Tom Crean delivers high praise for incoming class

  • 09/24/2009 7:36 pm in

hullscreekwatford040909Given the situation inherited, the argument can be made that the 2009 recruiting haul made by Tom Crean and his staff was as impressive as any class in the country.

Before ever coaching a game at Indiana, Crean held on to a verbal commitment by Derek Elston given to the previous coaching staff and received commitments from five other players. Three of those players, Maurice Creek, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford, were ranked among the top 50 prospects nationally by

When it was all said and done, IU signed a consensus top ten class last November in the aftermath of major violations less than a year before.

So it should be no surprise that Crean would sing the praises of the young men that he believes will, collectively, be the cornerstone of the rebuilding process in Bloomington. And last night, Crean did just that in these comments released by IU Media Relations:

Jordan Hulls

“That kid never accepted that he wasn’t a college player, or that he might be a Division II player, and that he might be a low-major player, and that he might be a mid-major player. I don’t think he ever accepted that. Something’s telling me that kid always had his sights set pretty high.”

Derek Elston

“The other guy that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention nationally is Derek Elston. That guy is one of those people, if he hadn’t been injured out on that AAU circuit, there would have been a lot more things written about him. He’s good, he’s tough. And he wants to be really good.”

Bawa Muniru

“This is a unique guy. He’s had a lot of pitfalls in his life. A LOT of pitfalls. But that young man wants to be very, very successful. And I have very high optimism that he will be in time. He has a great attitude. If you’ve met him you know what I’m talking about. The first 10-15 minutes you’re like, `is this kid for real? Is anyone that happy? Does anybody have a smile that wide?'”

Bobby Capobianco

“Bill Lynch has been very, very noble not to try to get that kid to be one of his tight ends, one of his linemen. He has that body. He doesn’t have tremendous athleticism – that’s not there yet. But he’s got to have tremendous will. When he shows that will, shows that grit and that fight, and when he’s got it you’re going to see a guy that will really help us.”

Maurice Creek

“He had to go through some hoops academically because his first couple of years weren’t so strong, but he really rebounded the last couple of years of high school…right now, if you touch him with your index finger on his back he’ll probably fall over because his body is so sore from the workouts that Jeff Watkinson is putting him through because he didn’t have that this summer. Pretty soon that soreness will go away and he’ll continue to take off.”

Christian Watford

“One day he’s running with the guards, the next day he’s running with the swing guys, the next day we ran him with the big guys because we want him to be a complete player. One day he’s being challenged to work on his turnaround jump shot, his up and under, the next he’s being challenged to go through four people with dribbling the ball and crossovers. He’s got a chance to be a very, very good player because of that versatility.”

Filed to:

  • Julian

    I officially have a man crush on Christian Watford…jk but I really do like his versatility he'll be fun to watch

  • kyle111

    top 25 team all the way

  • BobbyDigital

    Maybe next year. Maybe. I love this class. Its almost easy to forget about 3 players in the top 50. I really can't wait to see them in action.

  • aerialM

    wow – I officially cannot wait for the start of the season. this year's class, plus the arrival of j. rivers & vjIII 2.0 – i'm pumped. i'm really excited about derek elston. he's got a chance to be special methinks. they'll be top 25 soon, but not yet I don't think. Next year, .500? anyway – this class is amazing, all things considered.

  • BFowler

    I'll have to admit, the “VJ III 2.0” comment is great, that descibes it perfectly. I am excited about seeing his improvement. I can't wait to see Creek and Watford. If they can just reduce the turnovers by 25% (like 5 a game) I would be thrilled. Just don't lose the games you are not supposed to lose, win half the toss-ups, and be competitive in the ones you are not supposed to win. HH at MM can not come fast enough.

  • BGleas

    To me this release says, “Watford and Creek are as good as advertised, Hulls and Elston are going to really surprise everyone sooner than later, and although we really like them, don't expect a ton from Capo and Bawa right away.”

    So, really not much different than many already thing, just really confirming it from CTC himself. Also, I still love all the interaction and information sharing CTC does with the fans!

  • Kelin Blab

    I will withhold my season predictions til Alex does that thread however….I think we will flirt with 'a' tournament this year, not sure which one, if I had to say….NIT, CIB, NCAA…..I can ASSURE you we will beat 2 ranked teams this year. A small predicition yet bold predicition would be (we beat Maryland, KY, and PU) all at home……

  • JerryCT

    I love it. You witheld your predictions ………….then………you gave bold ones. You just cannot resist being positive and excited about this team……………….me too

  • because it's Indiana

    Oh my…I would take just one of those. I hope to call you Kelin NostoBlabous.

  • DJ5

    Great comments. This sounds like a well rounded class. Bawa and Capo might not contribute, but they sound like great “glue” guys who will practice hard, play roles, and bring a positive attitude.

    On a side note, there is an article in the Star about Branden Dawson with IU, Purdue, etc, in his top ten. Dawson's a great do-it-all talent and I can't remember the last guy IU got from the region (Nover?) and I don't think they have ever landed a SYF guy. It could also help them in their efforts to land Marrero for '12.

  • jgongora86

    Do you guys think Bawa should Red shirt? His athletic ability is awesome but he's very raw on basketball IQ. I see him becoming a great player by his junior year, but do you think a added year would benefit him?

  • I love Watford because he looks like he is straight out of 1992.

  • GFDave

    I don't know why, but I almost never think about red shirting basketball players. Maybe because basketball is such a different situation than football. But I think in Bawa's case it might make a tremendous amount of sense. An extra year would no doubt be a huge benefit.

  • Julian

    kinda looks like Penny Hardaway

  • Julian

    red shirting him might not be that bad of an idea because if we put him in the new incoming class we wouldn't have to go after a big man…I do say i really want to see what hes like and how he plays im awfully eager

  • Kelin Blab

    I would love to see on the floor at some point….

    Lots of fire power, lots of miss matches depending who we play…….I think Dumes could be the spark we need off the bench if would accept that roll, like Rod Wilmont….bring him and hulls in with the 2nd unit……..

  • JerryCT

    I think you can rest easy that this lineup you will see early as Dumes and TP can get in foul trouble early.

    Dumes off the bench ? If it reduces his PT is not a good idea. He is a pesky disruptive defender and our team last year was awful defensively. To put in perspective the top 6 players in 2007-8 each had as many or more steals as our team leader did last year……………who was……….Kyle Taber.

    I think defense will get you PT this year which is why I think Capo might get on the floor more than people think. Consider PU,MSU, IL, UM or any team with an active scoring forward type. Are you going to match Watford ( our scorer that we protect defensively ), VJ3, Creek, Bawa against Hummel or Roe ? Don't think so . PU and IL also have legit centers forcing TP on the floor. This means a lineup that pits Elston and Capo against Hummel/Roe and perhaps Capo as a replacement for TP. We will sacrifice scoring for defense…………and we should.

    Not saying they will start but I am saying to protect TP and Watford these guys will get serious PT.

  • Tom Pritchard figure out how to make free throws yet?

  • iumarine

    Cannot wait for basketball to start. I will be enjoyable to watch this season where we at least have the talent to match up with most of the competition. I am not sure how the maturity of Rivers can offset the inexperience of our freshmen. The tournament in Puerto Rico should help this team to grow up a little faster. Go Hoosiers!

  • Tom Pritchard figure out how to make free throws yet?

  • iumarine

    Cannot wait for basketball to start. I will be enjoyable to watch this season where we at least have the talent to match up with most of the competition. I am not sure how the maturity of Rivers can offset the inexperience of our freshmen. The tournament in Puerto Rico should help this team to grow up a little faster. Go Hoosiers!