Notes and observations from Saturday of the adidas May Classic:
+ You’d be hard pressed to find a better 2013 AAU trio than Basil Smotherman, Devin Davis Jr. and Zak Irvin. All three suit up for the Eric Gordon All-Stars and each player is loaded with potential. Irvin, who hit a game-winning shot Friday night to knock off Collin Hartman and the Indiana Elite Stars, continued his stellar play with 19 points in Cook Hall in a 62-47 win over the Ohio Basketball Club early Saturday morning. Irvin played junior varsity last season at Hamilton Southeastern and will surely join Gary Harris on the varsity next winter. He said the main reason he played JV was his strength and he’s working to improve that this summer. Davis Jr., who has a high motor and is a top-level athlete, was equally impressive and will be a sophomore at Warren Central. Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star reported on Thursday that IU offered Davis Jr. a scholarship. The 6-5 Smotherman scored just four points in the Saturday morning game I watched, but is already claiming offers from Purdue and Xavier.
+ Twins Brenton and Bryson Scott of Ft. Wayne Northrop, also members of the 2013 class, turned in solid efforts in an early Saturday win, 75-48, over the Michigan Mustangs. Bryson, the better prospect of the two, had 25 points for the Spiece Indy Heat 15’s and Brent added 14. Afterwards, Bryson said he wasn’t sure whether he’d like to play with his brother in college.
+ Cincinnati Aiken guard Aaron Thomas continues to talk about a heavy interest in Indiana. Thomas said Indiana has offered a scholarship as have DePaul, Xavier and Cincinnati. Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan and Michigan State are also interested. Thomas said he hopes to make a decision by the end of July. (Click here for video.)
+Austin Etherington did not play Saturday and is expected to miss a few weeks due to a stress fracture in his lower back. He could return for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, which takes place the final weekend of May.
+Kenny Kaminski said he plans to make a decision on July 31 and Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State appear to be the schools to beat for the 6-8 shooter from Medina (OH). Kaminski hopes to visit Wisconsin, Arizona State and Florida before making a decision. (Click here for video.)
Cody Zeller, who led Washington to a 3A state title in March, was in Assembly Hall on Saturday afternoon with Indiana Elite for the adidas May Classic. Zeller talked to reporters about where North Carolina stands in his recruitment, his timetable for a decision, his thoughts on Indiana and more. Watch what Zeller had to say in the embedded media player below:
2011 Muncie Central guard Jeremiah Davis is one of top 50 players nationally in his class and is considering 12 schools, including Indiana. Watch what Davis had to say to Inside the Hall and The Courier-Journal’s Jody Demling on Saturday at the adidas May Classic in Bloomington:
2011 forward Aaron Thomas, who said on Saturday that he has been offered a scholarship by Indiana, met with the media following a pool play game at Assembly Hall. The 6-5 Thomas, who averaged over 22 points during his junior season at Cincinnati Aiken, is playing this spring and summer with the Queen City Prophets:
Indiana Elite teammates Kenny Kaminski, Hanner Perea and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera met with media Saturday afternoon in Assembly Hall following a pool play contest in the adidas May Classic. Watch what the three IU targets had to say in the embedded media players below:
It’s already been a busy and successful AAU season for Cody Zeller and Indiana Elite, and May isn’t yet half over. Zeller and his teammates — several of whom rank high on IU’s wish list for the 2011 and 2012 classes — already notched wins in two tournaments, including a revenge win over St. Louis Gameface at the Fort Wayne Run-N-Slam earlier this month.
Individually, Zeller is also using the summer to refine several parts of his game that he might not so easily improve during high school season.
“In high school, I was always being guarded by two and three guys,” Zeller told Inside the Hall. “It gives me a chance to work on post moves and drives and things like that against a different player, a different type of defender.”
Of course, there are plenty of Indiana fans who probably wouldn’t care if Zeller skipped his last season at Washington High (where he will be defending a state title) and just came to Bloomington in the fall.
Zeller, like his brothers Luke and Tyler before him, is an incredibly appealing prospect, particularly with his special blend of size and ability. Getting a commitment from Zeller would represent a benchmark recruiting win for coach Tom Crean, who has made few bones about focusing on closing Indiana’s borders when it comes to in-state high school talent.
That said, Zeller isn’t rushing his decision. He said since the end of the season, when several schools underwent coaching changes and staff turnover, he’s been getting interest from new schools, including Texas, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
For that reason, he said, he’s not ready to narrow a list down to five schools and is instead trying to keep an open mind. But that school just a little over a hour northeast of his home in Washington, Ind., still sits well with the 6-foot-10 prospect.
“Now that others have gotten involved, they’ve picked it up a little bit,” Zeller said of IU’s interest. “I could definitely see myself playing there.”
Indiana will travel to Boston College to face the Eagles in the 12th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com. This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams, and first since the 1996 NCAA Tournament. BC won that game, 64-51, and in the 1994 NCAA Tournament, 77-68. IU won the first meeting in 1983 in Indianapolis, 72-66.
“Boston College has one of the most experienced teams and they are battle tested and our players will have the opportunity very early in the season to compete against a nationally prominent program away from home, much like the Pitt game last year,” said IU Head Coach Tom Crean. “I have a lot of respect for their new coach Steve Donahue, who brought his Cornell team to Assembly Hall two years ago. It will be an exciting matchup for the players and fans.”
IU will return all five starters from last season and 12 lettermen, while BC could return 11 seniors or juniors to their roster.
The Big Ten is the defending Challenge champion, defeating the ACC by a 6- 5 margin a year ago. Road teams won six of the 11 games in 2009, and seven of the contests were decided by seven points or less, including four games won by four points or fewer.