No shortage of visitors expected for IU-Michigan

When IU (3-0) and Michigan (4-0) kick-off Saturday at 3:30 on ESPNU, Tom Crean and his staff are expected to be in the midst of hosting one of the most impressive list of visitors on a single weekend since Crean’s arrival in Bloomington.

According to their Twitter accounts, Hamilton Heights’ Austin Etherington (pictured), Hamilton Southeastern’s Gary Harris, Lawrence Central’s Jeremy Hollowell and LaPorte La Lumiere’s Hanner Perea will all be in attendance on unofficial visits.

(Edit: Cody Zeller will also be in Bloomington, according to a message board post by Mike Pegram on Zeller is scheduled to take his first official visit, to Butler, next weekend.)

Park Tudor’s Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, a frequent visitor to Bloomington, could also attend but homecoming at his high school may prevent that from happening.

Ferrell and Perea were both in Bloomington last weekend for IU football’s 35-20 win over Akron.

Also expected: 2012 Detroit Pershing guard Sherron Dorsey-Walker, 2013 Jeffersonville guard Darryl Baker, 2013 Warren Central forward Devin Davis Jr, and 2013 Heritage Christian guard Basil Smotherman.

2014 commit James Blackmon Jr. will be participating at the John Lucas Basketball Resources Midwest Invitational Camp in Louisville this weekend.

A couple of notes on 2014 commit Trey Lyles

I had planned, as of Thursday, to write a fairly lengthy piece on 2014 Indianapolis Arsenal Tech forward Trey Lyles prior to his visit last Sunday to Bloomington.

But alas, life happens and I never got the opportunity to write a story after my conversation with Trey’s father, Tom, last Wednesday night. So as an alternative, here are a few key quotes I took away from talking with Tom Lyles last week about his son:

+ I asked Mr. Lyles to explain why he believed his son was garnering so much recruiting attention at the age of 14. Since Trey’s father played professionally and also serves as an assistant coach for Tech, I asked him to answer from a coach’s perspective rather than as his father. And in talking with many parents and recruits over the past three years, this was one of the most impressive answers I’ve ever been given:

“First of all, Trey studied the game. He was truly a student of this game. Not just the running and gunning, the shooting, the dunking. He was a student of the game as in he went back and kind of checked out the legends of the game. And studied a lot of what Rick Barry was doing. Jerry West, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Darrell Dawkins, Moses Malone, Tiny Archibald, Pete Maravich. The kid’s done his homework. And I’ve always told him, ‘before you go any place, you have to know where you’re coming from. You have to know where you have been before you can go anywhere.’ So I think that right there, understanding and being a student of the game, I honestly believe that has given Trey the basketball IQ that he has which I think is just impeccable for a kid his age. Second of all, his work ethic. The kid will work. And he wants more, he wants more, he wants more. 6 o’clock in the morning workouts. We hit 6 o’clock in the morning workouts twice a week, sometimes three days a week. And the 6 o’clock in the morning workouts are harder than any workout that he’s probably been through with any other coach because like I told him, ‘being in middle school, I was training you for high school. Now that we’re in high school, I’m training you for college.’ “

+ And along the same lines, more on Trey’s game:

“Right now the kid is about 6-10. And as a father, I’m very, very happy for him. As a coach, it’s pretty impressive that a kid his age at that size can play every position on the floor and play it fluently. If you need him to be the point, he can run it. He has the handles of some of the best point guards out there. He might not be as fancy with his ball handling, but that’s not what we work on. We don’t work on being fancy, we work on being precise. Fanciness causes turnovers and it’s just for show. We’re about being precise and making things happen. If you need for him to go in the post and play that five position, that’s where he started at. We started on the footwork and the fundamentals, understanding the basics of the game. If you need for him to step out and shoot that midrange shot consistently, he can do that. If you need for him to step out and hit the long ball, college or NBA distance, he can do that consistently. If you need for him to be that wing man and fill the slots and run the floor, he can do that. I’m strictly speaking in a second-party sense, as a coach. It’s amazing that a kid 14 that’s his size, for him to be able to do that, that’s probably the part most of the coaches are impressed with.”

128 pages of awesomeness

One of the great things about our growing community is the opportunity to dabble into new ventures. And the magazine you see above, the 2010-2011 Maple Street Press Hoosier Tip-Off, is a perfect example.

The magazine, which is $12.99, is 128 pages, contains no ads and can be ordered online here and will begin shipping on October 11 (it will also hit newsstands on October 26). Our resident ginger, Zach Osterman, served as editor and did a fantastic job. There are also stories by Ryan Corazza, Chris Korman, Hugh Kellenberger, Dustin Dopirak, Jordan Cohen, DeAntae Prince, Chris Engel, Ryan Gregg, Lee Hurwitz, Peter Stevenson and yours truly.

We hope you enjoy.

Lyles adds his name to Indiana’s 2014 class

In 2014, I will be 27. Barack Obama, should he be re-elected, will be less than three years from his constitutionally-mandated removal from office. And Trey Lyles will begin his freshman year in Bloomington.

The 6-foot-9 forward from Indianapolis’ Tech High School, already considered one of the state’s top prospects in the 2014 class, joined friend and AAU teammate James Blackmon Jr. on Sunday when he gave Indiana a verbal commitment. Our fellows at the Hoosier Scoop have the details.

Lyles joins Blackmon, a long-armed guard who plays for his father — former Kentucky standout James Blackmon Sr. — at Bishop Luers in Fort Wayne. Some interesting stuff from Hugh Kellenberger’s post:

“It is what Trey wanted to do,” said Tom Lyles, his father. “He has been talking about it for a while. I had told him, ‘No, you don’t want to do that for a while.’ But he was adamant. Me and him and his mom talked about it and he proved positive that he wanted to play for coach Crean and IU.”

We’ll try to get in touch with Lyles and his family in the next day or so. In the meantime, feel free to chew on this and leave your thoughts below. Hope your Sunday was enjoyable.

Reading between the lines

BLOOMINGTON — Tom Crean has started speaking in past tense. It’s reasoned, measured and cautious, sure, but when Crean preached the rebuilding gospel that has endeared him to IU fans over the past 2 1/2 years Thursday night at the IU Auditorium, he suddenly began referring to so many of the Hoosiers’ obstacles much the same way America is supposed to now refer to the recession.

“Every day it’s been about rebuilding or restoring, however you want to look at it, this great program back to those great heights,” Crean said.

By this point, there’s no need for me to rehash or you to relive what’s gone on since February of 2008. That would be wasted space. But as his team has taken various steps — and often stumbled between them — Crean has offered both rallying cries and sobering, realistic assessments of the Hoosiers trials, in measures almost equal.

Thursday night, he began to speak like a man who knows that, at some important levels, his team has turned a corner.

“People have gotten used to seeing Indiana being down. … Our opponents, they don’t want it to come back,” Crean said. “They like knocking Indiana. They like the 19 Fs and all the drug tests failed. They like that Indiana.”

Perhaps Crean’s point, albeit one made abstractly, is that “that Indiana” is finally becoming a thing of the past.

There’s significant reason for optimism in Bloomington this fall. The non-conference schedule, while respectable, is by no means unbearable, and it’s easy to envision Indiana entering Big Ten play with 10 wins already on its ledger. The roster turnover and inexperience that marked the last two seasons is significantly lessened by the return of all but three players from last year’s team, and both Crean and his charges have talked of a productive offseason in the weight room.


A notebook of all things Indiana following Tom Crean’s lecture

BLOOMINGTON — Mostly because I just can’t get enough of datelines, I thought I’d bring you just a few of the highlights of Tom Crean’s Thursday night lecture to students and fans at the IU Auditorium. Enjoy.

+ Perhaps the headline announcement was that Hoosier Hysteria will take place Oct. 15, so there’s that.

+ Crean said that, according to his players, Verdell Jones is right now perhaps the best player on the team. Pointing out that he himself has not been able to assess the team personally per NCAA rules, Crean has polled his players on any number of topics, and on this one in particular, Jones’ name was the one most continually mentioned.

+ Talking about the coming season, Crean said the three areas in which his team needs to improve the most are rebounding at both ends, defensive intensity and decision making.

+ With Franklin College already on the schedule, Crean told the crowd he expects to add one more exhibition, likely on the Monday before the Hoosiers’ season opener Friday. (So Nov. 8 before the Nov. 12 game against Florida Gulf Coast.)

+ Crean also highlighted three “great fights” every team struggles with: division from within, outside forces and fatigue. “Fatigue might be the greatest of them all,” he said, “because it is so easy to believe that you’ll do better tomorrow.”

+ Crean said he never picks wins and losses or projects a record for his teams. He also declined to name which team he wanted to beat most when questioned by an audience member, saying he didn’t want to give anyone “bulletin-board material.”

+ Asked to share his most embarrassing moment, Crean told of a time in eighth grade when he scored a layup into the wrong basket during a basketball game.

Quotable: “I do know that if you walk into any game, and you don’t think that you’ve found any way to beat that team, you’re a joke.” –Tom Crean, IU basketball coach

If this doesn’t get you excited for the season

… then I’m not sure what will. Special thanks to Azur for putting this together. Excellent work.

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