Notebook: Hoosiers host trio of unofficial visitors

  • 06/24/2014 12:41 pm in

Only 15 days remain until coaches can hit the road recruiting in July, but the final days of June are typically a good time for schools to bring visitors to campus before the biggest evaluation periods of the year.

This year is no different in Bloomington as the Indiana coaching staff hosted a pair of class of 2016 visitors on Monday and will welcome another today.

On Monday, the Hoosier staff welcomed 6-foot-10 Onsted (Mi.) center Austin Davis to campus along with Merrillville’s D.J. Wilkins. And today, Owensboro Apollo (Ky.) guard Eli Wright (pictured) is expected to be in Bloomington.

Davis, who has early offers from Central Michigan and Toledo, is being evaluated by several Big Ten programs, including Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State. Wilkins, who plays for Indiana Elite, is believed to be a major target for Purdue in its 2016 recruiting efforts.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, was included in the top 40 of Future150.com’s rankings for the class of 2016 and has offers from Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Purdue and Western Kentucky. He’s also visited Louisville.

Per NCAA recruiting rules, visits can continue through Saturday, July 5. The first July evaluation period begins on Wednesday, July 9.

Exum says he would have played for Indiana

Australian phenom Dante Exum, who is expected to be a top five pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, only took one official visit when he was going through the recruiting process.

That trip was to Indiana back in January of 2013 for IU’s win over Minnesota. At the time, Exum had planned to attend college in the United States, but after breakout performances in the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit and the FIBA U19 World Championships, the Aussie emerged as a sure fire lottery pick on NBA draft boards.

Exum officially declared for the NBA draft back in January, but in a column published Wednesday on ESPN.com, it was revealed that he would have attended IU had he chosen to go to college:

Exum finished his high school career in Australia, graduating in December while weighing his options: to realize his dream of playing college basketball or to go directly to the NBA. He trimmed his list to five schools: Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan and Oregon. Cecil says that Kentucky’s John Calipari even threw out the possibility of Dante joining Kentucky for the second semester of the season and jumping right into the fire.

“He would have been at a major disadvantage,” Cecil said. “Behind the eight-ball. I shot that down and told the other schools that was not an option.”

Dante maintains that he would have chosen to play for Tom Crean at Indiana, the lone school he actually visited, if he had opted to go the college route.

Vonleh among four Big Ten players invited to Thursday’s draft

Indiana’s Noah Vonleh was among four Big Ten players invited to attend Thursday’s draft at the Barclays Center, the NBA announced on Monday.

Vonleh, the Big Ten freshman of the year, was invited to attend along with Big Ten player of the year Nik Stauksas of Michigan and Adreian Payne and Gary Harris of Michigan State.

Other prospects invited to attend include: Aaron Gordon (Arizona), Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Dante Exum (Australia), Dario Saric (Croatia), Doug McDermott (Creighton), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette), Jabari Parker (Duke), James Young (Kentucky), Julius Randle (Kentucky), Jusuf Nurkic (Bosnia), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Rodney Hood (Duke), TJ Warren (North Carolina State), Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Zach LaVine (UCLA) and Shabazz Napier (Connecticut).

(Photo credit: Future150.com)

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  • ForeverIU

    Good news: Exum would have played at IU. The last few days have just been uplifting. Noah probably top 4 in the draft. Thon Maker in our conversation. ESPN’s top 50 coaches down to #9 (Beilein), and Tom Crean still not mentioned. Either he is outside the top 50 (highly unlikely), or he is a top 8 coach folks. Whether you agree with the rankings or not (check out ESPN’s criteria, which are not necessarily based on “legacy” or cumulative past achievement), it can’t but help with our recruiting.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    He was listed in the honorable mention part. Not even considered top 50. But that list is the worst thing I have ever seen. There are so many terrible rankings in it. Definitely a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately list.

  • ForeverIU

    Ouch! Then it is an absurd list!

  • IUreturn

    In the defense of the writer(s) if you havent done anything lately, you arent coaching.

    But I agree there are some question marks. To be honest I have no issue with CTC not on the top 50. I don’t think his performance has really proven it yet.

  • b_side

    Right. Like Coach K getting bounced out of the first round by a #14 and #15 seed in the last 3 years.

  • Gregory Spera

    “Whether you agree with the rankings or not (check out ESPN’s criteria, which are not necessarily based on “legacy” or cumulative past achievement), it can’t but help with our recruiting.”

    Exactly the opposite.

  • IUreturn

    In between an elite 8 appearance and within 5 years of a sweet 16 and national title. And a gold medal.
    Coach K is in a stratosphere with just a handful of coaches, dont even try that.
    Do I think Crean is top 50? Yea. But if youre not an IU fan and youre just looking at results, you have every reason to leave him off.

  • ForeverIU

    Thanks for making me feel even worse about posting. That CTC would be left out of the top 50 is unbelievable, isn’t it?

  • Gregory Spera

    Let’s just say Crean still has something to prove this season.

  • ForeverIU

    I will not respond because I am officially in a very pensive and reflective state of mourning. But I can still laugh, LOL!

  • ForeverIU

    Folks, I had no intention of opening a can of worms with my comment about the ESPN Top 50 Coaches. To hell with ESPN, Kenpom, and every other ranking that I have referred in the past (LOL)! I want to stay focused on the upbeat tone of this article and move on.

  • Arch Puddington

    If you are willing, as I am, to forgive CTC’s first three
    years at IU as a disaster not of his making, then his record is better in every possible way than John Beilein’s under remarkably similar circumstances. Both led middle of the road Big East programs for several years before heading to B1G powers, and CTC has outperformed hiim by every measure during those years.

    CTC has a winning career record against Beilein (5-4), a better winning percentage in the Big East (62%-50%), a better winning percentage in the B1G (59%-56%), more
    conference titles (2-1; Beilein’s teams never finished better than 3rd in the Big East), an identical rate of appearing in the NCAA tournament (7 times in 12 years for each), and the same number of Final Fours (1 each). Obviouslylast year was great for Michigan and a train wreck for IU, but even then CTC split with Beilein.

    People are welcome to offer up whatever opinions they
    would like, but there is no objective
    basis for arguing that Beilein is a better coach.

  • Gregory Spera

    Unfortunately, when judging the “best,” or the “worst,” or rating one person as “better” than another, it is impossible, (no matter the amount of statistics bandied back and forth) to completely abandon personal bias. So these rankings become, by their very nature, rather subjective. I freely admit, that I have become conditioned by experience to reflect negatively on the coaching skills of CTC and may not be the most level headed arbiter of his worth.

  • ForeverIU

    I can understand this kind of bias when coming from an individual, but when it is a “army of experts” such as ESPN’s, I don’t know what to make of it.

  • Arch Puddington

    I don’t disagree about the subjective nature of “bests”, just responding to the absurd disparity between Beilein’s ranking on this list and that of a coach who has outperformed him over a long period of time. I think Beilein is a fine coach, and if circumstances had been different and he had ended up here, I’m sure it would have worked out well. But even allowing for all the subjectivity inherent in these judgments, ESPN’s list was ridiculous. And while such lists can be dismissed as media fluff, it nonetheless bothers me because as you noted above (I think it was you) , it is bad for business.

  • ForeverIU

    To me it is not only a surprise but a travesty. It makes me want to support CTC even more.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    Beilein’s last three years: Shared the B1G title; went to the championship game; and then won the B1G title with an elite 8 appearance. Crean has two sweet 16’s and one B1G title. I would say that is a better 3 years for Beilein. Just my objective opinion.

    This is from a big Tom Crean fan as well.

  • ronb

    it is quite terrible when u consider CT was Coach of the year a couple of seasons ago ranked by ESPN!. It is all about what have you done for me lately. Just consider that our Coach gave up 3 twenty game seasons if he had stayed where he was or gone to a program that was NOT as low as it gets. He was a highly rated Coach at the time and could have gone anywhere. He lowered his win/ lose record greatly by taking the IU job because it was Indiana.

  • Arch Puddington

    But you’re just doing what ESPN did — making a generalized claim from a small, non-representative set of data. Both coaches have been working the Big East or Big Ten for 15 years; there is nothing more valid about the last three of those years than any other three year period (again, other than the first three years of CTC’s time at IU), and certainly nothing as valid as their overall records

    And besides, your data doesn’t show what you say it shows. All it really shows is that Beilein had a better year last year. In the two previous years, both teams were 25-11 in conference play, and CTC was 3-1 against Beilein (and he is 4-2 overall during the three years you mention). If Beilien had better teams during that stretch, but still had a losing record than CTC, how is Beilien the better coach?

    Granted, Beilien has had better tournament success over the last couple of years, but that has not been the case historically, and Beilein has had more talent to work with (among other indicators: 5 first round picks over the last two years to 3 for CTC). Maybe CTC had a comparable or even better team than Beilein, but fell apart when it counted….but it would be just as legitimate to argue that Beilein had the better team, but couldn’t beat CTC head to head. That part is most definitely subjective, and people will decide for themselves. But again, no look at their overall record can be used to say that Beilein belongs more than 40 spots ahead of CTC.

  • Hoosier Hall

    100% agreed! We should have no less than a top ten coach. Crean could be that guy if he steps up to the plate. More seasons like the last one and he’ll be back on the market.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    I see what you mean. I definitely agree with your final statement as well. I think that they eye test favors Beilein as an in-game coach but I think the player development goes to Crean. Both are good coaches.

  • Hoosier Hall

    How ’bout the whole Exum thing? I had a “friendly discussion” with a friend of mine (who happens to be a UK fan) about where he would have attended college. Needless to say, I was right but I don’t feel any better. I’ll spend this next season thinking “Oh man, Exum would’ve dropped 30 on these guys!”. Oh well.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    If you read the details for criteria used for the list (which is available on the ESPN page that features the rankings), it does not place any emphasis on past history. The list, by design, was a “what have you done for me lately” list and not reflective of the past 20 years.

    Not saying I necessarily agree with Crean being left off the list, but your “no three-year period tells a complete story of their careers” comment has nothing to do with this specific list.

  • SCHoosier

    re: Exum’s comments on attending IU..isn’t that like saying “I would have won the lottery had I had the right numbers”???

  • b_side

    No sense in debating this further since you already made my point. With Crean it’s “what have you done for me lately.” With Coach K, he gets a pass. I have no problem with it given his track record. Just ironic depending on your point of view.

  • IUreturn

    Even with those early exits last 5 years for Coach K:
    150-32, 1 Title, 1 Final Four, 3 Sweet 16, 2 Elite 8. Hasn’t missed the tourney since the 80’s.

    Crean – 95-72, 2 Sweet 16. 3 no post season.
    I don’t think there is any double standard or irony, with the talent he has brought in CTC needs to do a bit more.

    If you flipped the names on those records that article would have Crean in the top 10 and Coach K on the “maybe its time to move on soon?” article. You are what your record says you are.

  • b_side

    And of course the state of the respective program bears no factor on those results (oh wait…). I get why you’re frustrated, but it’s apples and oranges. My point is this: the flack Crean receives is more heavily weighted as a result of last year’s disappointing season. But “disappointing” or falling well below expectations should have context too.

  • Ole Man

    IU’s program was down, but to say it is was “as low as it gets” is hyperbole.
    I’m glad he’s our coach; but he couldn’t “have gone anywhere”.
    Also, Indiana has given him 3 million reasons not to care about the 20 win seasons.
    To his credit, I think he isn’t concerned about his won/loss record. I honestly believe he is only concerned with making IU the best program it can be.
    I support him 100% in that effort.

  • Arch Puddington

    I get that, which is what makes it a stupid list. If the list had been, “Which coaches got the most out of their teams in 2013-14”, I could have gone for it. But when it purports to identify the “best” coach based on a single season, it takes on more authority than it deserves. We’ve had discussions about it in the Forum, and one of our more knowledgeable contributors said flat out that because a panel of “experts” had left CTC of this particular list, that was prima facie evidence that he is a lousy coach. If it is enough to convince even fans of the program, how impactful must it be on recruits and their families? How much more ammo does it give rival coaches to use against us?

    I don’t like it.

  • Arch Puddington

    I agree with the “eye test” comment, and I agree that both are good coaches. Beilien’s offense generally looks prettier, but in the end wins are what counts, and in that regard he and CTC have been very similar.

  • IUreturn

    I agree, I’m not calling for his head, just stating that he needs to perform better and I’m not surprised he wasn’t recognized as a top 50 coach. Am I sold he’s the one to bring us there? No, definitely not. I think he has flaws in game decisions especially understanding flow and momentum. But he is an excellent recruiter and can develop guards with the best of them. I’m not upset about last season. I laughed at our preseason ranking and did not have high expectations, but the fact remains its coming on year 7 and we’ve had tons of talent with little to show far. Its time for some real achievements the next few years.

  • ForeverIU

    No, because his choice was between going pro and going to college, and I believe him when he says he would have picked IU if he were to go to college.

  • ForeverIU

    Which means that if the list was put together last summer, Crean would have been top 10. I don’t care for any ranking that exhibits such fluctuation from year to year. Old Shakespeare had something to say about this: Much Ado About Nothing.

  • IUJeff

    I agree with some of what you said OM but IU was lower than rock bottom IMO. When you are not even allowed to field a whole team due to NCAA sanctions, and have burned all bridges in your home state, that is pretty low.

  • CreanFaithful

    Usually like what you have to say, but that is a ludicrous comparison… His comment doesn’t make me feel any better or worse about the state of IUBB.

  • Ole Man

    Very good points. I think a part of me just can’t accept that IU’s program was allowed to sink that low.

  • IU_Alan

    I read an article where there were 19 F’s for the Team after KS left. CTC did the right thing and did not let any of the kids come back the next year, except for the walk-on’s. If you’re flunking out, you don’t care about the university.

  • ronb

    It was as low as any IU basketball program in my 60 years of watching IU basketball. I did not want to believe it either but it was rock bottom. I did not mean that he could go anywhere in that since of the word and u know what I meant. He could have gone to any program that needed a Coach or stayed where he was. I thank him for coming and getting IU back and I am with you about him wanting to make IU the best it can be and get kids an education in the process. He may have his short comings but I believe he loves IU 100%. I only brought up his win/lost record because others were comparing his record to other Coaches like the guy at Michigan.

  • marcusgresham

    You ever have a super-hot girl from your past tell you, far past the time it would do you any good, that she would have given it up to you way back then? Her name shall forever be “Dante Exum.”

  • HoosierGrampy

    When the words “Elite Recruiter” are spoken, names like Coach K, Pitino, Izzo, Boeheim, Self, Calipari, Donovan, possibly Beilein, Ollie & Wright come to mind. CTC is better than your average recruiter, but grabbing 1 Mickey D All-American in each of the past 3 years hardly puts him in the elite group…if or when he comes up with repetitive classes containing 3-4 4 & 5 star recruits and lets revisit the topic.

  • TomJameson

    If you used minutes returning as a measure of how low it gets, If I’m not mistaken (and I could be) CTC had fewer returning minutes than any team ever in CBB (recorded history anyway). I know the returning minutes were lower than University of Evansville after they lost basically their whole team in a plane crash.

  • TomJameson

    Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I have watched virtually no minutes of Dante Exum, But I hear on this forum, over and over, how nobody knows how good any incoming freshmen really are because they have yet to play their first college game. Yet here is this HS player skipping college and being drafted in the top 5 (maybe), and he’s never played that first CBB game either. Is he really that good? Couldn’t he easily flop in the NBA and be a bit of a risk to draft that high? Really just curious.

  • CreamandCrimson

    You don’t want to put CTC in the “elite recruiter” pool…that’s fine and I won’t disagree with you. But there is absolutely no way you can put Jay Wright ahead of him. According to ESPN’s class rankings, Villanova has been in the Top 25 exactly one time since 2007 (the furthest back their listing goes). Tom Crean has three Top 15 classes just since 2009. Crean and Beilein are pretty comparable over the past few years (in recruiting rankings only). As for Ollie, time will tell. It’s fine if you want to limit the “elite” group to the first 7 you mentioned but I don’t think putting Jay Wright in that class or ahead of Crean is even close to correct.

  • marcusgresham

    Ask Kwame Brown.

  • IUreturn

    Those guys are all great, Matta and Pastner are up there too. That said I don’t think I can name 20 coaches that can recruit better than Crean. To me, if youre that good at recruiting than you can/are getting enough talent to get where you want to go.

  • ForeverIU

    Just curious, why did you laugh at our pre-season ranking last year? You said we are recruiting well, so what convinced you in the pre-season, and on the heels of a B1G championship, that we weren’t going to do well, despite the decent pre-season ranking and the good recruiting? We can retroactively criticize Crean’s coaching, but how did you come to the conclusion before the fact? And what makes you hopeful for next year?

  • ForeverIU

    Absolutely, I don’t think Crean is a great recruiter. He’s a good recruiter.

  • ForeverIU

    Yikes, another ESPN ranking!! I’ve cited that one before, so I’m standing on one leg. LOL!

  • IUreturn

    I thought Sheehey had played his best ball already, never thought he’d be the 15+ point guy. I certainly didn’t expect Yogi to play as well as he actually did either. Aside from those 2 we had nobody that really ever played. I just didn’t think the prior teams success should lead to a current team ranking. I saw Williams and Stan play a few times in HS and I just thought it would take longer. Troy played much better than I thought he would as a freshman. Those guys are going to be great, I have no doubt but I had a feeling it wouldn’t be year 1. Last season had some upsetting moments, but I never thought they’d be more than a 1 and done in NCAA. That doesn’t change the fact that I feel Stan and Noah should have played more or Yogi should stay in when he’s the only one scoring etc. etc. The prior years Sweet 16 blowout was much more upsetting from an expecation standpoint.

    As for next year I think the guard play will be very strong. JB and RJ on the wing will open up lanes for Yogi and Stan to slice through. As long as they all grow in understanding and reading D it will be like the Wisky game at home last year, who can stay in front of us?

    That said we are likely to get bullied on the boards and in the paint and wont have any rim protection. If the 3’s arent falling we aren’t going to win often. I don’t know the schedule but I can’t see next years team winning more than 20-22 games. Which is NCAA birth I would think.

    My biggest view of optimism kind of reminds me of the year pre Zeller. If we land a blue chip big in 2015 why can’t we make that huge leap like CZ frosh year? I truly believe that team was clicking, peaking and final 4 bound if they played anybody but UK that season.

  • SCHoosier

    My point had nothing to do with the state of IU b-ball (which I consider promising)… I think its just silly to make that kind of statement when it doesn’t matter…anymore…who cares now?