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2011 wing Aaron Thomas high on the Hoosiers

Schools looking for a big-time scorer in the 2011 class are beginning to take notice of Cincinnati Aiken’s Aaron Thomas.

Thomas, a 6-4, 185-pound wing, was named the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a junior as he averaged 22.1 points per game.

He shot over 56 percent from the field, 82 percent from the foul line and had four games with more than 30 points. Aiken finished the season 14-8.

“My high school season went well,” Thomas told Inside the Hall. “I was second in the city in scoring, but we lost in the second round and didn’t go as far as we did last year.”

The Indiana coaching staff began to take interest in Thomas last summer as he suited up for the Queen City Prophets and the interest has continued to blossom from both sides.

While Thomas didn’t get a chance to visit Assembly Hall last season, he did visit Bloomington last fall for a football game.

“I’m pretty high on them,” he said of Indiana. “Coach Tom Crean has history. He taught Dwyane Wade. And basketball’s the biggest sport in Indiana. I’d like to be a part of that.”

Thomas noted that he hears mostly from Crean himself and is also being recruited by West Virginia, Michigan, Cincinnati, Louisville and Ohio State.

He does not, however, have a timetable for a decision.

Indiana fans will have several opportunities to watch Thomas this spring and summer as the Queen City Prophets are expected to participate in the adidas May Classic (Bloomington), adidas Invitational (Indianapolis) and the Kentucky Hoopfest (Louisville).

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

An update on 2013 Jeffersonville guard Darryl Baker

Darryl Baker is back.

After missing his entire freshman season at Jeffersonville with a broken bone in his right leg, the 6-2, 190-pound Baker returned to the court this past weekend at the IndyBall.com Shootout in Indianapolis.

And Baker and his teammates did not disappoint as Team Southern Indiana Red, coached by former IU guard Sherron Wilkerson, took home runner-up honors in the Silver Bracket (16U). The 15-year old guard scored 27 points in his first game of the spring.

“He played really well,” Wilkerson told Inside the Hall of Baker’s effort in his return. “I think he’s still gotta get his conditioning back and also, mentally, he has to retrain himself to trust that leg again. I think that’s probably something he fights for a while, but it just depends on the individual how quickly it dissipates.”

Baker, who is regarded as one of the top class of 2013 prospects in the state and has visited Bloomington several times over the past year, recently received his first scholarship offer from Xavier.

He’s also hearing from the Hoosiers, Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State and Butler and will likely split time this spring and summer between the point and off-guard positions.

But ultimately, his greatest potential might be creating opportunities from the wing, according to Wilkerson, a former Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American who coached this past season at Herron in Indianapolis.

“I really like to say that he would be deadly on a wing,” Wilkerson said. “Maybe a 2 or 3. That being said, he could potentially play some point guard. But I think his strongest attribute is being able to catch it while he’s moving. I think that any time a person of his athleticism and of his strength can catch it and catch it on the move, it makes them that much more difficult to guard and it doesn’t allow the defense to set up as quick.”

Indiana pursuing former Iowa recruit Cody Larson

Indiana’s pursuit of a big man for its 2010 class continues to roll on full steam ahead.

The latest target is 6-9, 230-pound Sioux Falls (SD) forward Cody Larson, who was released from his Letter of Intent with Iowa on April 9.

Larson, who committed to the Hawkeyes and former coach Todd Lickliter in September of 2008, met with new Iowa coach Fran McCaffery last Thursday and requested his release.

“Anytime you have a new coach, you have a whole new program,” Larson told Stu Whiney of The Argus Leader of his decision to re-open the process. “When I committed, I did it because of Coach Lickliter, and it was hard to see him leave. I just want to make sure I find what the best option is for me.”

On Sunday, the final day of the April 8-11 contact period, Tom Crean, Tim Buckley and Bennie Seltzer visited Larson in South Dakota, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Larson, who has four official visits remaining, is not speaking publicly about his recruitment at this time, but is expected to take some time to work through the recruiting process before making a decision. The spring signing period begins this Wednesday and concludes on May 19.

As a senior at Roosevelt High School, Larson averaged 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists, but was suspended near the conclusion of the season. Details of the suspension were not made public.

Larson’s game, which is described as a mix between a three, four and a five, reportedly has similarities to Mike Miller, who came through the same AAU program, the Dakota Schoolers. Scout.com lists Larson as a four-star prospect and the No. 23 power forward in the country while Rivals.com lists Larson as a three-star.

(Photo Credit: Rivals.com)

Catching up with Austin Etherington

Bleary-eyed reporters covering seemingly-endless hours of basketball with the Final Four 51 weeks away can only mean one thing: AAU season is officially on rock-and-roll.

Our good friends at the H-T, being both intrepid and equipped with constitutions of steel, were all over the IndyBall.com Shootout this weekend at North Central High School, where they got a look at plenty of prospects, including Bloomington South’s T.J. Bell, Muncie Central’s Jeremiah Davis and Hamilton Heights wing Austin Etherington.

Now IU’s lone commitment in the class of 2011, Etherington made an impression with 12 points against a Spiece team that Indiana Elite defeated 73-72. (By the way, I’m getting these stats from the venerable Hugh Kellenberger, via the above-linked post. I was covering Notre Dame baseball all Sunday.)

A busy summer lies ahead of Etherington, who said he’s pretty much willing to go wherever his Indiana Elite program wants him to, and he’ll do so in good company. Sunday at IndyBall, he plied his trade with many of the usual premiere Elite players, including Matt Carlino, Davis and Cody Zeller.

Despite the long layoff since his high school season ended on March 5 , Etherington said everyone felt good playing together pretty quickly.

“It didn’t take long for us to start playing together and get used to each other,” he said, noting that his Elite squad won the Shootout championship in overtime of the title game.

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Video: Victor Oladipo, Moses Abraham at the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic

Victor Oladipo and Moses Abraham won’t play together next season at Indiana, but they were teammates for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Festival Classic at Freedom Hall in Louisville.

Playing together on the White team, which fell 133-124 to the Black team, Oladipo and Abraham put up solid, but not spectacular numbers.

Oladipo finished with six points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block in 22 minutes. He also participated in the finals of the 3-point shootout (third place) and slam dunk contest (second place) at halftime.

Abraham, who verbally committed to Georgetown shortly after visiting Bloomington, had six points, eight rebounds and an assist in 17 minutes.

Both players met with the media following the game and video is available after the jump:

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Video: Victor Oladipo at the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic Night of the Future Stars

Indiana signee Victor Oladipo advanced to the finals of the 3-point shootout and the slam dunk competition at Friday night’s Kentucky Derby Festival Classic Night of the Future Stars at Bellarmine University in Louisville.

Oladipo, a 6-4 wing from DeMatha (MD), finished with 13 points in the preliminary round of the 3-point shootout and 57 out of a possible 60 points in the slam dunk competition. The finals of each event will take place at halftime of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Festival Classic at Freedom Hall.

Oladipo and Xavier signee Justin Martin advanced to the semifinals of the 2-on-2 competition, but fell to Ray McCallum Jr. and Trey Zeigler, who went on the win the event.

Highlights from Oladipo’s performance at Night of the Future Stars are available in the embedded video player below:

That’s A Wrap: Matt Roth

Big Ten Tournamnet: Indiana Hoosiers v Penn State Nittany LionsWelcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on.

Final Stats (Two games): Oh come now, is it even fair to put 2 points per game in here? I mean geez, dude only took one 3-pointer. This was a lost season for Matt Roth.

Two points in games against each Howard and USC-Upstate encompass all that Matt Roth was able to muster on the scoreboard this season before a foot injury put the kibosh on a sophomore campaign for the Illinois sharpshooter.

The injury was sort of disappointing, at least for me.

Roth was certainly an experiment in how good Tom Crean might be at identifying and employing effective rotations. (I know that’s come up here at least once or twice, hasn’t it?) At first blush, Roth isn’t much more than a shooter — an incredibly streaky but also ridiculously gifted shooter — and so the assumption was he was one who would see slackened playing time with a strong freshman class coming in.

But I was interested in Roth as a test of Crean’s developmental ability.

If he wants to be successful in the 4-to-5-year time range I think most would agree is fair, Crean is going to have to make a meal of lesser ingredients in a number of different ways, not the least of which is coaxing out of players with somewhat limited skillsets every ounce of potential they posses. Roth doesn’t have to end up filet mignon, but an apricot chicken would do nicely.

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