Recruiting notebook: 2014 power forward Ray Kasongo high on IU
Even though classes start in less than two weeks, Indiana is still not done recruiting the 2014 class.
6-foot-9 Ray Kasongo, who the NCAA has declared eligible but was denied admission into Oregon, has very high interest in Indiana, he told Inside the Hall, and will take an official visit to Bloomington with his parents beginning either Sunday or Monday. Indiana still has an open scholarship for this upcoming season.
The former Ducks signee is down to Indiana and LSU, his mentor, Brandon Bender, confirmed to Inside the Hall on Monday evening.
“This about opportunity, to learn and get better,” Bender said. “At the end of the day, I’ve known coach (Tom) Crean for years, since when he was at Marquette, and I trust him wholeheartedly. And I feel like he can get the best out of the kid. He’s going to push the kid, but that’s just him.”
Kasongo, who is rated the No. 222 prospect overall in the 2014 class, had received interest from schools including Memphis, Michigan State, USC and Kansas from the time it was revealed he would not be attending Oregon. He even visited Lawrence this past weekend, though it became clear that it would not be his final destination.
Admission to the university wasn’t the issue at Kansas, Bender said, rather, there was no opportunity for playing time right away. Kasongo said playing time is one of the biggest factors in his upcoming decision.
“And Indiana has that,” he said. “They’ve been telling me I could potentially start from day one.”
Bender shares that same optimism for the Hoosiers that Kasongo has and sees a great fit for him at Indiana. In fact, he said early Monday afternoon that “there’s a really good chance” Kasongo ends up at Indiana. The Hoosiers offered a scholarship last week, and there is prior experience between the two sides as Kasongo visited Bloomington two years ago as a junior in high school.
Kasongo added he could commit during a visit, though he likely will wait until after the visits to make a decision. He could visit LSU as early as this week.
But with classes scheduled to start on August 25, any decision will have to come sooner rather than later.
“I think it’s the make-up of the team and the opportunity; the minutes are there,” Bender said. “And I think that’s the biggest thing with him, that the minutes are there. Crean is a good coach, and they have a great player development coach.
“They just said that they have a gigantic need in the front court and Ray could come in here and possibly start and make an immediate impact as a freshman. Which is true.”
Crawford trims list to seven
2015 Gonzaga Prep (D.C.) guard Bryant Crawford announced on Monday that he has trimmed his list of schools to seven: Georgetown, Tennessee, Indiana, Memphis, Marquette, Wake Forest and SMU.
Crawford has been battling injuries through much of his high school career, including missing most of this past season with a broken hand, but he is still rated the No. 85 prospect in the class, according to the 247Sports Composite.
During the 2014 EYBL circuit, Crawford averaged 12.7 points, 3.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game for Team Takeover.
Leaf down to final 10
2016 Foothills Christian (Calif.) forward T.J. Leaf announced his top 10 schools on Monday morning, and Indiana has made the cut.
His top 10 is, in alphabetical order, Arizona, Duke, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, San Diego State, Texas, UCLA and Xavier.
The 6-foot-10 Leaf is ranked the No. 14 prospect in the 2016 class by the 247Sports Composite, and he also has made three unofficial visits to Indiana within the past year.