Marquis Teague looking hard at six schools

The notion it’s a foregone conclusion that Marquis Teague will play for Rick Pitino at Louisville is all but gone. Several weeks ago, I had numerous people tell me it was a lock for Teague to be a Cardinal. But as his high school season ended and the Pike sophomore didn’t make an announcement, the window of opportunity for other schools to get back in the mix opened. And Indiana is one of the schools that has done just that.

Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star talked to Teague about the six schools still in contention: IU, Louisville, Cincinnati, Purdue, Ohio State and Wake Forest. Here are Teague’s comments about the Indiana program:

“(Tom Crean) is a great coach. When I went to the games, he was almost recruiting me during the game. He would say, ‘You want to be part of this environment, don’t you?’ He’s great. I love him. I went to three or four games and went down another time to visit around the campus.”

If you don’t check out the entire piece by Neddenriep, there’s one thing that stands out: Teague only used the word “love” when talking about Coach Crean. And his comments about Louisville don’t suggest that he’s dead set on the Cardinals like some have suggested. If you’re unfamiliar with Teague’s game, you can watch this video I shot back in January when Pike played Jordan Hulls and Bloomington South.

(Thanks for ITH reader Kelin for the tip.)

Photo credit: Indianapolis Star

Watford looking to build chemistry

After watching him for a couple of hours yesterday, it’s not hard to see why Christian Watford is considered the prized recruit of Indiana’s 2009 class. He’s a legitimate 6-8, can play inside or outside and is extremely athletic. As is the case with most freshmen, he’ll need to put in work in the weight room over the summer, but he’s got a chance to be a very good player for the Hoosiers.

I caught up with Watford before yesterday’s practice for the Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic and here are some excerpts from that conversation:

On what he’s looking to get out of the experience of playing with Jordan Hulls and Maurice Creek this weekend:

“I’m looking forward to building a little chemistry together and keep it going on to Indiana. Just having fun with each other, that’s the main thing.”

On what ultimately led him to choosing Indiana:

“I knew Bennie Seltzer. He’s from Birmingham. When they were at Marquette, it was a little too far for me to go, but they moved closer to home. It was easier for me to get adapted to Indiana than it was Marquette. They just stayed on me hard the whole time. Colleges would sometimes lag off of me and come back on, but they stayed consistent the whole time.”

On what he got out of the recruiting process:

“I liked it. I tried to enjoy it. It only happens once in your life. Everybody doesn’t get a chance to go through it. I thought it was fun to get a chance to go through it.”

Creek: ‘We’re going to make it up next year’

When the ball tips in Saturday’s Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic, Indiana fans will get a glimpse of the future. Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Maurice Creek will team together for the first time.

“We’re going to have fun out there. That’s what it’s all about,” Creek told Inside the Hall. “Both guys are going to bring leadership and energy and help the team out. They’re going to play with all of their heart.”

Creek’s experience at Hargrave, a military prepatory academy in Chatham, Virginia, has prepared the 6-5 guard for the transition he’ll undergo this summer in Bloomington.

“Time management and go hard at everything you do,” Creek highlighted as two of the many important things he’s learned during his time at Hargrave. “As far as basketball goes, just play hard and the game will come to you.”

Creek admitted it was tough watching Indiana struggle this season, but his outlook for the Hoosiers next season is all positive and his expectations are high.

“It was a great experience for them. They were all coming in. They didn’t know each other,” Creek said. “But we’re going to make it up next year. We’re all ready to go. All of us are going to be new and everybody thinks its going to be the same deal as last year. But we’re just trying to prove them wrong and just make it a better year.”

Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford

Three of the six Indiana signees – Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford – practiced together for the first time this afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic. I’ll have more on the practice, including quotes from all three players, later this evening and tomorrow. For now, here’s a picture I took of the three of them before the workout:

Photo: New basketball practice facility coming along

I was down at IU for the night Saturday, and just remembered I snapped this photo of the basketball practice facility:

Not done by any means, but it’s rounding into shape.

See IU basketball players stand outside an IU football game

How well do you know the IU Hoosiers? How likely are you to go to an Indiana football game this year? Exactly the IU athletic department’s point: Why not kill both birds with the same stone? Hence the following event. Get hyped!

Indiana University men’s basketball coach Tom Crean has announced his program will hold a Fan Appreciation Tailgate on Saturday April 18, at 11:30 a.m. in the Mellencamp Pavilion. The event, which is free, will be held prior to the start of the annual spring football game which begins at 2 p.m. next door at Memorial Stadium.

“I thought this would be a great way for our players and coaches to interact with our great fans in a very informal and fun setting,” said Crean. “Our fans are the best in the country and we wanted the opportunity to thank them personally and to tie it in with the spring football game is another added bonus.”

The first 90 minutes of the tailgate will include interaction with the players and coaches and games for the kids. At 1 p.m., Coach Crean and his staff will publicly announce their 2008-09 team awards recognizing several of the players at that time.

If you notice, the above link contains a photo of Tijan Jobe scoring a basket. So what they say is true. Legends do exist.

Final Rosters announced for Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic

Here are the final rosters for the 2009 Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic. Maurice Creek, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford will play together on the Gold team. Inside the Hall will have coverage throughout the weekend beginning late on Thursday.

Gold Team

Maurice Creek, Indiana, 6’5″, 200, Guard
Tyler Griffey, Illinois, 6’8″, 230, Forward
Jon Hood, Kentucky, 6’7″, 190, Guard
Jordan Hulls, Indiana, 6’0″, 170, Guard
Brendan Lane, UCLA, 6’9″, 205, Forward
Michael Snaer, Florida State, 6’4″, Guard
Daniel Orton, Kentucky, 6’10”, 260, Center
Christian Watford, Indiana, 6’8″, 215, Forward
Maalik Wayns, Villanova, 6’1″, 190, Guard
Rodney Williams, Minnesota, 6’6″, Forward
Kyryl Natyazhko, Undecided, 6’11”, Center

Coaches: Vince Walden, IMG Academy – Florida; Lewis Howard, Largo H.S. – Maryland

Black Team

Nolan Dennis, Memphis, 6’5″, 180, Guard
Rakeem Buckles, Louisvile, 6’8″, 203, Forward
Eric Bledsoe, Undecided, 6’0″, 160, Guard
Lakeem Jackson, South Carolina, 6’5″, 220, Forward
Elijah Johnson, Kansas, 6’2″, 183, Guard
Noel Johnson, USC, 6’7″, 180, Forward
Mike Marra, Louisville, 6’4″, 200, Guard
Eric Murphy, Florida, 6’10”, 220, Forward
Raymond Penn, Oklahoma State, 5’9″, 150, Guard
Peyton Siva, Louisville, 6’0″, 180, Guard
Stephan Van Treese, Louisville, 6’9″, 225, Forward
DaShonte Riley, Syracuse, 6’11”, Center

Coaches: David Gaines, Christ School- North Carolina; Andre Flynn, Fayette County H.S. – Georgia

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