Perea looks like the real deal

Maybe it was one of his two-handed dunks. Maybe it was the way he ran the floor with the ball. Maybe it was a windup jam on a fast break.

But a certain point, while watching Hanner Perea Saturday during the Indiana Spring Classic, I thought to myself, “Sweet Tijan, this kid is legit.”

Perea, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, is one of three A-Hope kids on the Indiana Elite Team Indiana roster. The other two, 7-footers Obij Aget and Peter Jurkin, are far beyond what the aformentioned Tijan and Bawa Muniru are at, or maybe ever could be.

But Perea (who is from Colombia) is special. Call him the Colombian Jack Rabbit. Call him, as one IU fan in attendance did, the Helicopterin’ Hoosier. But this kid can absolutely fly.

And he likes Indiana.

Indiana and Baylor are his final two schools, Perea said. He’ll decide a year from now which one to eventually go to, but he clearly likes both.

On Indiana: “I already know the coach from IU (Tom Crean). He’s a nice person, to me. He’s been talking to me about doing stuff, and I really believe him. I know that if I play for him, he’s going to help me get to the next level.”

On Baylor: “They play with the big men. They really use their big men. And their coach (Scott Drew) is a nice person too.”

It helps Indiana that Perea lives in Bloomington with A-Hope director Mark Adams when he is not in school at United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte, N.C. It’s allowed him to be in Bloomington and around the Indiana campus.

He and Jurkin were the two prospects Crean Tweeted about showing off what noted wordsmith Riley Crean has termed the “Chamber of Awesome” to.

It was the second time Perea and Jurkin had seen Cook Hall, and also the first opportunity to meet new assistant coach Steve McClain.

“I really like the campus,” Peraa said. “I have fun with (Crean) and Peter and the new coach they have (McClain). He’s a nice person too.

“I like everything. I like the basektball court. I lke all the training stuff they have. I like everything they have.”

Below is a highlight video of Perea. Like many a highlight video, it is mainly cut scenes of the big man jumping and dunking. But this time, it seems representative of who this kid is and how he plays.

“I’ve been dunking since I was 12-years-old, so right now that’s all I like to do,” Perea said. “That’s all I think about.”

Polk, Mayberry, Patterson, Wagner sign free agent deals

The Indiana draft hopefuls who didn’t have their hopes fulfilled are at least finding homes for camp.

Safety Nick Polk and linebacker Will Patterson have agreed to free agent contracts with the Houston Texans according to Polk. Linebacker Matt Mayberry has signed with the Chicago Bears according to his agent and tight end Troy Wagner has signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns according to his agent. With Rodger Saffold (second round, St. Louis Rams) Jammie Kirlew (Seventh round, Denver Broncos) and Ray Fisher (seventh round, Indianapolis Colts) all going in the draft, the only IU player with an agent whose plans are unknown at this time are those of defensive end Greg Middleton. His agent did not immediately (and by immediately, I literally mean in the last minute) return a call seeking comment.

More on this as it happens.

IU tradition paying off with Kaminski

INDIANAPOLIS — Kenny Kaminski, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward from Medina, Ohio, said Saturday he is down to three schools.

Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State are all vying for Kaminski’s services. He said he’ll decide at the end of the summer.

“It all comes down to where I feel comfortable,” Kaminski said. “I feel comfortable at Indiana and at Michigan State right now.”

Kaminski, who is playing with the Indiana Elite Team Indiana 16U team, has already seen Cook Hall, Indiana’s new practice facility. He said it is the best he has seen — “by far.”

“As soon as you walk, in you know,” Kaminski said. “The Indiana tradition, it’s crazy. None of the other schools have that tradition.”

Kaminski, who averaged 17 points and seven rebounds a game for his high school team last season, fits in to what Indiana has done in the past and what fits in Crean’s system — big men who can shoot the basketball.

“They want to keep that Indiana tradition,” Kaminski said. “I can shoot the ball a little bit, so it’s good.”

For his high school team, Kaminski is the big man in the middle. But playing for an AAU team that features two 7-footers (Obij Aget and Peter Jurkin) and 6-foot-8 Hanner Parea, he is able to play on the perimeter.

“I am mainly a shooter,” Kaminski said. “If I can’t find my shot, I dump it inside to one of our bigs. I am also one of our slashers, so that’s nice.”

He did that well on Saturday, making 3 3-pointers as part of his 13 points in a 88-31 win against the Southern Indiana Aces (a Greene County-based team).

Seventh round run on Hoosiers

The selection of cornerback Ray Fisher by the Indianapolis Colts makes it two Indiana football players taken in the seventh round. Jammie Kirlew was taken earlier in the draft by the Denver Broncos. We’ll have more on this as we get a hold of the principal parties.

Patterson’s improvement no accident

Ron Patterson said he has been shooting 300 jump shots a day in order to improve.

The Broad Ripple sophomore, playing this spring and summer for the 16U Indiana Elite One squad, said the attention to his outside shot has paid off.

“It worked out, pretty much” Patterson said.

It showed Saturday during the Indiana Spring Classic. Patterson scored a team-high 17 points in a 77-62 win.

That is not surprising — Patterson has always been a very good scorer. But how the points came were different — He made three 3-pointers and another long jump shot.

Patterson said he is in no rush to make a decision as to what college to attend. The 6-foot-3 wing has scholarship offers from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Tennesse, Xavier and Purdue.

Louisville and Minnesota have also been involved.

IU assistant coach Tim Buckley was among a sea of coaches who recently watched Patterson during an open gym workout.

“I love Indiana,” Patterson said. “They’re cool. It’s my home state.”

Patterson is playing high school basketball for famed coach Basil Mawbey, long known for his 2-3 defense. Patterson said Mawbey’s influence has had a predictable outcome.

“He makes me stay in front of my man and rebound when I need to,” Patterson said.

Saffold: “I still don’t know if this really happened.”

Finally got a hold of Rodger Saffold. The man has spent a lot of time on the phone tonight. My story for tomorrow follows.

Rodger Saffold was patient all night Thursday and wasn’t rewarded. He spent the entire evening at a restaurant in Cleveand with his eyes honed on the television and his cell phone close, hoping to become Indiana’s first first-round NFL Draft pick since 1994 only to watch 32 names come off the board that weren’t his.
But on Friday, he didn’t have to wait long at all. He gathered with family at the clubhouse lounge in his mother’s condominium complex and barely had a chance to settle in before the St. Louis Rams took him with the first pick of the second round and No. 33 overall.
“I basically sat and waited and had about four minutes and 37 seconds to be nervous,” Saffold said. “Next thing you know, I got the call. It was great to finally get that call.” (more…)

Well that wait didn’t last long…

After patiently waiting as 32 teams passed on him in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold didn’t have to wait long at all on Friday. The St. Louis Rams took him with the first pick of the second round, No. 33 overall. He’s the first Indiana second round pick since Tracy Porter and James Hardy in 2008 and he’s the highest Indiana selection since defensive end Nathan Davis went in the second round, No. 32 overall to the Atlanta Falcons in 1997.

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