Indiana received verbal commitments from three high school seniors today, bringing their potential class of 2008 to 10 at this early date.
The Hoosiers’ most recent commits are:
Chad Sherer, a RB/S/LB prospect from Hamilton Heights, Ind.
The 6-1, 195 standout for Cicero high school made his name as a tailback last season, rushing for 1,260 yards and 20 touchdowns. But he’ll probably play defense at the college level. Indiana offered him a scholarship after he attended camp in Bloomington last month. According to Scout.com, he also had an offer to play for Army.
Will Matte, an offensive lineman from Wheaton, Ill.
At Warrenville South, the 6-2, 263-pound Matte played center. He also attended camp at Indiana last month and received an offer then. According to Rivals.com, he also had offers from Ball State, Northern Illinois and Eastern Illinois.
Mark Damisch, an offensive lineman from Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Damisch fits the profile Indiana covets for its offensive lineman. He’s 6-6 and 275 pounds. According to Scout.com he had offers from Army, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Toledo and Western Michigan.
Billy Lynch recruited Sherer, while head coach Bill Lynch did the work to bring Matte and Damisch to Bloomington.
To hear audio of Bill Lynch’s entire speech, click here.
Indiana football coach Bill Lynch was the guest speaker Tuesday for the Bloomington Rotary meeting at the Indiana Memorial Union, drawing the club’s biggest turnout of the year.
Lynch, in talking about football, said many of the same things he’s been saying since spring football. He said that after being around some really good football teams in his 35 years of coaching and some not so good ones, you can see a difference in the chemistry of the two types of teams. “The ones that are really good, they have it,” he said. “I think we have it.”
Lynch drew laughs in saying he’s been around a couple of teams that weren’t even looking for it. That was just one of several times that Lynch – in one of his first forays as a public speaker since being named head coach – showed he can be pretty funny.
After being introduced by former Monroe circuit court judge Randy Bridges (also Cam Cameron’s father in law) as, among other things, the captain of the football and basketball teams at Butler, Lynch told a story about in his final basketball game at Butler guarding Larry Bird. “I personally held him to 47 points,” Lynch bragged.
But that game went better than a previous matchup that season with Indiana State. In Lynch’s first game against Bird, he thought he had the younger 6-9 player blocked out on a rebound only to watch Bird rise over him and dunk the ball so hard that it bounced off the floor and hit Lynch in the chin, causing him to bite his tongue. “So that was the first two of his 49 that night,” Lynch observed drily.
Lynch also had a sense of humor in talking about his team, which he said is deeper and doesn’t have an obvious hole or two that needs to be filled, as has been the case in previous years. But he did say that following the departure of senior Tyson Beattie, the coaching staff hasn’t yet settled on a replacement.
“We’re going to find a punter,” he said. “If not, by rule we can go for it on fourth down.”
On a more serious note, an audience member asked Lynch how he would make the team his own. He said that he’s not worried about that because what Hoeppner has left behind is a cohesive staff – most with long ties to Hoeppner and/or Lynch – that’s ready to carry on in the direction Hoeppner got started.
“I learned a long time ago that it’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t worry about who gets the credit,” Lynch said. “We know this football team’s strength, its weaknesses and the players’ personalities, and they know us. It’s going to be Indiana University’s football team and I think it’s going to be a good one.”
You’ve all wondered how Doug spends his weekend. Now you know: he dresses up in goofy outfits and sits in public parks.
Doug’s table was a winner at the Picnic with the Pops this past Saturday. I’m told it was a tough contest to judge, but Doug’s free-spirited ways were truly reminiscent of the 1970s and swayed the judges.
Now, he won’t take off that tie dyed shirt.
To the left in this picture, by the way, is Doug’s girlfriend Julie. She makes her Hoosier Scoop debut, although all you can see is her back. Thanks to H-T photographer Monty Howell for snapping this photo and loading into our system so I could find it and post it here and endanger my status as an employee.
Though one is based on religion and the other is a Federal holiday, Christmas and Independence Day (aka The Fourth of July) seem to be the two celebrations that are most often used to define us as a nation.
While Christmas (substitute Hanukkah, if need be) usually turns out to be a good time where everybody emerges with new toys or at least a better wardrobe, I prefer the summer celebration of the birth of our country. What could be more American that sitting through sweltering parades, drinking a few cold brews, burning up some meat on the grill and finishing it all off my making things explode in the sky? What a country.
Hopefully you’ve all got some sort of family gathering planned for Wednesday. I’m as cynical as the next guy, but it’s hard not to think about how important family is after what happened with Terry Hoeppner. You just never know how long you’ll have together. And, as a favorite writer of mine, Richard Ford, once wrote in his novel “The Sportswriter,” you must always do your best to avoid regret. Ford, instructively, set all three of his books about Frank Bascomb during holidays. Family seems to come into focus then.
But enough of my literary musings. If you’ve come to this blog for book recommendations you’ve strayed too far and should probably be re-evaluating your very existence.
On to a brief outline of our planned coverage for the week: I’m hoping to speak with Dan Dakich, the Hoosier who’s returned to Bloomington to become Kelvin Sampson’s director of basketball operations. Looking forward to that one.
Could there be some recruiting news this week? Well, it’s summer, so no doubt. The AAU circuit is about to kick back up and maybe I can provide a peek at what to expect from that.
Doug has a few things working, as always.
Lynn Houser has an interesting story about a new semi-pro football team starting in the area. I think that will run in Tuesday’s paper, and you should definitely take a look at that.
So, what’s up with you guys? Any questions or suggestions? Got a recipe for a good Forth of July side dish you’d care to share? Anything. Just let me know you’re out there.
The United States men’s Under-20 national team begins play today in group D of World Cup play. The team, which includes Indiana back Ofori Sarkodie, opens with South Korea at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
It appears as though Sarkodie has been unable to displace Vanderbilt defender Julian Valentin from the starting spot at center back. Valentin is a year older and a slightly more physical player.
If you’ve got ESPNU you can watch the game live starting at 5 p.m. Otherwise, you can follow along at www.ussoccer.com through MatchTracker.
According to a report coming from a Purdue site, the Hoosiers and Boilermakers will play each other in men’s basketball only once next year.
This makes about as much sense as having Ohio State rotate off Michigan’s schedule in football. Which the Big Ten had the foresight to ensure would never happen.
Now that the conference has decided on an 18-game league schedule for hoops, each team will play two other teams just once. But failing to capitalize on an in-state rivalry that is about to explode because of the infusion of in-state talent on both teams is ludicrous. Indiana and Purdue fans are excited about their respective recruiting classes and have been bragging and baiting each other on message boards for months and months. What will they do to release the tension if their teams only get to, you know, actually play a freakin’ game of basketball once this season?
But this, after all, is the Big Ten we are talking about. As I type, Doug is huddled over in his expansive cubicle — oh, to be the sports editor — muttering in low tones to himself. I should explain that this is actually normal behavior when he’s trying to write. But today I’m worried about him. See, he’s been trying to sort out this Big Ten Network v. Comcast fiasco. His sources are telling him that eventually a deal will be in place so that Comcast customers — which current Insight subscribers in Bloomington will soon become — can get the network. But for now both sides are talking the big talk. Think back to the playground in 2nd grade when the two bullies shouted back and forth loudly and angrily before little Mrs. (insert your teacher’s name here) grabbed them both by the ear and they cried like the little wimps they actually were. OK, maybe I went overboard there but I’m trying to get Big Ten commission Jim Delaney to put out a press release demanding an apology from me.
Back to the TV stuff. Indiana’s season opener against Indiana State will be shown only on the Big Ten Network. Same with the Akron game two weeks later, and the game at Michigan State on Oct. 13. (Coincidentally, the Hoosiers’ game at Western Michigan on Sept. 8 will be shown on ESPNU.) Insight isn’t saying much about its negotiations with the Big Ten, and Comcast will take over in Bloomington starting in 2008.
So that Eshaunte Jones news kind of flew in out of nowhere. The Fort Wayne North Side graduate has backed off his commitment to the Hoosiers and will look at other schools.
Doug, who is our basketball columnist, does not see this is a big loss for the Hoosiers. Jones was a very small part of the recent Indiana All-Stars team and really appears to need work on everything except outside shooting. With Devin Ebanks — a top 10 player in his class — and Bud Mackey — who is better than most people realize — already committed, Indiana shouldn’t have a problem filling out the class. Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson seems to be a guy who’d prefer to carefully craft a class rather than sign the five or six best guys. He desperately needs size and inside presence in the 2008 class — since Ebanks plays so much on the wing — and probably wouldn’t mind grabbing another guard, particularly a true point guard prospect if he’s out there. Mackey has been mentioned as the guy to fill that role but I don’t think that will be the case. This upcoming year I think you’ll see Armon Bassett and Eric Gordon share the point guard position. At times you won’t even be able to tell who’s actually running it. I think Mackey is best used slipping into Gordon’s spot if E.J. leaves early for the NBA.
Doug spoke with Indiana football coach Bill Lynch today, and he may be along to offer his thoughts of that interview. If not, you can read his story in Sunday’s paper. Enjoy the weekend.
Our story from tomorrow’s paper. Today. For you. For free. For real.
On a day when Indianaâ€™s recruiting class for 2008 could have grown, it unexpectedly shrank instead.
Eshaunte Jones, a guard from Fort Wayne, announced early Thursday that he has reopened his recruitment. A few hours later, at a press conference in Saginaw, Mich., forward Draymond Green said that he planned to play for Michigan State in 2008, not Indiana.
Jones, who graduated from Fort Wayne North Side but plans on attending Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia for a year, called Indianaâ€™s coaches Wednesday to tell them that heâ€™s considering other schools. He said heâ€™ll visit UCLA, Missouri and Kentucky. Heâ€™s also still interested in Indiana.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t the Indiana coaches or anything,â€ Jones said. â€œI still like them a lot. I just thought I needed to look at other schools. I felt like I hadnâ€™t really taken the time to make the decision.â€
Kelvin Sampson and his staff tried to persuade Jones into traveling to Bloomington for an in-person discussion, but Jones said he thought that would be inappropriate.
â€œIâ€™m 100 percent sure that this is what I want to do,â€ Jones said. â€œI just want to see what else is out there and leave my options open.â€
Jones is smooth shooter who was slotted into Indianaâ€™s long-range plan as an outside threat to replace A.J. Ratliff and Eric Gordon, should he leave early for the NBA.
Green, a 6-6 forward with a strong mid-range game, originally committed to Kentucky. He changed his mind when Tubby Smith left for Minnesota and had been considering Michigan and Indiana before settling on the Spartans.
â€œState is where my heart is,â€ he said.
Bud Mackey, a guard from Kentucky, and Devin Ebanks, a forward from New York, now comprise Indianaâ€™s class of 2008.