Crean’s ‘Bama bound


Ernest Watford saw the way his son, Christian, has been wooed by major college basketball programs all summer.

Ernest was there at Indiana’s elite camp in late August to hear the Hoosiers’ coaching gush about how much his son, a smooth 6-foot-7 wing, would bring to the program. He had the chance to talk to Isaih Thomas and D.J. White “at length about all things Indiana basketball.”

Yet Ernest was not convinced that Indiana and its new coach would be right for his son.

So he called around.

“I won’t say who,” he said on Monday. “Just people who knew coach Crean before he was at Indiana. Parents who dealt with him, some other coaches. People who’d know.”

And?

“Nothing but positive,” he said. “He’s a man of integrity and honor. And he’s going to have faith in Christian’s ability. He’s going to let him play, he’s going to give him room.”

With that, Ernest was convinced.

Later Tuesday, Crean will get a chance to convince Christian just how coveted he is.

College basketball coaches can return to the recruiting trail Tuesday, and Crean, direct as always, will not stray from trying to lure one of the players who has been at the top of his list.

Crean is expected to visit Shades Valley Technical Academy in Birmingham, Ala. in the afternoon to see Watford work out there.

Later, the Watfords will gather — probably at the dinner table — to discuss Christian’s recruiting.

“We’ve never really put a schedule on the process,” Ernest Watford said. “We just take it as it goes and talk about it every night. We’re just trying to figure what’s best for Christian.”

Ernest does have one reservation with Indiana.

“I’m kind of leery about what the NCAA is going to do,” he said. “But I don’t think anyone knows what will happen there.”

IU owes the NCAA committee on infractions a response to the “failure to monitor” charge levied against its athletic department by Sept. 17. The committee is expected to then rule on the case against Indiana basketball, which includes a total of five major violations, in four to six weeks.

A Watford commitment would give Indiana’s class of 2009 — which Rivals.com ranks the ninth-best in the country — a fifth player and its first  versatile, bonafide scorer at the Division I level.

“They talked about him being really a next level guy,” Ernest said about Indiana’s coaching staff. “With his length and athleticism he’s a constant match-up problem and they think he can score.”

Ernest Watford put no time-line on when his son would announce a decision but called Indiana “a high possibility” and “indisputably, hands-down one of the top three programs of all time.”

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One comment:

  • Steve O #1


    Tuesday, September 9, 2008 - 11:11 AM EDT

    This is huge!

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