The Inside the Hall Mailbag: July 25

  • 07/25/2013 12:20 pm in

061713jfvThe Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall) and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

Kelin Mark writes: Is James Blackmon working his way to a McDonald’s All American?

There’s no doubt that Blackmon Jr. had a fantastic summer. He was one of the top scorers in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, made the All-Star team at the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp and averaged 20 points per game at the Nike Global Challenge.

He was probably already on the radar for many of the 37 members of the selection committee for the McDonald’s All-American Game coming into the summer, but his play this summer will only help further the case for his selection. Based on the commentary I’ve read on him this summer from a couple of people who are on the committee, which is made up of analysts, scouts, reporters and coaches, he’s clearly in the mix to make the team. — Alex Bozich

Toni Wilson Williams writes: All of last yrs group are now playing pro ball…where did Christian (Watford) sign??

Watford played for the Indiana Pacers and the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Summer League, but as of right now, hasn’t signed with a NBA team for next season. It’s possible he could get invited to a NBA training camp as an undrafted free agent, sign with a D-League team or go overseas. — Alex Bozich

John Cole writes: I was wondering where Derek Elston ended up.

Elston is finishing his Masters right now in Bloomington and will then head to Malta, where he’ll play for the Floriana Basketball Club. Malta is located in southern Europe in the Mediterranean Sea. He’s expected to report overseas sometime in September. — Alex Bozich

@jjclick17 writes: What’s level of interest in (Trevon) Bluiett? Seems like when a ’14 target commits elsewhere, IU looks at someone new. Are they waiting for him to trim his list before investing more into his recruitment?

Without going into too many specifics on Bluiett, I think it would be hard for any program to go all-in after a player who is publicly saying he’s considering over 20 schools the summer before his senior season. That’s not a knock on Bluiett’s handling of the process as he’s certainly entitled to go about it however he and his family choose to do so, but in recruiting, coaches are going to spend the most time on the kids they feel they have the best shot to sign. Bluiett was offered a scholarship as a freshman, he’s visited Indiana many times and has been recruited heavily. If Indiana was his top option, it would be known by now. — Alex Bozich

IU-DL writes: Maybe there’s nothing more to it than timing, but what do you make of our long recruiting dry run? We were the among the hottest programs in the country at one point, with our 2012 class followed up with the Vonleh/Williams duo last fall. We missed on a few guys that surprised me. Pinson mostly, to be specific. Vic and Oladipo go 2/4 in the draft, and I thought we would see a real uptick. Somehow, between UK, UNC, UL and Duke, we seem to be just another school in the mix. Goodluck is another example that I felt was in our sights, but now Pitino and Coach K are in, which will make a student reconsider everything. Why aren’t we getting the commitments we should be getting with the momentum CTC, Vic, Cody, Tradition, etc. bring IU?

I believe IU is in great shape for the 2014 recruiting class and beyond. Not many programs have a top 25 player committed at this point (that number is seven right now, if you use the ESPN rankings) and that’s what IU has in Blackmon Jr. Furthermore, the program is in the mix with several top players in the class that have all been well documented in stories here over the last couple of months.

Anytime you recruit the best players in the country, there is going to be competition from other top programs. That’s the position Indiana is in right now. Last year at this time, Indiana had four commitments, but neither Noah Vonleh or Troy Williams had visited or committed. Both players ended up signing with the Hoosiers. Once official visits begin happening in the fall and the signing period draws closer, you’ll start to see more action in terms of decisions and commitments. — Alex Bozich

@ufolover173 writes: when will (Dante) Exum have to decide on NBA v NCAA?

He doesn’t have to decide until next spring if he wants to take that long to make his decision. Exum could take a look at entering the 2014 NBA Draft, where many have already projected him as a top 10 pick and he’d have until the early entry deadline to declare. That deadline is typically in late April. Assuming he doesn’t play professionally in Australia and retains his eligibility with the NCAA, he could still sign with a college program next spring if he doesn’t enter the draft. — Alex Bozich

@JMDilling writes: How’s (Jeremy) Hollowell doing this summer?

The media had a chance to talk to Hollowell a couple of weeks ago and he detailed his offseason improvement: “I think one-on-one scoring, my shooting and my ball handling have come on a lot,” he said. “I’ve been in the gym quite a bit this summer, definitely more than last year, so I know what to expect. Last season was a blur, it went by pretty fast, so just day in and day out, I’ve been working hard just trying to improve every aspect of my game.”

Earlier in the summer, Tom Crean said Hollowell, along with Hanner Mosquera-Perea, was a player who had to develop a “desire to compete.” Specifically, Crean had a list of different things he would be looking for from both players.

“It becomes a situation, are you really going to try to dive in and win everything that you do? That’s what Jeremy and Hanner have to develop because I think the skills will come. Hanner is so much ahead of where he was a year ago. Jeremy loves the gym. But now it comes down to, I want to hear about what those guys are winning. What sprints are they winning? What competitions are they winning? What shooting drills are they winning? Because that’s what we need. We’ve won 56 games the last two years because we’ve had a highly competitive team that put winning first. We’ve lost so much of that. That stuff’s wide open.”

The latest update we received from the assistant coaches a couple of weeks ago suggested the Hollowell had the chance to step into more of a leadership role with Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey out of town for close to a month with USA Basketball. With a year under his belt and a bigger role likely for his sophomore year, Hollowell is a guy that should be more vocal and also a candidate to break out in Bloomington. — Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • MillaRed

    Very excited about Blackmon. Program changer.

    Bluiett has always turned me off. Nothing personal. Just never felt any love for the kid.

    Rooting for Hollowell. We are going to need him.

  • IrishHoosier

    I think the thing that has turned me off with Bluiett is his seeming lack of interest. He plays just up the road from IU, played with Yogi, and we have been recruiting him for years, yet he has never given any indication that he has any special interest in IU. Seems like a talented player who could help the team but he hasn’t said or done anything thus far that would endear him to Hoosier fans.

  • Htown811

    Really Really still wanting Goodluck. According to 24/ the 7 people who have predicted where he would go, 6 have picked IU. That’s comforting, but I still have this sick feeling in my stomach that he could be Duke bound especially if Okafor goes else where. If Okafor picks Duke I can definitely see Goodluck coming to IU. I Love the Blackmon commitment more and more all the time. He is going to be the stud shooting guard IU needs. If we could just add Goodluck I would be thrilled. Any other commits could just be icing on the cake after those two.
    Goodluck if you are reading this, trust me you are going to be shown way more appreciation at IU than you will anywhere else. IU Basketball players are celebrities in Indiana. Plus IU has the best warm-ups in the country, be honest how many people want to get their hands on a pair of candy stripe pants!!

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Because he is leaning heavily towards UM.

  • baukev55

    I think Hollowell can fit in nicely to the same role Christian Watford left wide open for him. Look for his 3pt shot to really come around with more playing time. Loved his defense last year, but we really need for him to get it going offensively if we want to compete in the B1G.

  • Jennifer G

    This young man has stars in his eyes whenever Coach K is mentioned. I’m wondering if his heart/dreams lie in playing for him.
    I would LOVE to see him don the Candy Stripes though!

  • Rie

    I wonder if we have any real chance of getting Myles Turner or Cliff Alexander. Those two are amazing and have offers from IU. They are both better at this point than Goodluck, but idk if we actually even have a chance. If we do, it will be a bigger shock than Noah.

  • N71

    What would be of particular appeal for UM versus the other Big Ten schools in Indiana plus OSU and MSU? Not saying there shouldn’t be one, just not sure what it is. I think I’d take UCLA and the relative youth of Alford and Schilling over Beilein who’s 60 and slowing down…although he did have a good year this past season.

  • N71

    Hollowell, in theory, will grow into a better player than Watford. He’s a better shooter than Watford at the same age, a little more athletic it would appear, and he seems to have a better feel for the game in evidence of his ability to block shots which is very dependent on court awareness. That’s not a knock on Watford, more praise for Hollowell. I still think he’s a Glen Rice in the making, a guy who can get you 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks a game.

  • Jeff

    Irish/Hoosier, really? As in football/basketball fan?

  • Dave

    are you SconsinHoosier on Youtube? If so I loved your IU fans around the nation react to Christian watford’s buzzer beater.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Lavall Jordan. He is supposedly responsible for developing Michigan guards Trey Burke and Darius Morris.He is a younger assistant who recruits well.

  • MillaRed

    Simply put because he isn’t digging the thought of being a Hoosier. This has seemingly been the case from Day 1. So my interest level is nada.

  • MillaRed

    IMO, Hollowell’s effort on the defensive end was a great sign of things to come. You can see how athletic he is and how badly he wanted to do well. It just isn’t always that easy on the offensive end. The confidence wasn’t there. No doubt he got stronger and as a result (see CWat) he will be STRONGER WITH THE BALL!

  • MillaRed

    I don’t want to sound sarcastic, but when are we going to stop questioning our recruiting? I mean, could it honestly be any better? Where ITH did Vonleh and Williams come from? Out of nowhere. I no longer concern myself with recruiting.

  • B-TOWNdawgs

    I remember Watford’s freshmen year and it didn’t go much better than Jeremy’s.


    Include me in that camp of thought Milla. I just never have gotten the feeling that he will end up at IU and to be honest it hasn’t really bothered me that, 1 that may very well be what happens and 2, that an instate kid that seems to be an above average player, and he more than likely, isn’t going to end up playing for IU. That feeling only intensified when Alford hired his old high school coach. Nothing against TB I just don’t think he will end up at IU.

  • Greg Kindred

    Huh…watford average 12 and 6 and made all freshmen team….almost freshmen of the year.

  • B-TOWNdawgs

    Yeah he also started every game/ played 30+ minutes for an awful team that had no other scoring options and played an extremely weak schedule compared to last year’s team.

  • MPmike B

    Bluiett is more of a small forward/wing than a guard. He plays the 3 in high school, so I don’t see how is going to be used as a guard in Big Ten play.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Averaging 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks per game would make him a unanimous All-American and the National Player of the Year in college basketball. I think Hollowell can turn in to a very good player but do you really think he can reach that level? Perhaps occasionally but I don’t see anyone on this team (or any other college team) averaging those numbers.

  • N71

    Sorry, I had “This is Indiana” playing in the background. Let’s go with 19 pts and 7 rbs.

  • CreanFaithful

    Beilein is a solid, classy coach and preaches a brand of basketball that suits Bluiett. Now please don’t make me ever say that again. Thanks!

  • HoosierTrav

    I agree. Troy Williams was once a LOCK for UNC and We were too crowded for Vonleh. I’m 99.99% sure Okafor is Duke bound. I think Goodluck, Exum round this class out.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    That is why I’m saying he wants to go to UM and hook up with Lavall. He wants to be developed more into the guard position so he can play in the NBA. 6’5 small fwd is fine in college but the NBA it won’t cut it. His only shot at becoming NBA ready is playing 1 or 2 position. Im not saying all this to say Lavall is all that, but this is just the perception some have.

  • Shawn Congo

    So nothing alike


    It’s the offseason those kind of things happen. A person can’t really be blamed for those kind of things under those kind of circumstances. lol


    Yep, I watch most of the clips & read all the articles Alex puts on here but I don’t obsess about the recruiting like I used to. Don’t get me wrong there are certain players that obviously have a better chance of turning out to be someone that will come in and help us right off the bat and I get excited about that, but until Crean falls on his face in that department I don’t see my stance on that part of IU bball changing.

  • MillaRed

    Let’s get together for a game this fall WH. Don’t let me forget.

  • IrishHoosier

    As in, I am an Irish Catholic who grew up in Indiana, and therefore I have always loved both Notre Dame and IU.

    What’s more, I have degrees from both IU (BS and BA) and Notre Dame (MA).

    Thus: IrishHoosier

  • dssnyder1

    i’m guessing that the heavy recruiting CTC is doing has been going on at IU and other universities since day one. we as fans just didn’t know about the details until the internet came along and provided us with so much info.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree that JHoll has the chance to be a better version of CWat if he works at it. I think CWat put a lot of time in the gym but I’m not sure he pushed himself in the weight room because he never developed physically like I thought he would. I think JHoll has a better basketball body and more athletic ability.

    Question is, will he put the time in the weight room and the gym to develop the type of offensive weapons that CWat had plus the extra strength and speed?

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    So will IU be wearing the chrome candy stripe helmets ? Im all for it ! Need something exciting .

  • SCHoosier

    Yea well..Pinson was a near 100% Indiana from the recruiting guru’s…so when whoever signs on the line..I’ll be fine..till then…it’s a jump ball for all these kids.