Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Etherington To IU!

The Hoosiers picked up a commitment from junior shooting guard/small forward Austin Etherington. Etherington, an Indiana HS boy, is 6'6'' and is rated the #57 player in the nation by Scout. Etherington had interest from New Mexico, Xavier, Purdue, NW, Ohio St., Butler, and Michigan. He joins Matt Carlino in the start of a very exciting 2011 class. The talk now is that it could get highly coveted PG and AAU teammate, Jeremiah Davis to commit to the Hoosiers as well. Not sure if IU would make room for Davis with some even more highly touted players considering a commitment. This is very exciting to see the recruits that CTC is brining in already. You better believe Hoosier basketball will be back sooner than most think!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Update And Look Ahead At '09-'10

The 2009 recruiting class that I am so excited to see in action arrived on campus this week. Well, 4 of the 6. 7'0'' mystery man, Bawa Muniru(pictured left) is said to have one summer class to finish and he will be ready eligibility wise at that point. This is no big surprise with his prep school situation, but many questions have arisen about Bawa as no one can seem to find any info. on his senior year stats. All reports are that they were really bad. Excuses are usually based on poor coaching, a loaded team that didn't get him the ball much, etc. Doesn't sound good. Thing is he is rated higher than all incoming recruits by ESPN and higher than Pritchard was by Scout and Rivals. We'll see. The really scary thing is that Maurice Creek(pictured below) is awaiting test scores to come back. The word is that he had poor grades his first 2 years and needs a good score to qualify. He had a 3.6 GPA last semester. I personally believe he will start and possibly even be our leading scorer as a freshman! He is our top rated recruit if you look at Scout or Rivals. Now to repeat some things I've already said and a couple new things-Word is that Jeremiah Rivers is looking really good right now. There's no question he will be our best defender. He was all Big East defensive team for a Final Four Georgetown team as a sophomore. He was the 6th man for that team. They say his offense has improved as well. He's a 6'5'' PG as opposed to Daniel Moore! Throw in Jordan Hulls who I still think will push Rivers for the starting spot if nothing else due to his leadership ability and competitiveness. I expect a Tom Coverdale/Neil Reed hybrid. Point guard will be our most improved position whether Verdell Jones plays some there or solely on the wing. 6'8'' Christian Watford(pictured above wearing my new favorite IU hat) may be our most heralded recruit and brings more offensive firepower to the table (along with Creek) than anyone we had on our roster last year. Those two have more ability to create their own shot than anyone we had. Devan Dumes will be able to play more his game and not force crazy shots to fill a role he's not equipped to handle. Up front, we had Pritchard, Jobe(who is worth nothing), and 6'7'' Taber. Now we have 6'8'' bruiser Bobby Capobianco(who may love IU more than any incoming recruit ever has!), 7'0'' Bawa Muniru, and 6'8'' Derek Elston who just may be a huge X-factor. Elston was highly touted before his knee injury last summer. There are questions about the level of competition he played against, but they say maybe a hybrid of Eric Anderson/Luke Recker. Obviously a diverse big man. He has 3-point range and passes very well. These added weapons and depth are going to help Pritch tremendously. All accounts are that Hulls(pictured above), Elston, and Capo bring an unbelievable attitude, tougness, and competitiveness. Depth wise we had Moore, Roth, Jobe, Story, and Finkelmeier off the bench. Now we look at possibly Verdell Jones(our best player at the end of the year), Jordan Hulls(4 star recruit), Derek Elston(4 star recruit), Capo, and Muniru. Supposedly our schedule is going to be much softer. Think about how bad we were last year and the games we still could easily have won-Lipscomb, Iowa 65-60, Michigan OT, Penn St. 65-55, Minny 67-63, NW 77-75, Iowa 68-60, Minny 62-54, Penn St. 61-58. Pull off even 6 of those 9 and we win 12 games with that bad team. How about some improvement at the FT line and those "unforced TOs?" I don't think that's expecting too much. Lastly, compare this to the Robbie Hummel Purdue class, and I think they are very similar. Some say they had more coming back, but I really don't think they had any more than Verdell Jones, Devan Dumes, and Tom Pritchard give us. Could we possibly look at going from 6 wins to 20? I doubt it, but I'm sure excited to find out!
(Derek Elston pictured left in the IN/KY all-star game. Stats were unimpressive, but doesn't he look a little like Richie Cunningham?)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

So someone on the Hoosier Nation board said fans from the Louisville board were comparing Crean to Tom Arnold. Someone else responded by posting these pictures. I e-mailed them to Jeff, and he felt it was a must for me to pass on. It is a pretty striking resemblance! I guess after Crean has won his 5 National Championships at IU we know who can play his role in the movie? As far as basketball news, Lawrence North senior to be, Justin Martin, who committed to Louisville early this year, decommitted today. IU had interest before the commitment and very well might be players now. He is a top 50 in the country talent. This would be a huge get and definitely a good trend to have Indiana kids like Martin decommitting to Louisville and Dominique Ferguson who also attended Lawrence North decommitting to Kentucky. We haven't gotten either yet, but it could happen. The bad news is there is a question about Martin's academics. More good news is the trouble that Memphis seems to be in. Kentucky and Calipari probably won't get in trouble, but it can't help his reputation or recruiting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Future?

I think we're all excited about the 2009 recruiting class. I think most can agree that it will be a nice turn around this year. The debate starts at are we talking .500? NIT? NCAA? Etc, etc. The nice thing about this class is that I believe it is a nice "foundation" class. I'd be surprised if any left early. Maybe Creek or Watford if they really pan out, but surely not atleast until they have played 2 years, if not 3. That said, if we have solid guys like Creek, Watford, Elston, Hulls, Capo, and Muniru for the next 3 or 4 years, if we add 1 or 2 big time 5 star guys over those years, even if they are "one and done" guys, that could push us to a Final 4 team by 2010-2011 or 2011-2012. I like the possibilities. Looking at the 2010 class, PG Kyrie Irving(pictured left) has been elevated to the #8 player in the NATION! It's long been believed we are the frontrunners for him. He played in a tourney in Bloomington this weekend and attended a baseball game with our coaching staff. He's quoted as saying he loves everything about INDIANA. This is a 5 star that could help push us over the edge. He's going to announce his decision in the Fall. Still in the '10 class is former KY commit, Dominique Ferguson(pictured below with Teague). He's #9 in the nation in that class. He has also been saying very favorable things about IU, and played in the same tourney as Irving last weekend. The latest news is that he has announced he's visiting 4 schools next month. IU is a definite and he will choose between UCLA, Texas, Arizona, and Florida for the other 3. Most think we will not get him, but that sounds pretty good to me! Lastly, our prized '11 kid, PG Marquis Teague. Most had him penciled in to go to Louisville, but now many think we might get him. He was at the tourney last weekend wearing a #20 INDIANA sweatshirt. Ironically, Nick Williams just vacated that uniform! Folks, if we get 2 of those 3, I really think we can hope for a Final Four in 2011 or 2012. I think it is fairly likely we do it too. Sounds like a long way off, but it's only the year after next!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Crean and Crimson

2009-2010 Indiana Hoosier Basketball Preview

Why I feel confident that the turn around will be remarkable from 2008-2009: When I say remarkable, I mean a disappointing season to me is 16-15 and an upside I could see 19-12.

This year’s winnable games:

Northeastern (55-42), Lipscomb(74-69), Iowa(65-60), Michigan(72-66 OT). Will Manny Harris turn pro? Penn St.(65-55). PSU loses 2nd leading scorer, Jamelle Cornley and 3rd leading scorer, Stanley Pringle. Minnesota(67-63), Northwestern(77-75). NW loses 2nd leading scorer, Craig Moore. Minnesota(62-54), Penn St.(61-58), Michigan St.(64-59). Wisconsin loses leading scorer, Marcus Landry and starter Joe Krabbenhoft. Add to that that the word is we’ll have a weaker non-conference schedule.

Purdue’s 2007 recruiting class. Purdue went 25-9 with freshmen Moore, Hummel, and Martin the top 3 out of 4 scorers. Kramer and Grant were the only 2 significant returners and they were sophomores. We match up very well with what they brought in:
(According to Rivals)
Purdue 2007 Indiana 2009
#35 E’Twaun Moore #34 Christian Watford
#42 JaJuan Johnson #59 Maurice Creek
#75 Robbie Hummel #98 Derek Elston
#76 Scott Martin #106 Jordan Hulls
#111 Bawa Muniru

If you want to say some of those guys won’t pan out for us, I’d agree, but you can also consider Bobby Capobianco who Rivals and ESPN both have ranked. Not to mention we can add Jeremiah Rivers who played for a top 10 team and was Big East All-Defensive team as a back-up PG. So is it feasible to say 4 of our 7 newcomers will pan out the way Purdue’s did? Were Kramer and Grant any better than Pritchard, Dumes, and Verdell Jones?

Also keep in mind that Williams(145), Jones(126), Pritchard(NR), and Dumes(NR) were all 3 star recruits. 5 of our 6 ’09 recruits are ranked higher than our ’08 highest(Jones) and Capo is too depending on where you look. Watford, Creek, and Elston are all 4 star recruits.

A look at what we’ve got:

F-Christian Watford-6’8’’-Rivals #34 Scout #47 ESPN #29. I might have put Creek higher, but just purely from need of position, Watford may be our most valuable commodity. He’ll give us a little more size(he’s taller than anyone on last year’s roster other than Pritch and Jobe) and a type of scorer that we just didn’t have. I’m hoping we could possibly compare Christian to a Jared Jeffries type talent. A good sized forward that can handle the ball pretty well and has pretty good range. A little skinny and may not be much of an inside force. He turned down an offer from Memphis to come to IU. He averaged 25.9ppg and 13.2 rpg. I see him starting at SF or PF.

PG-Jeremiah Rivers-6’5’’-This position will be by far the most upgraded. Although Verdell cam on very well, he’s just not a point guard to me. Rivers is much more of a leader. He brings Big East experience, and he’s immediately our best defender. He may not score much, but that isn’t necessarily what we need from that position. I see him fighting Hulls for the starting PG position.

PG-Jordan Hulls-6’0’’-Rivals #106 Scout #50 ESPN NR. What I just said above in Rivers summary and he and Rivers are nice opposites. Hulls isn’t as quick, not as big, no college experience, and probably not a great defender. That said, the thing they both share is more leadership ability than anyone on last year’s squad. Hulls, unlike Rivers, is a solid 3-point shooter. Much better ballhandler and decision maker than anyone on the 2008-2009 roster. I’m thinking we can hope he’s a cross between Tom Coverdale and Neil Reed. He’s built more like Reed. He turned down Purdue, Stanford, and Duke for IU. He’s currently averaging 16.8ppg and 5.1 apg.

PF/C-Tom Pritchard-3rd on the team in scoring at 9.7 ppg and led in rebounding at 6.4rpg.
I see him as our starting center again this year, but greatly improved with more scoring and ballhandling around him, some experience, and more size and depth to go with him.

SG/SF-Maurice Creek-6’5’’-Rivals #59 Scout #41 ESPN #63. Turned down Texas, Pitt, Georgetown, Marquette, and Maryland for IU. Averaged. Great 3 point shooter and good athlete. I see him starting as a SG or SF.

G/F-Verdell Jones-2nd on the team with 11ppg, and led team in assists. VJ3 really surprised me. I thought for sure he would be odd man out until about halfway through this season. Then he started taking the ball to the basket pretty well. Then my knock was that I don’t see him starting at PG, but he doesn’t have the 3-point shot to be a SG/SF in Crean’s system. Well, then he started hitting some. If Indiana Jones bulks up and really works on his 3 point shot, he may start at SG or SF. I don’t think so, but I think our 2nd leading scorer this year can be in the top 7 or 8 rotation. Not bad.

SF/PF-Derek Elston-6’8’’-Rivals #98 Scout #77 ESPN NR. Turned down Purdue, North Carolina, Iowa for IU. I think this will be a huge wild card for us. He played against mostly inferior talent in HS. His rankings have been up and down due to his injury. If he’s good enough to start at SF or PF as a freshman, I think we’ll be really tough. He shoots, passes, and handles the ball more like a SF I am told. Maybe a poor man’s Robbie Hummel? He’s currently averaging 19.9 ppg and 10.6 rpg.

PF/C-Bobby Capobianco-6’8’’ Rivals NR Scout NR ESPN #100. Turned down Marquette, Iowa, and West Virginia for IU. Averaged 17.7 ppg 9.1rpg (He averaged 21ppg and 11rpg as a junior). I think we’re going to love Capo. I think this kid is Mr. Indiana. He’s so happy to be a Hoosier. He even helps us recruit. I think he’s going to be really tough and hard nosed and really help bring attitude to our team. Sounds like he has a pretty good jump shot. I think it will come down to he and Bawa for some major minutes inside and I think he’ll win that spot.

C-Bawa Muniru-6’11’’-Rivals #111 Scout NR ESPN NR. Turned down Louisville and UCLA for IU. This is easily our biggest question mark/wild card. His senior season was very difficult to get any updates on, but when we did get them, he wasn’t putting up good numbers at all. He had big programs looking at him and is fairly highly rated. All indications are that he runs the floor well, block shots and rebounds well, and has a great attitude. All indications are that he’s atleast better than Jobe and he has 4 years of college ahead. I’m hopeful that once with CTC and staff he can have a role this year. I think it will be either him or Capo, but not both. If he’s not going to beat out Capo, I’d love to see him redshirt.

SG-Devan Dumes-Led IU at 12.7 ppg, 3-pointers made, and 3-point %(other than Taber). I have said all along that I think Dumes will be a nice player next year when he’s not looked at as the go-to guard. I think his shot selection will improve dramatically. If that’s the case, I think he’ll be a nice weapon to go along with the others. Just one more guy you can’t double off. Atleast he can create his won shot. Now, if his shot selection doesn’t change with his new teammates, I hope he sits A Lot!

SG-Matt Roth-Started 7 games. 2nd on team in 3-pointers made, led team in FT %. I see Roth fighting for the #9 or #10 position which I do think puts him just barely in the rotation in a running system. I do think with more scoring options, and more inside threats that he’ll become more valuable. It just drove me crazy when he’d launch 30-footers! I see him as a career Leary or Hornsby type.

C-Tijan Jobe-7’0’’-Hey, he dunked in the last game! I know we all want to think he’ll be one making room for a scholarship, but sometimes it’s just not that easy. If he’s around, I think his only role will be one on one games with Bawa. I read an interesting post wondering what would happen in a one on one game with Job and Ben Allen. That really made me laugh.

Now obviously we need to improve at the free throw line. We need to drastically cut down turnovers (especially unforced ones). I also think Crean will have us running and trapping a lot more. As you can tell, I’m a little excited!