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IU basketball coach Tom Crean appeared on the ESPNU College Basketball podcast Tuesday with Andy Katz and Seth Greenburg.
He started out talking about Bo Ryan’s announcement that he would retire after one more season at Wisconsin, then spent some time talking about the Hoosiers’ offseason work and progression. A few highlights:
On Bo Ryan: “When I saw the news, actually I was kind of bummed out. … I think he’s changed (the Wisconsin job), because he’s made it impossible to win in (Madison). … He’s very flexible in how he attacks you and beats you. He’s got the swing (offense) and his fundamentals and principals are incredible, the defense, he’s got all of that, but he can beat you with ball screens, isolations, five-man continuity. He’s phenomenal at getting the matchups he wants.
IU’s offseason in general: “We had a great spring, and obviously when Devin Davis and Hanner Perea had to leave (after being dismissed from the team), that wasn’t a good time. As far as an improvement time and academically, the whole deal, we had an excellent spring, and we started off that way. The whole thing was, ‘OK, we’ve had a great spring, now we’ve got to have an excellent summer.’ We’re in our fourth week of offseason workouts, the freshmen are in their second full week, and I think we’re going to give ourselves different opportunities.”
On Thomas Bryant: “Thomas Bryant certainly helps bring that (ability to make others better). We’ve had four individual workouts with him now, and every time I walk out of there, there’s something I didn’t really realize he has. Right away, I thought, ‘We’re going to have to do more with his left hand,’ though his left hand is pretty good.
“His shooting is coming. He’s got to learn to shoot on the move, then he rings off five 3s in a row the other night in drills. To me, when you’ve got somebody that can space like that, and that’s what we’ve got to get to as a team, you’ve got to guard us in the paint, at the 3-point line and everywhere in between, especially in transition and in the shot clock.”
Comparing this team to 2013: “We have a picture from our 2013 team that had four thousand–point scorers in it (Jordan Hulls, Cody Zeller, Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo). They all got points different ways, but they all really made each other better. All four of those guys were in (Hulls’) wedding, along with Will Sheehey and Derek Elston. When you have guys who will truly, truly make each other better, and they do it different ways, you’ve got a chance to have great success, and that’s what our team has got to learn. (more…)
According to a tweet from his agent, Keith Kreiter at Edge Sports, on Tuesday morning, former Indiana University forward Will Sheehey has been added the New Orleans Pelicans’ summer league roster. The Pelicans play in the Las Vegas summer league, which begins on July 10.
Sheehey began his professional career in Montenegro last season, but then parted ways with the team and returned to the United States where he joined the NBA D-League. He was with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for just eight games before moving on to the Los Angeles Defenders in February, averaging 9.4 points per game in L.A.
The Indiana Pacers announced their rookie/free agent camp roster on Monday, a roster that is expected to remain intact for the Orlando summer league July 4-10, and former Hoosier Christian Watford was among those listed. The camp starts Wednesday in Indianapolis and runs through Friday before the Pacers leave for Orlando.
Watford, a 2013 IU graduate, played overseas in Israel in 2013-14, then spent the 2014-15 season with the Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics) and the Reno Bighorns (Sacramento Kings) of the NBA D-League, where he averaged 10.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 33 games.
According a an IU athletics release, Watford could also join the Sacramento Kings squad in the Las Vegas summer league, which runs July 10-20.
The Pacers’ summer league roster also includes recent draft picks Myles Turner and Joseph Young, as well as recent Purdue grad Jon Octeus.
Here are the scheduled summer league games for the Pacers:
Saturday, July 4
9:00 a.m. Miami @ Indiana
Monday, July 6, 2015
1:00 p.m. Indiana @ Orlando White
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
2nd game 3:00 p.m. Indiana @ Detroit
Thursday, July 9, 2015
1st game 1:00 p.m. Indiana @ Orlando Blue
Indiana junior pitcher Scott Effross announced his intentions to forgo his final season of eligibility with the Hoosiers to pursue a professional baseball career on Saturday night via Twitter.
Effross, who was selected in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball Draft earlier this month, revealed his plans in a pair of tweets.
“Would not be the person I am today without the opportunities given to me by IU or Indiana Baseball. Forever grateful and indebted,” he tweeted first.
“With that said, I am extremely excited to begin my professional baseball career as a Chicago Cub #GoCubsGo #FEWSIC,” the 6-foot-2 right-hander then tweeted.
Effross was primarily a reliever during his IU career, finishing with a 2.27 ERA in 81 appearances and just eight starts, seven of those during the 2015 season. He posted a 15-8 record with 12 saves, striking out 125 in 178 2/3 innings.
Effross joins JUCO signee Travis Herrin in opting for professional baseball. IU junior pitchers Jake Kelzer and Christian Morris have yet to announce a decision and likewise for JUCO signee Alex Krupa.
Indiana is recruiting Cole Gest as a running back, but the Hoosiers expect to get much more out of the three-star Ohio native than mere carries.
Gest, who committed to IU on Wednesday morning, is expected to start his college career in the backfield, while also seeing time as a slot receiver and as a return man when he arrives on campus as part of the 2016 recruiting class.
Gest’s commitment represents the eighth verbal pledge for 2016 and the fifth commitment the Hoosiers have taken since the weekend. IU offered Gest during a visit on Tuesday morning, and he quickly accepted it.
“It just seemed that everything was falling into place,” Gest said. “I was being led to Indiana. After getting the campus tour and everything, meeting the players, meeting the coaches, and after the camp I went to last Friday, I definitely knew that Indiana was where I was meant to be.”
Considered a three-star prospect in the 247 Sports composite rankings, Gest chose IU over offers from Bowling Green, Toledo, Kent State and Ohio. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound back was a first-year starter in 2014 at St. Edward High, rushing for 1,854 yards and 25 touchdowns on the way to being a Northeast Ohio Lakes All-District first team selection. Gest was also named an All-Ohio Division I special mention.
St. Edward coach Tom Lombardo is entering his first season at the helm of the Cleveland area program and said he quickly learned that Gest had an interest in playing at the Big Ten level. Lombardo says he envisions using Gest this fall in many of the same ways that IU has planned for him.
“Just like last year, he’ll be the primary ball carrier from the tailback position,” Lombardo said. “He’s super explosive, fast and runs a sub-4 40 and also has the ability to (be versatile). We’ll use him on screens and getting him out of the backfield because he has really good hands. His explosiveness is his greatest strength. You watch him do plyometrics and the way he jumps out of boxes with one leg or both legs, you can see the explosion in his hips. He runs really low to the ground, so not only can he break the big one, he can get you tough yards, as well.” (more…)
Phil Benker won’t be invited to beat teams through single coverage this fall, nor will the game be made easy for him.
As the latest Big Ten commit out of Sandalwood High in Jacksonville, Fla., the future Indiana receiver will be a marked man.
“We have some younger kids who will probably take advantage of Phil being this heavily-recruited receiver,” Sandalwood coach Adam Geis said. “I’ll tell you right now, if he was playing against me, he ain’t beating me.”
That’s because Benker, who flipped his commitment from Central Florida to IU on Monday, is quickly building his profile as one of the more intriguing prospects in North Florida. Benker led Jacksonville area receivers with 59 catches for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, and he turned that production into offers from UCF, Wake Forest, Duke, Colorado, Troy and Alabama State before deciding on Indiana early this week.
Benker had been committed to UCF since March, when he became the Knights first commit for the 2016 class. He tweeted his commitment switch Monday, calling it a business decision.
From at least one angle, he’s right.
Geis’ Sandalwood program incorporates many of the same concepts as IU coach Kevin Wilson’s up-tempo, pass-happy approach, making the fit under Wilson and offensive coordinator Kevin Johns feel like a natural one, Benker said. (more…)
Indiana flipped UCF commit Phil Benker on Monday, making the Florida receiver the seventh member of a rapidly growing 2016 recruiting class.
Benker, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver, tweeted on Monday evening that he was switching his verbal pledge to Indiana. The Jacksonville, Fla. native was on campus for a visit last weekend.
“After long hard thoughts and discussions with my family I have decided to flip my commitment to Indiana University,” Benker wrote. “I would like to thank the UCF staff for allowing me to be (a part) of their family but we had to make a business decision! Excited for the future! #GoIU”
Benker is Indiana’s fourth commit in three days and the first receiver in its 2016 class. 247 Sports rates Benker as a three-star prospect, while Rivals gives him two stars. Benker was UCF’s first commitment of the 2016 class when he verballed in late March, choosing the Knights over offers from Wake Forest, Duke, Colorado, Troy and Alabama State.
Benker hauled in 59 passes for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior last season at Sandalwood High. His high school quarterback, Eli Peters, is an Illinois commit in the same class.
Benker’s commitment came only hours after three-star cornerback A’Shon Riggins announced his commitment to the Hoosiers. Those two followed three-star Georgia defensive lineman Allen Cater on Sunday and three-star safety Khalil Bryant on Saturday. They’re joined in the 2016 class by Alabama running back Tyus Flakes and Cincinnati prospects Peyton Ramsey, a quarterback, and defensive lineman Ryan Smith.
IU, Illinois and Purdue each have seven commitments for 2016, a three-way tie for the fewest in the conference. The other 11 Big Ten programs have at least 10 commitments, led by Michigan State’s 19.
All of the recruiting research done by Georgia defensive lineman Allen Cater gave him a good feeling that Indiana was the right fit.
He studied to find where Indiana is ranked in different majors, he liked what he found from the Kelley School of Business and felt comfortable with what he saw within IU’s football program. He liked the players he met and appreciated the close-knit locker room, too.
But it wasn’t until Cater and his family left home last weekend for a visit to Bloomington when he knew for sure that Indiana was the place for him.
“Going on that visit was pretty much my deciding point of how I felt being away from home,” Cater said. “It really did feel like a family.”
With that, Cater gave IU coach Kevin Wilson his verbal commitment for the Hoosiers’ 2016 class on Sunday afternoon. Cater, considered a three-star prospect by 247 Sports, expects to play defensive end at the next level.
The athletic 6-foot-5, 240-pound lineman is coming off a standout season at Mount Paran High in Kennesaw, Ga., and the Atlanta Journal Constitution tabbed him as the best defensive end at the local Elite Junior Classic all-star game in December. Rivals lists offers from Appalachian State, Cincinnati, UConn, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, among others.
But Cater said Indiana was at the top of the list, and his weekend visit sealed his plans. He hung out with redshirt freshmen defensive linemen Derrian Meminger and Mike Barwick and enjoyed a recruiting cookout at the facility on Saturday. There, he sat with current players while his parents got to know the coaching staff.
“They got a feel for (the family atmosphere) on their own,” Cater said.
Both defensive coordinator Brian Knorr and defensive line coach Larry McDaniel were both visible during his recruitment. While doing his research, Cater said he wanted to understand what it means to be a Hoosier.
Now that he’s been to campus, met the players and the staff, he has a good idea.
“Being a Hoosier means you gotta work,” Cater said. “You gotta be academically strong and you gotta be able to put in the work in the classroom. Then, after that, take that grind out of the classroom and into the athletic realm.”
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Forget about Thon Maker fitting into Indiana’s plans for next season.
Maker will not reclassify into the 2015 class, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Brozello, choosing to return to Ontario’s Orangeville Prep for his final year of high school. Maker had been considering enrolling at an American university midway through the 2015-16 season.
Borzello writes that part of Maker’s decision centers on the ability to play his brother, Matur, a highly-regarded member of the 2017 class. Matur also has an Indiana offer.
Indiana and Arizona State are reportedly the two schools making the most consistent contact with Maker’s camp.
“It’s helped him tremendously,” Maker’s guardian Ed Smith told ESPN. “Going into the Hoop Summit (in April), he was staying up until two, three o’clock in the morning. He wasn’t playing well. Once he knew (moving back to 2016) was a possibility, he got back into a rhythm. He’s feeling good. He’s playing really, really well right now.”
Indiana has one scholarship available for the upcoming season.
View more in Men's Basketball
Indiana has received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-2 sophomore post Linsey Marchese, according to her high school basketball team’s Twitter account.
The commitment would be Teri Moren’s first of the 2017 class. Last month, Moren and the Hoosiers received a verbal commitment from 2016 guard Ria Gulley (San Antonio, Texas), pairing her with forward Darby Foresman (Heritage Christian/Indianapolis).
Marchese hails from Dacula, Georgia, where she plays for Archer High School. She averaged 11 points, 5.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game as a sophomore.
Marchese currently has a three-star rating from ESPN.com and is a part of the ESPN HoopGurlz 100 Watch List.
View more in Women's Basketball
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