Etherington updates injury, talks Elite Camp

After missing time earlier this spring with a stress fracture in his back, Austin Etherington returned to the court at last month’s Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. And while he’s not yet back to full strength, the 2011 Hamilton Heights guard is feeling better each day.

“I’m starting to feel back to my normal self,” Etherington told Inside the Hall on Sunday. “The doctor, the last time I saw him, he said I was only 70 percent, but I could still play. I feel like I’m better than 70 percent now, but I’m still a little slow on my first step. My back doesn’t bother me when I play, so that’s good.”

With some time off in June from AAU, the IU commit made the trip to Bloomington on Sunday for the Elite Camp and will also travel to Charlottesville next week for the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp on the campus of the University of Virginia.

Etherington said he enjoyed the opportunity on Sunday in Bloomington to get to know incoming recruit Victor Oladipo better and also picked up some advice from Tom Crean.

“Everytime I see Coach, he tells me to keep working on my ball handling and my shooting because you can never not need to improve on those kind of things,” Etherington said.

With his decision out of the way, Etherington’s month of July will be much different than many of his Indiana Elite teammates who will be looking to make an impression on college coaches.

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Hoosiers speak on Nebraska

This release just popped into the inbox from J.D. Campbell over at IU Media Relations. Normally wouldn’t be posting much about Bill Lynch on here, but under the circumstances, it can’t hurt.

“We are excited to welcome the University of Nebraska to the Big Ten Conference.  They are a perfect fit to what we believe is a group of institutions committed to combining the best that academia and athletic competition have to offer. We look forward to building on this new relationship.”
Fred Glass
Director of Athletics

“Nebraska is a first-class institution that for years has competed at the highest level in intercollegiate athletics and have a loyal fan base with obvious great support.  I have followed their programs for many years with great admiration.  We welcome them to the Big Ten Conference.”
Tom Crean
Men’s Basketball Coach

“We are excited about Nebraska joining the Big Ten. We think it’s arguably the best conference in the country and adding a powerhouse like Nebraska who’s great in all sports, particularly football and women’s basketball, it just adds to the Big Ten. We welcome a great program like Nebraska to the Big Ten Conference.”
Felisha Legette-Jack
Women’s Basketball Coach

“Nebraska is one of the outstanding institutions in the country,” Lynch said. “It is a great fit for the Big Ten both geographically and competitively. Nebraska’s football program is one of the truly elite in the country. It is a model program many of us have studied over the years and it will be a great addition to the Big Ten Conference.”
Bill Lynch
Football Coach

It’s official: Nebraska the 12th member of the Big Ten

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 11: Eshaunte Jones #1 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers passes the ball against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first half during the quarterfinals of the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 11, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)In a move motivated solely by college football and money (and also the potential for a Nebraska-Penn State basketball rivalry), the Big Ten officially announced the addition of Cornhuskers to the conference earlier today.

Here’s the press release from the Big Ten, which probably needs to get the wheels moving on a search for a new name:

Park Ridge, Ill.– The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) announced unanimous approval today for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to join the Big Ten Conference effective July 1, 2011, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2011-12 academic year. UNL will also seek admission into the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which can occur on or before July 1, 2011.

The addition of the University of Nebraska marks the Big Ten’s first expansion since Penn State University joined the conference in June of 1990 and will increase Big Ten membership to 12 institutions for the first time in conference annals. Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany will join University of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman and Director of Athletics Tom Osborne on campus in Lincoln, Neb., for press conference at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, June 11.

“By unanimous vote, the Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to the Big Ten Conference,” said COP/C Chair and Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon. “We believe Nebraska is an extraordinary fit, reflecting the criteria we established at the beginning of the process – high academic quality, competitiveness, cultural compatibility and fiscal responsibility. The extensive and in-depth discussions my colleagues and I have had about Big Ten expansion permitted us to act expeditiously and prudently on the application submitted by Nebraska. We look forward to working with our colleagues at UNL in the years ahead.”

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Video: Tom Crean says hello, friends

And discusses the topics of the week, including Tom Izzo, how much he loves being at IU, APR, Big Ten expansion, Eric Gordon, Jeff Watkinson and summer camps:

Since you and I both know you’re not really working …

Look: It’s Friday, the World Cup just started, Tom Izzo’s Michigan State career might have just ended and college football Armageddon is imminent, no matter who you believe. So come chat about it with us and the boys over at the Scoop. Special appearance by Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe possible, but not promised.

A quick update on Cincinnati Aiken’s Aaron Thomas

Aaron Thomas, a 6-4, four-star guard from Aiken High School in Cincinnati, is one of the top prospects Indiana expects at this weekend’s Elite Camp in Bloomington.

The Elite Camp, which is closed to the media and the public, will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Tim Johnson, one of Thomas’ coaches on the Queen City Prophets, told Inside the Hall on Thursday night that the Cincinnati native is looking forward to the weekend.

“He loves coming to Bloomington,” Johnson said. “He likes Coach Crean. He definitely loves the new facilities. He’s always looking forward to competition. He’s pretty excited.”

After Thomas told a group of assembled media at last month’s adidas May Classic that Indiana had offered a scholarship, there were later conflicting reports that an offer had not been officially extended by the IU staff.

Johnson, however, believes the offer is indeed on the table.

“It’s my understanding that he he has an offer from Indiana,” he said.

Thomas, who averaged 22.1 points per game as a junior at Aiken and was named the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year, does not appear to be any closer to a decision than he was a month ago.

“He’ll definitely wait until July,” Johnson said.

In case you missed it, here’s the video interview with Thomas from last month’s adidas May Classic:

Just another ordinary day in June …

Actually, not really. I’ll keep this quick, but a couple of notes to pass along:

+ Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star is reporting that North Central guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera will not transfer to St. Benedict’s Prep. This, if you haven’t been following the story, is good news because former assistant Roshown McLeod is running the show at St. Ben’s.

+ The momentum for Tom Izzo to the Cleveland Cavaliers continues to pick up steam. Citing sources (surprise!), ESPN is reporting that if Cavs owner Dan Gilbert offers the position, Izzo is likely to take it. This seems like a huge career gamble for Izzo if he’s not guaranteed that LeBron will return (and he’s not), but the opportunity to coach at the next level and work for Gilbert apparently has him intrigued.

+ The Indiana Junior all-stars, led by Marquis Teague and Cody Zeller, knocked off the All-Stars in an exhibiton game at Rushville. Mike Pegram has a free game-wrap (link) with some quotes from Zeller.

+ The Pac-10 officially announced that Colorado will join the conference, making the Buffaloes the first new member since 1978. Goodbye, Big 12.

+ The Detroit News has an update on Hamilton Southeastern guard Gary Harris and Steve Hanlon of the Times of Northwest Indiana reports that Branden Dawson may not return to Gary Lew Wallace.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

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