Indiana commitments to sign Thursday

The college basketball early signing period began on Wednesday, but all three Indiana commitments opted to wait and hold their signing day ceremonies Thursday.

Marion guard James Blackmon Jr. will sign at his school at 11:30 a.m. today and guard Robert Johnson of Benedictine High School in Chesterfield, Va., will sign at 3 p.m. at his old elementary school. Max Hoetzel, a swingman and a California native playing at Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts, will sign at his school at 3:30 p.m.

The Hoosiers signed a smaller class this year than in the last two seasons and they failed to break the Top 10 in the rankings after signing the No. 6 Class of 2013 and the No. 5 class of 2012. Even with just three players, though, the Hoosiers currently have the No. 13 spot according to Rivals in the 2014 class.

It has been a strange recruiting campaign for Indiana coach Tom Crean, who got his first two commitments for the class in the fall of 2010 in Blackmon and Tech forward Trey Lyles. Lyles de-committed in the summer of 2012 however and Blackmon Jr. de-committed this August. The Hoosiers were finalists for several Top 100 recruits including No. 14 Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall), No. 19 Theo Pinson (North Carolina), No. 20 Devin Robinson (Florida), No. 32 Goodluck Okonoboh (UNLV) and No. 61 Louralws “Tum-Tum” Nairn (Michigan State) only to fall short to other schools.

However, they also beat out North Carolina for Johnson, a 6-foot-3 smooth shooting guard and the No. 42 player in the nation. Though Lyles committed to Kentucky, Blackmon, the No. 23 player, re-committed to the Hoosiers on Halloween night after opening his recruitment and being courted by Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan and others. Indiana also got Hoetzel, an un-rated three-star recruit, just as he was starting to draw recruiting attention.
The Hoosiers were only scheduled to have two scholarships open after this season, which means they will be oversigned by one with this class. It is still possible that they could add a player in the spring, however. Indiana was oversigned by three as of signing day last season, but four scholarships opened up thanks to the early NBA Draft entry of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo and the transfers of guards Remy Abell and Maurice Creek.

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  • Higgi #1

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 2:06 AM EST

    It’s apparent from the game yesterday that IU Basketball needs shooters – the 2014 Class can shoot the ball!

    Would have loved to see Devin Robinson commit to IU, but Max has the potential to become one hell of a player…

  • John Temple #2

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 9:51 AM EST

    It is also apparent that Indiana has trouble recruiting the top “bigs” in the country. No disrespect to Max Hoetzel, but he is a shooting small forward and IU desperately needs talent at power forward and center behind or with Vonleh. There appears to be apperception out there that Crean is a guards coach, possibly not undeserved. Until IU can recruit talent and depth on the front line, getting past the round of 16 will be very difficult.

  • PB #3

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 11:20 AM EST

    @John Temple – Every team in the country, except maybe Kentucky struggles to consistently recruit the top “bigs” because there are only 12-15 recruits that fit that category a year. And Hanner qualified as a top “big” meaning some of the those guys are raw and not game ready. And many of those stick with schools close to home and so they aren’t national recruits that IU even has a chance with. So that means IU is competing with the rest of the country for 6 or 7 guys.

    Considering that, IU is in pretty good shape bringing in Zeller, Vonleh, and Hanner in the last 3 years. During this time span, the rest of the Big Ten has only pulled in 2 “top bigs” – Myers Leonard and Mitch McGary, both of whom were rated below than Zeller and Vonleh.

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