You’ve clamored for it. And I suppose that, as Indiana fans, you’ve become accustomed to new news coming daily — nay, hourly — after the past couple of bizarrely eventful years. So, let me feed your need (here’s looking at you, Boombaby.)
Emmanuel Negedu, he of the soaring dunks and limitless hustle, apparently got into town a little bit late on Tuesday. Though I haven’t reached Negedu or any of his closest confidants, I have spoken to a few people who are aware of how things have progressed. Due to the late start, Negedu extended the visit in his attempt to get to know Tom Crean and the rest of the coaching staff.
The situation at Indiana is markedly different from the ones at Memphis, Tennessee or even Georgia Tech. First off, Negedu knows those coaching staffs and can look at their recent histories for an indication of what types of teams they will have. Also, you can tell a lot about those programs simply by looking at the rosters they’ll have next season; Tennessee and Georgia Tech return the heart of their respective teams while Memphis loses its stars but has new ones lined up in a top recruiting class. At Indiana, of course, the situation is much less stable with just three returning players and a hodge-podge recruiting class that must fit into a system that worked in the Big East but will probably need to be tweaked to fit the personnel available and the grinding Big Ten style.
So the Indiana visit, I’ve been told, is much more of a fact-finding visit for Negedu. You’ve heard kids talk about the “feeling” they get about a school, and that’s what so many of them are hoping to find when they step on campus. So coaches do whatever they can to create the feeling: they show off the banners, they drive through the campus on golf carts, they hang a jersey with the prospect’s number in the middle stall of the locker room.
That approach doesn’t seem to be the one that will win convince this recruit. Negedu has spent plenty of time in Bloomington but has too many questions that need to be answered about the IU program now that it is in the care of Tom Crean before he can allow himself to have the “feeling” that would lead to his commitment.
Negedu has visits planned to the three other schools he is considering and will make a decision sometime after June 12. A 6-7 forward and product of the Bloomington-based Indiana Elite AAU program, he is the best unsigned high school player in the class of 2008. He requested and received his release from Arizona last month because he was upset by the staff changes there and what he perceived to be a lack of honesty by the school.