adidas Nations: Quick chat with new IU commit Peter Jurkin

  • 08/09/2010 11:21 pm in

I only caught part of the Africa-Latin American third-place bout tonight at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion. But one thing that stuck out to me about Jurkin beyond his obvious size? He was impressively fast, and smooth, running down the court as his team pushed the pace in the fourth quarter.

I know it has little wow factor, but for a kid that’s yet to fill out his near 7-foot frame and still has two years left of high school, I think it says something that he runs the floor well instead of being awkward or out of sorts.

Below is my brief chat with Jurkin, immediately after he committed on-air to IU and before he was whisked away to other media members.

So you just committed to IU, and have two years left of high school. What factored into your decision to commit early?

I [made the decision] early because I wanted to be focused on school and basketball — try to not think about what college [I’m] going to.

What was it about IU that made you want to commit?

I like the coach. I like the program. I believe when I get there he’s going to make me better and try and make me go to the next level.

What are you looking to work on in the next two years, and maybe what has the coaching staff told you they want you to work on? Is it adding some size to your frame?

I’ve been trying to [add size] … But I’ve had too many games, too many practices [to focus on it]. But this year I’m going to try and be in the weight program and try and [get] big. [I’ll also work on] my jump shot, my dribble, handles and everything.

Photo credit: Jack Arent/adidas

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  • Anonymous

    It’s pretty sick how excited I get when I think of the possibilities. Along with everyone else, I am pumped about the possible (additional) commitments of Zeller, Young, Yogi, and Hanner (or equivalents or more). These recruits have to think the same way as well. They all play together enough that they know the potential that they could bring to a college if they all went to the same one. Another beautiful part is that they are from or play in Indiana. The athleticism and skills would be insane and what better place to showcase it than for a top 5 all time college basketball program (if not #1). Again this year will say a lot about Crean’s coaching ability, but you can obviously tell from the current players that dedication and work ethic is there. And when you add the skill that all these players have – coaching becomes much easier.

    OK – there is a lot of speculation surrounding all of this, but I can’t help myself. The idea of this kind of talent being displayed in Assembly Hall week in and week out gives me goosebumps. The explosion of the crowd after a 10 point run or a slam dunk or a huge 3 pointer will always be in my mind.

    LET THE DOMINOES FALL! Great pick up Crean!!

  • Mike Jones

    I truly believe IU can land HP, JHollowell, Buss, and Yogi for 2012. The key is getting HP first then CZ and BJ Young. In 2012 we will have Hulls, VO, Watford, Elston, CZ, BJ for sure (if CZ and BJ commit). I see Creek going pro, Capo and Roth leaving, We could then sign one more player for 2012 (like the 89 recruiting class) and then have 3 or 4 for 2013.

    If Creek has a great year this year he will go Pro. The injury will really affect his mindset about getting out and I think he could have been a 1st rounder this year. I mean Jordan Crawford and Eric Bledsoe aren’t as good as Creek.

  • millzy32

    I think he’s trying to say that Bawa will be good in 3 years. Maybe, maybe not but unfortunately we needed someone that can possibly play now thus the signing of Guy. Bawa’s departure was unfortunate but probably necessary for where the program is at. I hope Bawa is a good player somewhere. I just don’t think he was going to be able to get the on court time to develop at IU. We need to win games more than we need to develop talent right now or else Crean might be looking for a job in 3 years so he had to do what he had to do.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, I get it. And yes, if Bawa turns into some kind of players 3 years from now, I will have to eat my words/reaction. I do wish Bawa well, just have my doubts as to what he’ll ultimately become. From what we saw of him, especially the inability to catch a ball, I thought he was the second coming of Tijan.

  • Anonymous

    How nice would it be for Crean to get some of these commitments made and out of the way? Then only have to worry about ’13 and beyond classes?

  • Kelin Jurkin

    This was my first time seeing Zeller against high level competition. I think he could come in and have an immediate impact on both ends of the court. He goes after the ball, he plays tougher than I thought, and just fits in where needed.

  • Kelin Jurkin

    I hope now….

    + PJ does minimal AAU and just plays in the major tourneys
    + Hits the weights and come in at about 225
    + Perea commit this week
    + He continues to work on his handle and jumpshot

    One skill he has that he has that not alot of big men have….is “good” timing and ‘smart’ timing. Often times guys who block shots are foul prone but he seems to wait til it is released and then go gets it and he does this even against big guys too. I just love how he covers ground from end to end and in the half court.

  • I know people hate when we name names of potential transfers so I’ll try and beat around the bush without naming names, but if we have a chance to add two wings and Yogi to the ’12 class, along with Young in ’11, then I’d have to think one of the ’10 wings would be a candidate to transfer. The in-coming guys, along with the senior wings would just be too talented IMO.

    I also don’t think we’ll end up with 5 in ’12. I think between ’11 and ’12 you’re looking at 7 new players, which does mean we need some transfers though.

  • I think that would be absolutely huge for the program.

  • Anonymous

    A Perea commitment might crash ITH

  • Plane1972

    I just can’t see Roth leaving after all he has been through. There’s just no way in my mind he could stomach sitting out another year. I understand he can get the medical redshirt after his senior year, but he will have a place on the roster as a deep-threat specialist regardless of what concerns we may have with his athletic ability. I think Roth stays.

    Capo seems very satisfied with his role at IU. He’s obviously stepping into a leadership position with his attitude and work ethic. He doesn’t seem to have unrealistic expectations about his future in basketball. He is a great piece of this team and I think he stays, too.

    I do like that you are keeping Buss in the recruitment convo. Just really pumped about what CTC is doing.

  • GFDave

    The thing about AAU ball is that it is at least organized and I think PJ can use all the organized ball he can get between now and 2012.

    I really wonder about the quality of his HS coaching. I hope it is good because the kid has two years left and can make major strides if his HS coach is good, especially so with big men.

    I agree completely about the weight room. Much work to be done there.

    Remember Hakeem Olajuwon? He made it to Hall of Fame partially (he had other stuff) with two complimentary moves: a fade away face-up jumper that he would shoot if the defender stayed back and a killer drop step spin to the baseline if the defender played him tight. I’m dreaming here, but it would be way cool if PJ developed something similar in his game. Its only 2 moves!

  • stonaroni

    This may be true about transfers, but let’s give VO and WS their just due before we think transfers. I think it would make more sense to talk about Creek and Watford NBA bound by the end of their junior season.

    I do agree with you that there will be too much talent at the wing. IMO, AE is an upgrade over WS and VO. AE has a complete floor game. From there though 2012 might bring upgrages with Harris and Hollowell on the wing. The good thing is, the level of talent just gets stronger as CTC continues to recruit.

    I think Hoosier fans will be pleasantly suprised at what AE brings to the table. Last summer in a tournament game in Vegas he made 6 3’s on a big stage infront of the top coaches in the nation. Last month he made 6 3’s again infront of the same coaches. He was overlooked in the top 150 due to an injury. He has a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove, but he is doing it with class. There is also a pressure that comes with that which is to perform at a high level. He did that the whole month of July and made a statement in Vegas.

    If AE brings an ounce of that to IU he will be a huge piece to the puzzle. he already is and hasn’t been on campus as a student yet, he is pushing CZ, Yogi, and Perea.

  • bluegrassHoosier

    I love the landing of PJ. It illustrates a long term plan that CTC and his staff have implemented. Isn’t it amazing how landing one big recruit completely changes the tone around here?

    Look back when Moses Abraham chose G’town? And even prior? The tone was “CTC is in over his head. He can’t recruit, we’re tired of being in the hunt but never landing any real talent”

    Now as we begin the see the long term vision, instead of a quick fix, come into focus, our view is the polar opposite.

    We have gone from thinking we will never land enough talent to be viable in the Big Ten, to saying, we are going to be so loaded that 1/2 of our team needs to tranfer because we are just too deep of a team.

    All I can say is, way to go CTC and staff. I have been accussed of being a blind follower, but I believe in his hardwork and integrity. And now we see he keeps bringing in talent that mirrors those characteristics. What’s not to like?

    Of course, as the talent level rises, the pressure will mount to win and win big. As confident as I have remained on CTC and his recruiting techniques and his handling of the pressure, I am on the fence with him as a “x” and “o” coach. I haven’t seen him have enough talent to really gauge how we will handle it.

    Let’s hope he’s as good in that area as I feel he has been in rebuilding a program from ruins.

  • stonaroni

    Very good point. He has the tools, now he just needs to refine them. One thing I wanted to point out is look at the progress Cody Zeller has made in a year. He went from a highly recruited prospect with a big up side to a necessity for any program in America. very few kids can do what he can at 6″11″. We might see PJ really develop into a stronger cenetr the next 2 years and add some power on the blocks to go with his soft touch from the free throw line.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know why Jurkin isn’t listed in the top 100 by Rivals? It’s weird that he’s ranked so highly in ESPN but not even on the list on Rivals…

  • bluegrassHoosier

    I don’t think rivals and scouts have updated since the recent evaluation period. I am sure that will change soon.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    Good catch and nice summary!

  • Jfari001

    I just want to know if Jurkin brings the Jimmy Doogan “Shake-N-Bake” from the winnabe

  • Plane1972

    Loved this post, bluegrass. You and I have similar views on Crean’s abilities as a recruiter and tactician. They are very different skill sets and most coaches are better at one than the other, with a select few who are very talented at both. However, the past two teams CTC has had left little room for error on the tactical side. I questioned a few decisions myself this year, but I didn’t get as exercised about them as maybe I would if the stakes had been higher.

    Talented rosters have a way of making geniuses out of mere mortals when it comes to coaching. I think Crean is a hard-working guy and seems to be the type that is constantly seeking learning opportunities as a coach. I think the talents he showed at Marquette will be seen more and more, and he will continue to get better because he doesn’t strike me as the guy who rests on his laurels.

  • Anonymous

    You can give 13 scholarships, and a red-shirt counts as a scholarship. So if Mo Creek goes to the NBA after his junior year, you would have 4 seniors, 2 juniors, 3 sophomores, and up to 4 freshmen for 2012 class, with no transfers or anything else. If Christian joins Mo in going to the NBA, then there would be room for 5. Watford is a complete player, at 6’9 with length, hops, 3-point range, good 2-point shots, cunning around the basket moves, great FT accuracy, good rebounder, can run the floor and finish, the full NBA package. After 3 full years at IU I think that his talents will be far more than Hayward’s were after 2 at Butler.

  • Anonymous

    You got my meaning. None of us knows how Bawa will develop. But my opinion is that he had all of the athletic abilities and basketball abilities, including catching the ball and shooting FT at a high %, to be a major college player if he had been given 5 years time, 4 years plus one-year red-shirt. Yes, that is the definition of a project. But, we knew that when we recruited him and he was OUR project. NO, there is no one I would give up for Bawa in 2011: Zeller, Young and Etherington; or in 2012: Jurkin, Perea, Yogi, and X (the big list: Patterson, Hollowell, Harris, DSR, Hammons, Marrero, Alex Murphy, Tarczewski, etc.).

  • Anonymous

    I have not seen him play for in person or in a game situation for some time now and I had in the past played the same card of which you speak and had, generally speaking, not been that sold on him but with what I have seen in clips and what I have read from people that I think know what they are talking about, as of late, I feel like I need to readjust my thinking on him also. Contrary to what my wife thinks I don’t care to admit it when I think I was wrong about something and / or say that I see things differently at a later date. At the same time though I do like it when it turns out that I was right about something big as in when I met Crean in Indy right after we hired Denim shirt and I told him he was the one I wanted as our new coach and that I didn’t think you know who would work out and when that time came he should be offered the HC job and that he had better take it.

    Now I feel like CZ committing to IU serves a dual purpose in that it still sends the message that we can sign local top talent when it is there AND his signing with us will almost assuredly make us better as a team over all. Last night’s game might have been what put me solidly in the ” we gotta get this one signed ” camp. What he may lack in one aspect of his game, if any, he more than makes up for with his overall game and his bball IQ. Like you said he just seems to be in the right place at the right time. This can happen to any player simply by chance ever so often but when it happens as often as it does with CZ I think you can attribute it to more than mere luck.

    If getting a commit from PJ doesn’t put the ” Crean can’t identify talent early or sign the really good talent ” to rest then the upcoming commits that I feel like are soon to come will. With what we have seen from the kids he has already recruited, in the classroom as well as on and off the court, and with what everybody feels like is coming recruit wise I feel like I can safely say we are on our way back. That’s right pUKe we are eyeballing you and your slimy coach, if he is still there anyway.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    I agree with everything you said except the hops. His most thunderous dunk of the year was a running dunk down the lane and he still wasn’t soaring above the rim by no means. Everything else he has but it’s that lack of pure athletic ability that worries me about his NBA chances.

  • Great post Mike! I can honestly say after watching Zeller play last night for just a few minutes, I’m confident he can come into a fairly experience ’10-’11 team and not only start from day 1, but be have a real impact on the season.

    Of course there are outside factors to that, like how good is Elston by then, but I’m confident that Zeller would make an immediate impact at IU.

  • Don’t get me wrong, I like VO, haven’t seen much of Sheehey, but think both are going to contribute this season. I’m not trying to discount them, just saying, with Ethrington and who we’re looking to add at the wing and combo spots in the next two classes, I think the wing is where you could potentially see some movement as far as transfers.

  • Anonymous

    Wrong about Hayward. I’d bet you any amount of money that Watford won’t be a first round NBA pick after his junior year.

  • DanTheMan

    First, welcome to the IU family Peter!!!!! Facebook, i appreciate your enthusiasm, but we need more than just CZ…Hanner Perea would be a blessing, but we REALLY need a true PG to be more complete. Here’s to more good news in the near future!!

  • DanTheMan

    Are you sure about Austin playing PF? I read last night that he’s the #1 ranked center in the 2012 class and he and Perea are also close…i’ve not seen any of this from any source besides the live blog here during the CBS broadcast last night. Someone please set me straight if this is inaccurate.

  • UncleKerfuffle


    You post reminds me of something I heard Quinn Buckner talk about once. According to him, Knight’s early IU teams were so good that they covered up a lot of his errors. If fact, Buckner implied that after the team broke huddle he and a couple of the other players would change the play some times. FWIW.

  • UncleKerfuffle


    I wouldn’t bet the ranch on Capo leaving before his senior year, with or without a scholarship. I get the impression that he has the tenacity of a bull dog when he wants something. I think he really wants to be part of this team. JMHO.

  • Scott

    I’m pretty sure that Jurkin was actually ranked on Rivals early this summer. After the Adidas May Classic he was still kind of a mystery to me even though his play was impressive. I had checked the Top 100 for the class and he was on there. It was somewhere in the 30’s too, which is where he should be once they adjust the rankings in the near future. Honestly I could have been drinking but maybe someone else remembers seeing this to help my sanity.

  • HoosierFromCT

    Off topic here but I’m pumped to have V.O. just a little more after watching this:

    it’s going to be nice FINALLY having a guy who can throw it down like that

  • Kelin Jurkin

    No matter how many times I watch this kid play, it is never enough, his enthusiasm makes me want to lace them up again…..

  • Indiana Red

    Something in this video has me a little worried about VO’s fundamentals. Watching this, it was clear to me that he needs to focus much more on keeping his legs straight during his two-handed toe-touch. Hopefully CTC can iron out this cheerleading wrinkle.

    Basketball? Oh yeah, he’s really good at that.

  • JerryCT

    I spot a new name ………….. its becoming a trend ………… maybe an obsession ……I love it

  • JerryCT

    Do you have examples of the X’s and O’s issues ? I do.

    Against Minn we played a zone that had TP out front w Hulls on the baseline. Sure enough Minn saw this and Sampson3 began to salivate. Moore then came in and took up the same position in the zone.

    It did not hurt us for various reason but MAN, DID THAT FREAK ME OUT !

  • Kelin Jurkin

    That is too funny….nice one

  • Nwfhoosier

    i cant say my sources but this person runs a popular IU site.

    1. a lot of baylor’s site guys believe hanner will commit there sooner rather than later. cant comment on this.

    2. this PF from the 2012 class that committed will play the 5 in college easily, and hanner plays the 4. also, hanner is very good friends with this guy as well (isaiah austin).

    3. scott drew is rumored to be the reason hanner switched schools, as he was the coach at valpo and has many ties in indiana.

    trust me here, at this point baylor is leading.

  • Nwfhoosier

    i replied to stonaroni. thats all i can say on that front… and they dont play the same position

  • Nwfhoosier

    honestly i would be thrilled if he committed, but i just dont think he will. hope i’m wrong

  • bluegrassHoosier

    Yaeh, that’s a nice video and all. But, can he jump? 🙂

  • kristheboss

    get banged on at 1:17 goddamn

  • kristheboss

    And I know its a mixtape so it’s his highlights and all, but a kid as good as VO furthers my skepticism into the likes of Rivals & Scout because him being a 3 star is a joke

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    One serious question . . . I’ve watched like twenty VO videos and can’t find anything that really shows if he can shoot or not. I’ve heard he has a nice jumper but can anyone direct me to a link where he’s actually putting up some jumpers?


  • Anonymous

    He’s obviously very athletic but how is his shooting and handling? If Rivals and Scout went by dunking ability, I think he’d be a 5 star.

  • Diesel

    Alex – obviously we are all excited about the signing of PJ and we feel it should be creating buzz for our other recruits, but is it? Is this something you could question the other recruits about, or even check in with Austin Etherington and get his feel for PJ and what the buzz is out there on IU? Thanks again for an awesome community here at ITH.

  • Kelin Jurkin

    The only youtube video I have ever seen highlighting a guys shooting was actually matt roth. I heard Roth today say that VO and Will can get to the basket and shoot it too…we will see

  • Anonymous

    I know this is still a ways away, but does any one know if Jurkin is going to attend Hoosier Hysteria? Perea? Zeller? When will these three and other recruits start deciding on where to attend?

  • Azur Allen

    that’s my mix! thanks for posting it