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Hey, look, Roshown McLeod can recruit

After two disappointing seasons on the IU staff led to his dismissal in early March, former assistant coach Roshown McLeod was announced as the head coach at St. Benedict’s Prep on April 20. And since that time, McLeod has been in hot pursuit of North Central’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who visited St. Benedict’s over the weekend.

But a tweet last night, courtesy of Evan Daniels, revealed that McLeod landed the top 2012 prospect in Kentucky, Jaylen Beckham, which may be an indicator that Smith-Rivera will not make the move to St. Benedict’s. Beckham, who has IU listed on his Rivals.com profile, plays the same position as Smith-Rivera: point guard.

Here’s the tweet from Daniels:

Jaylen Beckham will transfer from Lexington Catholic to play for Roshown McCloud @ St. Benedicts

Smith-Rivera, one of IU’s top recruiting targets in the 2012 class, has scholarship offers from Cincinnati, IU, Louisville, Purdue, Tennessee and Xavier. But a move to St. Benedict’s to play for McLeod could be a crossroads in the pursuit of the North Central guard, who is considered one of the top prospects in the state regardless of class.

Report: Jeff Watkinson leaving Indiana

According to Chris Korman of The Herald-Times and The Hoosier Scoop, Jeff Watkinson, the men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach for the past four seasons, is leaving the program to train former IU guard Eric Gordon.

Watkinson joined the program under former coach Kelvin Sampson and received his master’s degree in exercise from IU in 1996. He also worked at Missouri, Clemson, Charlotte and College of Charleston.

Here are the details of his departure, according to Korman:

Jeff Watkinson, the highly respected strength and conditioning coach for IU basketball, has accepted a job working with former Hoosier Eric Gordon. He’ll be a personal basketball development coach for Gordon, who plays with the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to his bio on the IU Athletics site, Watkinson specializes in strength training, athletic development, conditioning and nutritional guidance. And by the way, this probably explains this tweet by Maurice Creek.

Video: Crean talks Guy-Marc, Oladipo, Sheehey

Before we get to the aforementioned video, I’d like to publicly begin a campaign for Tom Crean to wear his crimson blazer in a game next season. In case you’re unaware of the story behind the blazer, Crean received it as a gift from Fuzzy Zoeller, the professional golfer from Southern Indiana who is also a huge supporter of IU athletics. Anyway, it’s time to take the blazer to the next level, Coach. I’m thinking it would look good at next season’s Purdue game at Assembly Hall. Who’s with me?

Now, onto the task at hand. Following his appearance at Huber’s last Wednesday, Crean talked about each member of the incoming recruiting class. The video, courtesy of Rick Bozich, is below for your viewing pleasure:

An expansion manifesto after midnight

PARK RIDGE, Ill. — Noted political scientist Thomas Hobbes once wrote that man, in his basest state of nature, lives a life that is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” As a distant observer-turned-one-time insider, this is the best way I can describe the current climate of conference expansion.

To refresh thine memories: Last December, our friends at the Big Ten decided on the idea of exploring the possibility of expansion, or at least doing so publicly. (Commissioner Jim Delany has said since then that the conference had explored the possibility before, but not so seriously as they are now.)

Since then, college sports — and in particular, college football — has spontaneously combusted several times over from Syracuse all the way to Seattle. And this weekend was no different.

Sunday marked the June meeting of the Big Ten’s Council of Presidents/Chancellors, which might have been the only major piece of expansion news spawned in the last 96 hours that was in any way expected. It was hardly the only show in town.

(SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION ALERT)

I point you to an article written by yours truly for our friends at the Herald-Times, since it was far more convenient for me to make the Big Ten meetings Sunday. No seriously, it pretty well lists out most of what’s been reported since sundown Thursday. To summarize:

  • The Pac-10 is exploring expansion.
  • The Pac-10 wants every Big 12 team that can tell the difference between a football and a hole in the ground.
  • The Big Ten is quite tight-lipped, but willingly admitted that the actions of other major players might accelerate a process it had once hoped would last between 12 and 18 months. The “criteria” for expansion, which includes academic reputation, fiscal responsibility, competitiveness and an institutional fit (would they play well with the rest of the Big Ten), remain unchanged.
  • According to what we were told today, no institutions have, as yet, formally applied for membership, a requirement for admission per Big Ten bylaws.
  • The Big 12, once considered a stalwart on the landscape, particularly in football, is in serious danger of extinction. According to (more) reports today, Missouri and Nebraska, rumored to be among the Big Ten’s favorites as candidates, have been given an ultimatum by their conference to make a decision. And suddenly, a state university famous for its journalism school and another known best for Tom Osborne’s lack of willingness to discipline star football players appear to be the lynchpin.

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2012 Intro: Kenny Kaminski

The Essentials: 6-7, 190-lb forward for Medina (OH) and Indiana Elite

The Schools: According to Rivals.com, Arizona State, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin have offered scholarships. Florida has expressed interest.

The Numbers: 17.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg for Medina, which finished 20-3.

The Leaders: Kaminski told reporters at the adidas May Classic that Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State are his leaders. Kaminski will make his decision on July 31.

The Quote: “The main thing that really stuck out was the fanbase is incredible. I know Indiana’s been down a little bit the last couple of years, but it’s so loud in there. It tops any other school that I’ve ever been to or even seen on TV. Their atmosphere is ridiculous. The coaching is always great. I think the players work as hard as they can to get better and obviously they’ve improved since last year to this year. The campus is beautiful. I think Coach Crean is a great coach. I think he’s really going to be able to turn the program around.” – Kaminski to Inside the Hall.

The Scout Says: “Kaminski is a high level shooter who is showing a greater aptitude for grabbing rebounds around the rim and scoring in the paint. Those are still growth areas for him, but the 6-foot-7 forward is definitely coming along in those areas.” – Rivals.com analyst Brian Snow on Kaminski’s performance at the adidas May Classic.

The Video Interview:

2012 Intro: Jeremy Hollowell

The Essentials: 6-6, 195-lb forward for Lawrence Central and Eric Gordon Central Stars

The Schools: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio State, Tennessee and Xavier have offered scholarships. Florida, Louisville and Michigan have expressed interest.

The Numbers: 17.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg for Lawrence Central, which finished 8-13.

The Leaders: Hollowell told Mike Pegram of Peegs.com at the adidas May Classic that Indiana and Ohio State are two schools that stand out. Hollowell is originally from Ohio.

The Quote: “They (Ohio State) might have a little edge because I’m from Ohio. But it’s the same with Indiana, too. I’m still keeping it open.” – Hollowell to Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star.

The Scout Says: “Thanks to his performance in Bloomington, Hollowell’s stock is on the rise. A near 6-foot-6 wing with a pretty complete game, things seem to come easy to Hollowell. He handles well enough to create his own offense, has size to post up other wings and he can shoot the ball with range. He’s also a competitor who is willing to take a tough defensive challenge and help out on the glass.” – Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi on Hollowell’s performance at the adidas May Classic.

The Video Interview (courtesy of Jody Demling):

2012 Intro: DeJuan Marrero

The Essentials: 6-5, 205-lb forward for Bowman Academy and Spiece Indy Heat

The Schools: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State and Purdue have offered scholarships. Florida, Kentucky, Marquette, Michigan and Xavier have expressed interest.

The Numbers: 17.0 ppg and 12.0 rpg for Bowman Academy, which won the Class A state championship.

The Leaders: Long considered to be a Purdue-lean, the Boilermakers, Illinois and Ohio State are believed to be the three schools in the best shape with Marrero, who has not named a leader publicly.

The Quote: “It is cool. I know they are two big rival schools, and knowing I have Indiana and Purdue shows me that my hard work has paid off. It is great to have two great schools recruiting me.” – Marrero to Brian Snow of Rivals.com on being recruited by Indiana and Purdue.

The Ranking: The Hoop Scoop ranks Marrero the 38th best prospect in the 2012 class.

The Video Interview (courtesy of Daniel Poneman):

Marrero video highlights from the state championship game are after the jump …

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