturday in Ft. Wayne. Harris is playing in his final AAU event this weekend with D3 Pride in the GRBA National Championships.

Here’s a full transcript of the lengthy question and answer session with Indiana’s top remaining recruiting target in the class of 2012:

Is this just one big test after another as you finish out July?

“Yeah, I mean I just want to play against the best competition I can and just go out here and win as many games as possible, so each time we get a win, I’m happy.”

When you kind of look at your July, what do you think you did really well and what do you think you showed people this July?

“I think my versatility, different ways I can score, different ways I can get my teammates involved, defense, just my overall game.”

How do you sort of keep some of that going during football season? Are you going to work out basketball at all during football?

“Yeah, I’m just going to get shots up after practice sometimes when I can. But nothing like full out, but just so I can just keep a touch and feel for the ball so when basketball season comes around, I’m not starting from scratch.”

Are you kind of looking forward to switching your focus to football for a while and kind of get a little break?

“Yeah it’s always good to switch it up. We should have a pretty good team this year, so it should be fun.”

When do you start football stuff?

“Monday. Two-a-days start on Monday.”

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2014 Wapahani guard Grant Evans on the IU radar

After a freshman campaign at Class 2A Wapahani where he averaged 20.7 points and 5.2 rebounds, 2014 guard Grant Evans is beginning to see his recruitment pick up traction this summer.

In a Friday pool play game at the Spiece Gym Rats Basketball Association National Championships in Fort Wayne, Evans drew a crowd that included Indiana coaches Tom Crean and Tim Buckley, Purdue assistants Jack Owens and Greg Gary and Butler assistants Michael Lewis and Terry Johnson.

“It’s kind of cool,” Evans told Inside the Hall. “Right now I’m just excited that they’re all coming.”

The 6-foot-2 Evans was the key to Wapahani’s run in the Lapel sectional as the Raiders won two games before falling 35-34 to Winchester in the championship game.

He averaged 29.3 points over three sectional contests and said he’s trying to prove he’s more than just a scorer.

“I’m just trying to improve on my defense,” Evans said. “Just being more of a leader on the court, my ball handling and my explosiveness.”

His recruiting picture, which is still coming into focus, already includes a scholarship offer from a Horizon League school.

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Notebook: Zak Irvin, Glass talks patience and more

Joe and I will hit the recruiting trail once again beginning Friday in Fort Wayne for the Spiece Gym Rats Basketball National Championships. A few of the players expected to participate according to the schedule released include Gary Harris, Trey Lyles, James Blackmon Jr., Jaquan Lyle, Trevon Bluiett and Demetrius Jackson. This will be the AAU final event we’ll cover this summer, but until that coverage gets underway, here are some news tidbits and notes from Thursday:

2013 Hamilton Southeastern wing Zak Irvin is down to two schools: Butler and Michigan. Our friend Dylan Burkhardt over at UMHoops confirmed the news with Irvin on Thursday morning. Irvin told Burkhardt that he plans to decide on a school before summer ends. If John Beilein and staff can successfully land Irvin, it’ll be Michigan’s third commitment from Indiana in the past 12 months (Glenn Robinson III and Austin Hatch are the other two). Seniors Zack Novak and Stu Douglass are also Indiana natives.

Despite the focus being on football at the Big Ten media days in Chicago, athletic director Fred Glass was asked about the patience of basketball fans in Bloomington according to Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star. Here was his response:

“I think there is a lot of enthusiasm as people see the light at the end of the tunnel. One the great untold stories has been the patience of ‘Hoosier Nation.’ We’re still second in the conference in attendance. It’s just been ridiculous how people have stuck with us through competitive challenges – except that it’s Indiana. That’s what people do. If you’re doing things the right way, people are going to give you space to do it the right way. Quick answers often end up in quick crashes. I like that people are passionate and care and they definitely see the light.”

ESPN.com is running a “summer buzz” series featuring the 25 most intriguing college programs and Indiana will be featured next Friday.

Oklahoma and the NCAA have come to an agreement that the Sooners are guilty of two major violations, but Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports wonders if the school’s self-imposed sanctions will satisfy the NCAA. Our old friend Eamonn writes that Oklahoma’s damage control may not be enough. Both violations occurred during the recruitment of Tiny Gallon, who left Norman after one season.

— Finally, Indiana has been releasing player photos via Twitpic that were taken in Cook Hall for next season’s yearbook. You can take a look at Cody Zeller donning the candy stripes for the first time at this link.

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

The latest on LSU transfer Garrett Green

Decision day is looming for LSU transfer Garrett Green, who visited Indiana this past weekend. The 6-foot-11 center said that he’d like to have a decision before Friday, August 5, which is the date he’ll graduate in Baton Rouge.

Green told Inside the Hall he also planned to visit Long Beach State, San Diego State and Wichita State and a report in yesterday’s San Diego Union-Tribune has shed some light on a timeline for a couple of those visits:

With just eight scholarship players currently on the roster for next season, the San Diego State men’s basketball coaches aren’t turning blue.

But they might go Green.

Garrett Green, a 6-foot-11 center from Louisiana State, announced last week that he is transferring for his final season and has SDSU among his finalists. He is expected to visit campus Sunday.

According to the Union-Tribune’s report, a big part of San Diego State’s pitch to Green could be playing time:

He reportedly has been on campus at Indiana and is expected to visit Long Beach State later this week. But one thing the Aztecs can offer that others maybe can’t is ample playing time, especially given the uncertainty of 6-11 center Brian Carlwell’s application for a sixth year of eligibility. Carlwell’s case was forwarded to a secondary committee, pushing the decision into August.

While the lack of personnel on the Aztec roster may very well be a pitch their staff uses, it would come as no surprise if Green was able to unseat Tom Pritchard and slide right in at the five if he opts for Indiana. And based on his comments in his interview with Inside the Hall over the weekend, Green’s decision appears to be coming down to the graduate programs available to him first and then basketball.

Around the Hall: Gunner Kiel commitment edition

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

(Note: Our coverage does not typically include football and there are no plans to begin covering any additional IU sports, but on this historic day for IU football, it’s only fair to show some love.)

+ Gunner Kiel, the nation’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback and brother of IU quarterback Dusty Kiel, committed to IU and told Dustin Dopirak of the Herald-Times that a big part of his decision was a belief in the future of Hoosier football.

+ Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com writes that Kevin Wilson pulled off the biggest recruiting upset in school history.

+ Kiel’s coach at Columbus East, Bob Gaddis, tells Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star that his quarterback will be a sponge at the next level.

+ The Columbus Republic has additional reaction from Gaddis on Kiel’s decision and the East coach says he was not at all surprised by the decision.

+ Rick Bozich of The Louisville Courier-Journal writes that Kiel’s commitment gives Wilson and the IU staff credibility and momentum in building the 2012 recruiting class.

+ This MSNBC.com headline says it all about reaction from across the country: Nation’s top 2012 QB opts for … Indiana?

+ Brian Bennett of ESPN.com writes that Kiel’s commitment is “unquestionably outstanding news for long-suffering Indiana fans.”

(Photo credit: Indy Star)

A look back at Indiana’s unprecedented recruiting run

Those of you who follow us on Twitter (cheap plug) may have noticed a tweet last evening that proclaimed the following: “A year ago, Indiana had one verbal commitment. Since August 9, 2010, Hoosiers have picked up 11 commitments, including four 5-stars.”

In less than 12 months, the question surrounding the state of Indiana’s recruiting changed from “Can IU lock down the borders of the state once again?” to “Who will the Hoosiers land next?” It truly has been an unprecedented run of success on the recruiting trail by Tom Crean and his staff.

Here’s a look back at the significant recruiting developments since last August in chronological order:

August 9, 2010: Peter Jurkin became Indiana’s first recruit in the 2012 class when he committed on a live television broadcast at adidas Nations in Chicago. Ryan was there to catch up with Jurkin shortly after he made the pledge.

August 15, 2010: Fresh off the positive momentum of Jurkin’s commitment, the Hoosiers quickly added to the 2012 class with Broad Ripple guard Ron Patterson. Patterson says at the time of the commitment that he would like to see Lawrence Central wing Jeremy Hollowell join him in Bloomington.

September 1, 2010: Cody Zeller announced dates for his official visits. Butler drew the first straw, North Carolina was second and the Hoosiers landed Zeller’s last visit.

September 3, 2010: 2014 Bishop Luers freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. announced that he would play for Indiana before ever logging a minute of high school action. Blackmon’s father, James Sr., told Inside the Hall that Indiana was headed in the right direction.

September 19, 2010: Jeremy Hollowell says he’s impressed by the commitments of Jurkin and Patterson and adds that he believes the 2012 class is the one that will really turn things around for Indiana.

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Indiana interested in 2013 Flint Beecher point guard Monte Morris

Another 2013 point guard has piqued the interest of Indiana according to our friend Jody Demling of The Louisville Courier-Journal.

Monte Morris, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound floor general from Beecher High School in Flint, Michigan told Demling at the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando that the Hoosiers are recruiting him.

Michigan, who is considered the favorite for Morris, was the first Big Ten school to extend a scholarship offer. Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Iowa State, Syracuse, Georgetown and Kansas are also in the mix.

Here’s a look at Morris from a 70-66 overtime loss to McBain in the MHSAA Class C semifinal from our friends at UMHoops.com. Morris, who wears No. 11 in white in the video, finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

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