No time for an intro, here we go:
Eli Holman received his SAT grades last week. How did he do? It appears no one outside of Holman’s circle and maybe IU knows. I’ve made countless attempts, via e-mail and phone, the past couple of days to get a hold of Holman’s spokesperson Lonnie Coleman but have had no success. I’ve also tried calling Holman’s cell phone for the last few days, but it has conveniently been turned off.
The conspiracy theorists out there might deduct that this means maybe Holman didn’t do so hot. If you remember, Holman’s grades were in question earlier this school year. If Holman were to have done poorly on his SATs he might be forced to go to prep school. If that were the case, the Hoosiers would have (gasp) another scholarship available. I hear some kid who was going to Texas A&M might be available…
On the same note, that kid, DeAndre Jordan, has also been a difficult player to track down. Despite his AAU coaches listing their contact information publicly, I have a better chance of getting a hold of the golden snitch at this point. From initial reports, it does appear Jordan is leaning towards staying at A&M, but weirder things have happened (this week).
And lastly, an interesting story I can’t get out of my head. Many of you know the story of Beas Hamga now, but there is a player in a similar situation by the name of Emmanuel Negedu. Negedu players in New Hampshire for Brewster Academy, but will return this summer to play for the Indiana Elite.
I was talking to one Bloomington high school player who has played with both Hamga and Negedu. The player raved about Negedu’s athleticism. He said he saw Negedu at the Sportsplex once, jumping from a stand still, touch above the white box on the backboard. The Bloomington athlete, who can dunk easily and is a physical specimen of his own, said he has never seen a vertical jump like Negedu’s.
Negedu is reportedly considering several schools; one of the schools included is Indiana.
Sports Illustrated’s senior writer Frank Deford — unquestionably one of the top magazine writers of his generation — spoke to an almost-packed Alumni Hall Wednesday night. My column in today’s paper deals with the content of that speech.
Deford also met with students from the j-school earlier in the day. A few interlopers did make their way into the question and answer session, and I had a chance to ask Deford about a profile of Bob Knight he wrote in the early 1980s. Eventually titled “The Rabbit Hunter” and included in the book The Best American Sports Writing of the Century, Deford’s piece created the first layer of paint in the mural we now know as Bob Knight: a complicated, stirring man capable of building seemingly anything he wanted if it weren’t for his penchant to be irrevocably set on self-destruction.
Amazingly enough, Deford said that Knight received the story well. In fact, Deford said that he thought Knight’s pleasure with his story is what convinced him to later let John Feinstein have access for his book A Season on the Brink, which Knight hated only 15 or 20 times more than losing to Purdue twice in the same season.
If you’re a Knight fan or a Knight detractor — and inevitably you are one of those two if you take time to read this blog — you should find a copy of “The Rabbit Hunter.” There are few sports articles that can match its depth.
Deford comments in the story that Knight knows journalism better than some of the journalists who covered Indiana knew basketball.
If you read the story, I think you may agree with me on this: 30 years ago, Deford came to know Bob Knight better than Bob Knight knows Bob Knight today.
Chipola (Fla.) Junior College forward DeAndre Thomas has signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Indiana next fall. His letter was faxed to Indiana earlier today.
Thomas, who stands 6-8 and about 300 pounds, in a longtime teammate of Jamarcus Ellis, who will also join the Hoosiers for next year. Ellis and Thomas led Chipola to the National JUCO final but lost. They also grew up and played together in Chicago.
Here’s the official release:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Â DeAndre Thomas, a 6-8, 295-pound forward from Chicago,
Ill., (Chipola [Fla.] Junior College), has signed a National Letter of
Intent to continue his basketball career at Indiana University, Hoosier Head
Coach Kelvin Sampson announced on Wednesday.
Sampson feels Thomas can help the Hoosiers in one of the team’s most
critical areas of need.
“One of the areas we feel we need to improve is scoring around the basket,”
Sampson said. “DeAndre will have an opportunity to really help us because we
have a need for the things he does well. He has a chance to be a really good
player. DeAndre was an outstanding high school player and a part of one of
the top junior college programs in the nation. He is a great teammate, has a
great personality and everyone will enjoy getting to know him.”
Thomas is the sixth member of the Hoosiers’ recruiting class, which ranks in
the top 10 nationally according to most recruiting services, and was a
teammate of fellow signee Jamarcus Ellis at Chipola and Westinghouse High
School. He joins Ellis, a 6-5, 200-pound guard; Indiana Mr. Basketball Eric
Gordon, a 6-4, 205-pound guard from Indianapolis North Central High School;
Eli Holman, a 6-9, 210-pound center from Richmond (Calif.) High School;
Jordan Crawford, a 6-4, 190-pound guard from Detroit, Mich. (Hargrave [Va.]
Military Academy) and Brandon McGee, a 6-7, 220-pound forward from Chicago
Crane High School.
“I’m excited to be a Hoosier,” Thomas said. “I feel great and can’t wait to
get on campus. Indiana is a great program and it will be an honor to play
for Coach Sampson and to continue playing with Jamarcus.”
Thomas averaged 14.9 points and 5.8 rebounds at Chipola last season while
shooting 60.7 percent from the field. He helped Chipola to a runner-up
finish in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)
“DeAndre is a low block scoring machine,” Chipola Head Coach Greg Heiar
said. “He has great hands, quick feet and is a very good decision-maker. He
understands how to pass from the post and is a great scorer with his back to
the basket. I’m proud of DeAndre for heading to a great institution like
Indiana with so much basketball tradition and think he will be very
“DeAndre is a big man with really outstanding skills,” Jerry Mullen,
considered the top evaluator of junior college student-athletes, said.
“Indiana is getting a highly skilled athlete who knows how to win and is an
outstanding team player. DeAndre is very nimble, can pass the ball, score
inside and knows how to play. He really has a great feel for the game and
the sky is the limit for him.”
This year’s Cream and Crimson spring football game is going to have two separate teams, but it won’t be like some years when the best offensive and best defensive players are divided among the two teams.
The game will have the first-team offense and second-team defense on one team; and the first-team defense and second-team offense on the other team.
The good points of this format, I think, are that what we’ll see should look something like a real game, not a scrimmage, because there are two separate teams (which hasn’t always been the case in recent years) and we’ll see the first-team offense matched up against the first-team defense.
If there’s a bad side, it’s that you’ll see a lot of the second-team offense playing against the second-team defense, which may not be what fans are looking for, and which could be what decides who wins the scrimmage.
The 3 p.m. game Saturday at Memorial Stadium will have four 12-minute quarters and a 10-minute half. There will be no kickoffs. After a score, the ball will be placed at the 30.
With spring football in full bloom and questions sprouting up about whether any of the Hoosier basketball players will transfer, there will be plenty to discuss in this week’s live Q&A. Please send your questions and share your thoughts – and we’ll even try to add a little something to the conversation.
Just click here to join the live discussion.
I couldn’t fit everything into my recruiting column this morning, so I thought I would add a couple of interesting things that I left out.
First of all, if you haven’t checked out the Indiana Elite’s webpage, you should (www.bloomingtonaau.com). Hamga’s team is stacked. They are 1-2 players short of the Dream Team the U.S. sent over to Barcelona.
Hamga said that the most important things he looks for in a school is the basketball program and the coach. His English is a little raw, he is fluent in French but has been in America for less than two
years, but was really polite and genuine with his answers.
Hamga’s coach, Mark Adams, said that since Hamga is from Cameroon, “he doesn’t know a whole lot about IU’s tradition, but he knows IU has won several championships and that they are a Big 10 school with a big time program.”
Adams marvelled at Hamga’s ability to block shots and rebound. For one reason or another, Adams said, shot-blocking comes naturally to the big man.
Hamga faced another big man the Hoosiers are looking at, DeAndre Jordan, while he was playing for his high school team this season. Adams said that Hamga had about 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks that game while holding Jordan (the top center in the class of 2007) to 15 pointis, five rebounds and two blocks.
Towards the end of the interview, Adams said Hamga’s college decision is his own. “But it would be nice for me to be able to go to games.”
Courtesy of Mark Adams
I wish I could be Beas Hamga for a day. That’s Hamga above grabbing the rim without leaving his feet. While standing flat on his feet, Hamga’s reach is 9-foot, 6 inches.
The scoreless scrimmage just finished. We’re headed down for interviews.
OK, another trick play on the first and goal play, and the Hoosier offense committed a penalty and was pushed back 15 yards. No touchdown again.
With a 21 yard pass from Lewis to Blake Powers it looks like the Hoosier offense is going to finall score, it’s first and goal from the 3.
Two nice reverses – 18 yards for Andrew Means and 30 for Ray Fisher – got the No. 2 offense down to the 20, but the defense was able to stop the drive there to maintain its shutout.
We’re more than an hour into this and still haven’t seen a touchdown. Not a good day for the offense. The “crowd”, which had at one point swelled to more than 100 people is back down to closer to 50.
Big scoop here — Marcus Thigpen is good. He just returned a kickoff about 60 yards.
The Hoosiers are doing some live punting practice now. The freshman they’ve brought into punt this year, Chris Hagerup, has not been impressive in the open practices so far and he’s struggling again today.
An update on William Keglar. He’s here, but he isn’t dressed to play. He was optimistic about playing through his foot injury, but that isn’t happening today.
The scoring threat fizzles as Chappell throws incomplete on 4th and 10 from the 11. After completing his first six passes, Chappell missed three straight after the Hoosiers got a 1st and 10 at the 11. The Hoosiers also tried a trick play there, but I’ll likely be banned for life by IU if I divulge anything more about that play.
Oh, and there was another blocked field goal, this time by Fabienne Boone as the coaching staff set the offense up for a short attempt by Kevin Trulock.
The No. 2 offense finally has something going. They’re on the 11 yard line after Chappell completed consecutive passes – 25 yards to Brandon Walker-Roby and 18 yards to Terrence Turner. Chappell is 6-of-7 so far.
The No. 1 defense is still having a good day against the No. 1 offense. I have Kellen Lewis at 3-of-7 for just 27 yards on this cold morning. Demetrius McCray had a 15-yard run, but other than that, the offense isn’t doing much. And when the coaches just moved the ball forward to practice a field goal, Tracy Porter blocked Austin Starr’s attempt.
We’re about half an hour into this scrimmage and there aren’t any touchdowns yet.
We just had a nice little fight on the field with several guys on the No. 2 offense and defense throwing punches. Anything to get warmed up, I guess.
Ben Chappell is off to a good start, 3-for-3 in passing, with the No. 2 offense.
Polk is playing with the No. 1 defense at safety, alongside Austin Thomas. The defense is having the best of it early as the Hoosiers are primarily running the ball.
We’re finally underway. Kellen Lewis ran for 11 yards on the first play, but Thigpen fumbled it on the next one.
It’s 10:45 and the team is still going through some warm-up drills. I imagine they will be underway soon.
The Hoosiers are out on the field warming up. Perhaps 50 brave fans are now in the stands. I think we should invite them up into the press box, which has seating for more than 100 and is currently occupied by about six reporters and three or four IU media relations employees.
It’s a few minutes past 10, but there’s only a few people in the stadium and the Hoosiers haven’t taken the field yet for their scheduled 10 a.m. scrimmage.
The word here is that the players will come out at about 10:15. The scrimmage is starting late in hopes the temperature will rise a few degrees. We are in the press box here, which is warm, but I don’t envy the perhaps 20 fans in the stands right now. There was a strong, cold wind outside the stadium as we walked in. As local radio announcer Joe Smith just said, November football weather is here!