Wilson: Hoosiers “Mentally weak” right now

Kevin Wilson kept his new football team on the field a half-hour longer than he expected to on Tuesday and he still wasn’t thrilled at it once it was over.

Indiana’s new coach wasn’t specific on what upset him but made it clear that he wanted to see more than what he was seeing.

“They’re mentally not as well-conditioned as they are physically,” Wilson said when asked about the team’s conditioning level. “We mentally are weak. Mentally fatigue, we’re not a mentally tough team. I think physically we can go out there and run, but I think we get tired a little too quick when we practice. It’s just playing through it, learning through it, growing through it. … It’s repetition, day after day. It’s why we’re late today.”

Wilson suggested he could see this group getting better, but he said he also hopes it gets better immediately with an injection of talent from the incoming freshmen. Wilson has already made it clear that redshirting players will not be nearly as vital to his philosophy as it was to former coach Bill Lynch’s. On Tuesday, he suggested that the use of freshmen would be even more prominent than he had previously indicated.

“Our plan is to play as many freshmen as we can,” Wilson said. “From watching some of our guys, I would hope some of our freshmen are better than the guys that we have on our team.” (more…)

Rivers prepping for Portsmouth

Jeremiah Rivers said he’s taking the same approach to the Portsmouth Invitational that he took to his senior season at Indiana — don’t try to do too much.

Rivers believes his best shot at a professional career either in the NBA or elsewhere is to prove that he’s willing to be a role player and that he will be willing to do the less glamorous things to help his team win.

“Competing and winning,” Rivers said when asked what his focus was at the camp. “I don’t think at a camp like this, showing that I’m the best scorer or showing that I can jump the highest or showing that I can do all these different things, I don’t think that’s what the NBA scouts and the overseas scouts are looking for. They’re looking for winners. They’re for someone that can help the team in any situation. They’re not looking for Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. There are very seldom few of them if any at all.  … The best way for me is to go in and compete and do what I’m best at.”

Rivers said he is focusing on some of the points of his game where he has had trouble in the past. He has spent the last two weeks in Boston working with father Doc, the Celtics coach. He said he’s working on free throws and on the finer points of being a point guard.

“(My dad) just told me to do what I know and play my game,” Rivers said. “‘You don’t need to show anybody what you can’t do or try to prove to them what you can do something. Just play your game. Don’t get caught up in thinking, ‘Everybody’s watching me, I gotta plays this way, or I gotta show them I’m a great player.’ He said, ‘Don’t even worry about that. Go out there and enjoy basketball compete and win, and everything else will take care of itself.’ My dad’s been there, he’s done it all. I trust him more than anything. That’s what I plan on doing. Taking his advice and I’m going with it.”

Hollowell expected to join other 2012 commitments on Indiana Elite

A source confirmed a report from the Indianpolis Star’s Kyle Neddenriep on Tuesday that Lawrence Central swingman and Indiana commitment Jeremy Hollowell will join IU’s other four verbal commitments for 2012 on the Indiana Elite Team Indiana travel team this summer.

Hollowell had been playing his summer ball with the Eric Gordon All-Stars. Park Tudor guard Yogi Ferrell, Broad Ripple guard Ron Patterson, La Lumiere forward Hanner Perea and United Faith Christian Academy (N.C.) center Peter Jurkin were already slated to be on the roster. All four were part of the Indiana Elite program last year, though only Perea and Jurkin played together then.

Report: Moser to be named Loyola coach; IU’s Buckley was candidate

This was out yesterday, but is reporting that former Illinois State coach and current St. Louis assistant coach Porter Moser will be named the coach at Loyola (Ill.) this week.

Indiana assistant Tim Buckley had been in the running for that position. Buckley was also reportedly a finalist for the head coaching job at Northern Illinois, which went to Michigan State assistant Mark Montgomery.

Rivers playing at Portsmouth Invitational

A source confirmed a report by’s Adrian Wojnarowski that graduating Indiana guard Jeremiah Rivers has been added as a late addition for the Portsmouth Invitational, which begins Wednesday.

The Portsmouth Invitational is an annual tournament held at Churchland H.S. in Portsmouth, Va., that invites 64 top college seniors to play in a tournament watched by scouts from the NBA, NBA Development League and European Leagues. Other Big Ten invitees include Penn State’s Talor Battle, Illinois’ Mike Davis, Ohio State’s Jon Diebler, Minnesota’s Blake Hoffarber, and Michigan State’s Durrell Summers. Rivers, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, averaged 3.8 points and 3.0 rebounds this season, but is considered the Hoosiers’ best defender.

Report: Kelvin Sampson’s manager violated NCAA rules for Indiana, Kentucky

Bilal Batley contacted one former recruit for Indiana, according to a report.

Batley was at Indiana for one season – 2007-08. He worked with former coach Kelvin Sampson at Oklahoma and eventually followed him to Indiana. However, the report alleges Batley was working for the Hoosiers during the 2006-07 season (when he was still at Oklahoma) and visited Nolan Dennis during that time.

From the report:

While working for the Hoosiers, Batley attended several high school games of then-highly touted recruit Nolan Dennis, a shooting guard out of Richland Hills, Texas, according to Richard Bacon, Dennis’ high school coach.

“Somehow or another they got real close,” Bacon said. “They spent a lot of time together. Bilal was at a lot of our games his sophomore year. I didn’t even know who he was until I saw him at our games.”

But Dennis had attended a Dynasty Elite Camp that Batley ran for top recruits just outside of Memphis in the summer of 2006 while Batley was in between jobs at Oklahoma and Indiana. It was also attended by Cousins, current North Carolina sophomores Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald, current Memphis freshman point guard Joe Jackson and current Portland Trailblazers rookie guard Elliot Williams.

Indiana eventually rose to the top of Dennis’ list, but Sampson resigned in February 2008 after an NCAA report charged him with five major rules violations, which included violating the telephone recruiting restrictions imposed on him for his actions at Oklahoma.

Dennis ended up committing to Memphis in July 2008 – about a month before Batley joined Calipari and the Tigers as assistant director of basketball operations/manager. While Batley was at Indiana and Memphis, Dennis said he received calls from him.

The story is largely about John Calipari, who Batley did work for and develop connections with DeMarcus Cousins that led the big man (now with the Sacramento Kings) to Memphis and then Kentucky. So Indiana is a small part of this and the timeline does not match up, but it is out there.

Batley did not have any connections to Tom Crean. Indiana was unavailable for comment.

Batley now coaches at Navarro Junior College.

Hoosier WR’s: Johns a perfectionist

Kevin Johns didn’t get the nod from as the best wide receivers coach in the Big Ten because his guys were the best at catching jump balls or at scorching their defenders on go routes.

In his four years coaching the wideouts at Northwestern, he never had the league’s tallest or fastest athletes, but Johns made the most out of a cerebral group and coached two receivers with ordinary athleticism by Big Ten standards to all-conference honors. Jeremy Ebert was a first-team pick this year and Zeke Markshausen was a second-teamer a season ago. (more…)


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