Crean watches pair of 2014 prospects advance in state tournament

  • 03/19/2014 9:04 am in

Less than a week removed from a disappointing end to the 2013-2014 season, Indiana coach Tom Crean is hitting the recruiting trail hard.

On Tuesday, Crean pulled double duty and watched two highly contested state playoff games in different states.

His first stop was Detroit where he watched class of 2014 forward Yante Maten and Bloomfield Hills move past Warren Mott, 74-68, in the Michigan Class A quarterfinals on the University of Detroit campus.

Maten, a 6-foot-8 forward, scored 31 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the win. The victory means Bloomfield Hills will play in the Class A semifinals on Friday at the Breslin Center against Detroit U-D Jesuit.

It’s the second time Indiana scouted Maten this week as associate head coach Tim Buckley watched him on Monday.

Maten, ranked the No. 290 prospect nationally in the 247Composite, has also drawn attention this spring from Michigan State.

After leaving Detroit, Crean boarded a plane and moved on to the Chicago suburb of Joliet for a look at Morgan Park forward Josh Cunningham.

Cunningham, who visited Indiana for the Ohio State game on Mar. 2, finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds as the Mustangs beat Bogan, 68-67 in the Class 3A Joliet Central supersectional.

The win advances Morgan Park to a state semifinal on Friday against Orr at Carver Arena in Peoria.

Rated No. 107 by the 247Composite, Cunningham received a scholarship offer from Indiana in early February and may be the most likely of IU’s current 2014 targets to land in Bloomington.

He’s also considering offers from Bradley, Creighton and DePaul, among others.ย The spring signing period begins on Apr. 16 and concludes on May 21.

Recent video of both Maten and Cunningham is available below.

(Photo credit:ย Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times Media)

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  • Ole Man

    If he did and no one left, it would be an over sign.

  • He has to sign another guy. We need at least one more big. If Jukin isn’t ever going to contribute we should use his scholly to get someone that will.

  • Snookafly

    Not too many 7’4″ centers with that kind of touch.

  • CreamCrimson

    At this point I’ll take something that resembles Kirk Haston’s hook shot, let alone Kareem’s. Kareem was on another level. Haston’s shot is actually achievable for “mere mortals” who have to rely on basic fundamentals instead of out-of-this-world talent.

    There are no Kareems, Zellers, Vonlehs out there for us right now. We should have been handing the post over to Lyles or even Fischer for next year.

    Not going to dance around it… Luke Fischer flat out screwed us. He could have been the guy for the next few years and made the C discussion for next year somewhat null and void. Not to rehash it, but whatever his reasoning was: homesick (sack up man you’re in college now, home is in the rearview mirror), minutes (patience, you would have gotten yours), or uptempo strategy (it’s called transition, where are you going to go where they don’t want to push the transition tempo?). He should have at least played out the year, took a deep breath, and then considered his status.

    To go from Vonleh / Fischer / ?Lyles? to nothing is a scary proposition.

  • kaponya44

    Why are we even talking transfers here ? Thought the rule was the rule….I was in a good “who would stay /go ” conversation on another article and read where we cant do it on ITH…Thank Calbert for reminding me first ๐Ÿ˜€

  • kaponya44

    Based off work ethic I would take 12 of him if it were possible ..Kid flat out works hard and has a GREAT attitude ! Love DD Jr..

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    Excellent point and I’ve been thinking the same thing. Don’t think for a second that a potential agent isn’t making him aware of the possible NBA rule change….

  • kaponya44

    Looks like there is even an outside chance of him developing into a 3 point shooter like Wat in a 4 year situation..Seniors in high school frequently grow their final inch or two after they graduate so he could end up BEING 6-8 or 6-9 with the same abilities.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Or where they’ll be doing it.

  • Dee McDonald

    I agree with you kaponya, I’ll take kids like him all day long. Love that about him. As far as the comparisons, he’s probably a mesh of both davis and williams. I see he’s a good leaper (not as good as williams, but probably more bouncy than davis), definitely doesn’t have the body of davis, but more lean and mean like willliams. It’s curious, I just wonder how we can do well with these under-sized big men. I don’t doubt we’ll be fine, I mean, look at Lazar Hayward in one of Crean’s last Marquette team. He was 6’7″ on a good day in heels and played the 5 very effectively. He could also shoot the lights out and was way thicker than anybody we have, so it’s possible. I just hope he puts it together and we have something to cheer about next Fall instead of stew about all season.

  • kaponya44

    Come on be nice to Peter ! Other than you being “a meany” ๐Ÿ˜‰ it is a nice post and good point about scholly releases since they are SURE to happen someplace big..Forgive me for calling you a meany ..You post a lot of good stuff on ITH and I only said it in jest! Lol

  • CreanFaithful

    Well, Cuban thinks the D-League is better than college for developing players. Also, my point was, if a GM thinks a top 10, possibly top 5 draft pick (THIS YEAR) is going to end up in the D-League, he must agree with Cuban that they are better of developing there than in college…

  • kaponya44

    Best baby hook at IU in the last 20 years was Kirk Haston …He flat out rocked that behind to sleep and they were always scared of him stepping out for a 3 which made guarding him nightmare central for 40 minutes …Good Lord to “unearth” another Kirk would be amazing!!! To have a player who thrives on that shot would be huge for our post “o” .Especially if he can make FT’s in college.Virtually “every” big who plays good post defense falls under the illusion they can block them even when the block is not there..Therein lies the magic of baby hooks ..Speaking of baby hooks and Magic – Magic shot it it the best of all especially while running ..Kareem had the true “sky hook” …Kareem’s was out there on another planet when it went up….

  • kaponya44

    You know the safest way to sort things like this out is SOS – strength of schedule ! Better gauge of where they are than who wants /needs them ..There is often validity in who is recruiting you as well so I am in no way discounting that factor – in recognition of it….Just saying .

  • CreamCrimson

    Cunningham & Lee… boom. Maybe part ways with 1 or 2 “loose ends” on the roster and hopefully the shooting becomes a strong point instead of a debilitating offense-stalling burden.

  • kaponya44

    Sorry I missed this reply ..EXACTLY!!! – once in a lifetime literally !!!

  • kaponya44

    OMG ! I should have read down further before I posted ..My apologies guys .Between the two replies it hit right at what I was thinking ..

  • Guest

    I am with you on the feelings on Luke too..Now that the year is over and I am able to focus further northwest than I would like ,if Luke by any chance were to ever go to this page to check out the fallout he left behind I would want him to read that while I wish him well I am not grateful he put IU in the position it is in with the roster..50% blame to Luke – 50% blame to CTC I am pretty mad at both right now .Lol

  • HoosierGrampy

    Take a minute to consider all the “touches” Zeller got per game last year and compare that number with what Vonleh got per game this year. I don’t care about all the explanations (excuses) given for the significant difference: not assertive enough; doesn’t flash to the paint with authority; out of position to get a pass; not able to grasp the dribble-drive, etc. Every one of these can be taught or overcome by a coach/mentor. Point is, in game after game, the only consistent touches Noah got were off the glass via rebounds. Same for HMP. My take is that Fisher came along and was bright enough to begin suspecting that the way Zeller was involved may have been an anomaly. It took him less than 1/2 a season to project that he’d be “involved” the same way–so adios, amigo, I’m going somewhere that will use my skills as big. He didn’t “screw” IU–I think it could be argued that he got screwed by IU, but I don’t know what he was told while being recruited.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Neither was UK’s Anthony Davis, but a year’s experience made a big difference in his game.

  • Snookafly

    He’s well north of three bills. I doubt Crean would play him with his stamina the way it has to be at that weight.

  • CreamCrimson

    Are we comparing Anthony Davis and Noah Vonleh’s Freshman years and NBA value? Are we sure we want to do that?

    Pretty sure everyone on this board would agree that Davis had an immeasurably larger impact on his team than Vonleh. Don’t get me wrong I really like and respect Noah, but Davis was an absolute BEAST at UK while Vonleh was just a pretty respectable player just getting out of the starting gate of his career.

    Davis put together a solid NBA showing for himself, but that was on the back of an incredible Freshman year.

    Noah was on an underachieving IU squad and seemed to disappear for long stretches and may have to spend time in the D-League.

    Not sure if the Davis > Vonleh comparison is really valid. I don’t see Vonleh having any type of NBA impact for at least 3-4 years and certainly not the impact Davis had. Scouts are calling for Vonleh in the NBDL, and nobody was saying that for Davis. Not sure there is a GM in the NBA that would take Vonleh over Davis if they both were in the same draft class.

  • HoosierGrampy

    The only thing DD needs to become another fan favorite is time on the court. He has one asset that cannot be taught: HEART.

  • Alford Bailey

    I thought about Anya last night. I thought CTC really pulled one off by landing NV instead. Just wonder if NV leaves would IU have been better off in the long run to landed Anya and had him for 2-3 years???

  • Alford Bailey


  • Alford Bailey

    D league? Hadn’t heard that. That gives me a sliver of hope he stays.

  • SCHoosier

    He barely fits in his uniform and/or the Gym…must eat like a horse..never saw him first down the floor…ever. a good miss for IU IMO

  • SCHoosier

    The Maten kid looks like Watford with some hop. Problem with these highlites is that they just show a big guy dominating smaller ones under the bucket…with dunks and layups. While I appreciate seeing these, I will no longer base an opinion on recruiting videos . Gotta know how the guy moves..defends..passes and handles. The bigs just catch a pass on put it in. That said..I like Clark and Maten of the guys I’ve seen..understand that Clark is MSU’s to lose..but I like Maten over Cunningham for what it’s worth (probably no much)

  • Alford Bailey

    Cunningham looks more like our type of player. An athletic wing who shoots the three. Dunno about Maten. I’d take Marvin Clark over them both right now.

  • Alford Bailey


  • Alford Bailey


  • Alford Bailey

    Never understood the Jurkin thing. Never thought he’d be a 20 and 10 guy but thought he’d play.Should at least be good for 5 fouls and a rebound or two. Watched him warmup a few times, he has a decent shot. Never heard why he wears the air splint.

  • SeeingRed

    I guess I just don’t see “the tools.” JH lacks explosiveness, plays too far below the rim, doesn’t attack the basket with any sort of grit or enthusiasm, can’t finish through contact. The fact that his shot has been way off is concerning, but less so to me than the other stuff. Maybe this is just a case (one of many) where perceived high school athleticism was wrong, and his abilities simply do not translate to this level.

    I would love to just see him show some joy on the court, really go for it and let the chips fall where they may. It often seems like he would rather be getting a root canal than playing ball.

  • marcusgresham

    He was certainly no Kareem, but George Zidek had a damn good hook shot.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Correction on the “sky” hook noted–thanks!

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I did too…. He was the biggest individual disappointment to me this year

  • HoosierGrampy

    Actually LF attended CTC camps at Marquette as a 5th/6th grader, and the contact never waned (according to ITH posts July 30, 2012). Point I was making was that neither Zeller, Vonleh or Fisher were never going to be successful as “back to the basket” playing bigs. Last year, CTC’s system got Zeller involved in ways that Vonleh/Fisher never were able to fully experience this year. I cannot speak to what he was exposed to or learned from attending/participating in practices or in talking with the other players and neither can you. I never said or implied that Crean misled him. Coach K tweaks his offenses based upon the skills/abilities of his players. Lots of successful coaches understand that you cannot be a rigid system coach and always find the right pieces to plug into your game plan. The simple fact is that the “offensive orientation” changed when Zeller left school and Vonleh was misused (in my opinion) this year. I believe that Fisher didn’t want to find himself in the same position a yr or two down the road. At this point, that he left is more important to future recruiting efforts than why he left–you offered 4 possible reasons and any one of them could be accurate. Life goes on–be well!

  • BluegrassHoosier

    Seems like we only recruit forwards. I don’t get it.

  • Gregory Spera

    SFs palying PF? Heck, we have SFs like Sheehey and Davis playing CENTER on defense. I mean, how often this season did we see poor Will getting his butt kicked trying to defend the post against a much bigger man?

  • Honestly, if you’ve read what many say, I don’t think you’d be reading reply’s either. Some people say some god awful things on twitter.

  • So did Laron Black.

  • He needs the minutes. The Ohio State game showed he can get the job done when you let him get settled in.

  • Totally agree. He must have been the kid that cried and had to go back home after numerous attempts to have a sleep over at a friends house. He quit on his teammates right before our first B1G game. That cost us dearly. He had his best game just before going to Illinois. Imagine having him throughout the B1G season. This generation has a serious ME attitude and its getting ridiculous. “I have to do whats best for ME.” Thats fine, so long as you dont break commitments and put people in negative situations bc of your selfishness. This applies to many more kids than Fischer.

  • Its probably the difference between the talent evaluation abilites of Tom Crean & Tom Izzo compared to the likes of Dave Telep, Fran Fraschilla, Evan Daniels, and others at ESPN and Scout. Its not hard to get the Vonleh’s, Randle’s, Wiggins’, and Parker’s right…. It takes a professional to get the others right. Not some journalist labeled as a talent evaluator.

  • Shakti96

    CTC Should fly to Texas and sign Myles Turner!!!!!

  • SlickMahony

    Cunningham is more impressive, Slick agrees on that. Gotta go get Stevie Zims and Danny Gidds. No doubt that we need some size…

  • KmanCRK

    With Noah leaving (from what I hear his camp told him not to play with an injury cuz it could possibly hurt his draft stock which is why he sat those 2 games at the end, which is garbage if its true since we were still in the hunt at the time) we have 1 open spot. Just based on recent history and college bball today, I’m assuming 1-2 guys transfer. I know the Crean haters think this is a Crean problem, but show me a program in the country that isn’t dealing with this problem every year. I think Jurkin is a no brainer since he can’t be healthy to practice ever let alone play. So even with just one guy transferring, that gives us room for Cunningham and Anthony Lee (who I think is a lock). That would make next years class a 4 man freshman class which is what I would expect to be the norm moving forward every year due to transfers and guys leaving early.

  • KmanCRK

    It would be nice if he wasn’t such a homesick pansy. Parents today need to get kids off the nipple earlier in life. From what I hear he wasn’t ready for the workload of big time college athletics and school work. Was totally overwhelmed and wasn’t even man enough to come back to campus and talk to the coach face to face after winter break. Just stayed in Wisconsin. I was excited about him for his Jr & Sr years, but we need tougher kids than that.

  • KmanCRK

    I heard a rumor that Ronnie Johnson, Hollowell and Patterson at Syracuse are all talking about transferring together somewhere. Could just be a rumor, but college bball these days is loaded with kids who transfer. It happens to every big program every year.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Did uwe blab have a hook? I can no longer remember. I do recall that Ray Tolbert had a dunk that I doubt ever came close to being blocked.