I’m here at Assembly Hall for the final day of the adidas May Classic. The championship brackets are playing out at gyms across the region today, and the 17-under game later today should be a good one.
If you live in Bloomington, you no doubt realized there was a big tournament in town. The players have been everywhere. The restaurants. The malls. The movie theaters.
This even generated an estimated $250,000 for the local economy last year when 120 teams participated. This year, 170 teams made the trip.
But I know what you’re most interested in is player tidbits. There’s been so many talented propects here this weekend, many of whom Indiana is following — or will soon begin following.
Here are a few notes that I don’t remember passing along on the blog yet:
– Christian Watford does plan on taking a visit to Indiana. It seems likely he will end up being invited for an official visit after Aug. 1, when Indiana is once again allowed to pay for prospects to take a trip to campus. Watford, a 6-7 forward out of Birmingham, said he didn’t know much about Indiana basketball but wants to find out. Watford is a top 30 player in the class of 2009.
– Terone Johnson, a 2010 guard prospect from North Central, is developing into the type of “glue” guard that former coach Kelvin Sampson loves. Playing up an age group for the 17-under Indiana Elite LNO, Johnson does so many things to help his team win. He’s extremely athletic and is getting better at taking the ball to the hole. Colleges, including Indiana, are noticing and have made contact with Johnson through intermediaries.
– One of Johnson’s AAU and high school teammates, Evan Gordon, has said that Indiana is recruiting him to its 2009 class. Gordon is obviously much less heralded than his older brother Eric and doesn’t have nearly the scoring touch. But he is a solid player who will develop into a very good point guard and defender at the college level. Most of his interest is coming from in-state schools, including Notre Dame, Purdue and Butler.
– Another Indiana Elite LNO prospect, 6-8 forward Patrick Bade of Franklin Central, will not end up playing for Indiana. His position is already too crowded with Bobby Capobianco and Derek Elston set to join the Hoosiers. But Bade will probably end up staying in the Midwest and playing for one of three schools: Purdue, Iowa or Butler.
– As our new intern, Matt Brose, reported in today’s paper, two players on the Spiece Indy Heat 16-under team are apparently getting interest from Indiana. One player, forward Travis Carroll, has been talked about around Indiana for sometime. He’s 6-9 and has good footwork even though he is still clearly growing into his body. The other player, Kennis White out of South Bend, is now emerging as an elite guard prospect.
– Kellen Sampson is here again today. He’s wearing a Milwaukee Bucks T-shirt.
Christian Watford, a small forward from Alabama, has played well this afternoon at Assembly Hall. I was working on some other stories (and eating lunch) so I don’t have full stats.
Watford’s 6-7 and has good body control around the rim. He’s clearly a Division I player. His M33M team just lost 79-65 to the Michigan Mustangs, though.
Leonard Washington played with Watford’s team and showed why he has the reputation for being a tenacious player under the rim. The 6-6 forward was originally a 2007 prospect out of Lake Charles, La., but had trouble qualifying. He spent last year at a prep school in Compton and is now qualified to play in 2008, he said.
He originally committed to USC and a media report last week said he had re-committed. Washington said that is not the case. He is considering USC, Memphis, LSU and Indiana. He hopes to have an unofficial visit with Tom Crean soon.
A report in today’s Washington Times stating that Jeremiah Rivers has decided to transfer from Georgetown to Indiana is not correct, sources close to the situation told The Herald-Times today.
Rivers is still in beginning stages of the process and has yet to take visits to some of the schools he is considering.
After three quarters, Indiana Elite leads 43 Hoops 52-35.
Jordan Hulls has nine points — on three 3-pointers — and five rebounds. He controlling the team well.
Capobianco has been rugged under the net and stretched out for an impressive tip-in minutes ago.
Indiana Elite — which features Indiana commit Bobby Capobianco and targets Jordan Hulls, Stephen Van Treese and Jordan Prosser — is currently playing 43 hoops in and up-and-down tussle on the court at Assembly Hall.
Elite is leading 23-14, but what’s making this game so exciting is the crowd. There’s a strong home-court advantage for Elite, which is based in Bloomington and has two South players (Hulls and David Blackwell) and former North star Ray McCallum (though he is injured and not playing).
But 43 Hoops has its share of fans here, too. Namely, other members of the program from different teams. They’re cheering as loudly as they can.
Sutton and Indiana Elite LNO win 69-63.
Sutton finishes with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
His sky for a put-back dunk was impressive, but this sequence late in the game said more about him as a player:
He succumbed to heavy pressure as Full Package Elite tried to make a furious comeback. His turnover gave the team some energy — and two points. But Sutton composed himself, and the next time down the floor he found open space. A teammate found him there, and Sutton didn’t shy from driving toward the rim. But instead of going up and trying to draw contact — and risking a no-call — he dished to a wide open teammate for the open bucket.
After the game, Sutton commented on how awesome it was to open The Herald-Times today and see his picture.
It’s Day 2, and the buzz here is Jeremiah Rivers. According to the Washington Times, which got the story from an unnamed source “close to the program,” Rivers will join Indiana this year and be eligible to play starting in 2009.
Rivers is transferring from Georgetown after two years. He’s also the son of Boston Celtic’s coach (and former Marquette star) Doc Rivers.
Rivers, 6-4 guard who is most noted for his defensive prowess, took an unofficial visit to Indiana yesterday and wore a Hoosier’s sweatshirt. But he was also heard telling people in the gym that he was still considering offers from other schools.
We’ll try to get confirmation on this as soon as we can.
But right now Maurice Sutton is playing his second game for Indiana Elite LNO right now. And he just seconds ago thrilled the crowd by skying over a scrum in front, grabbing a rebound high in the air and slamming the ball. He also drew a foul and hit his free throw to put his team ahead 42-37.
Guard Jeremiah Rivers intends to transfer from Georgetown to Indiana, according to the Washington Times.
The 6-4 RiversÂ was known asÂ Georgetown’s defensive specialist. He averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in 18 minutes per gameÂ as a sophomore last season.
His decision to transfer was reported in Thursday’s Washington Post, but it wasn’t until today that it was reported that IU would be his destination.
His dad, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, told the Boston Globe this week thatÂ JeremiahÂ was transferringÂ becauseÂ he wanted to play in a different system than the one at Georgetown.Â
“It’s something he wanted to do,” Doc Rivers said. “I loved where he was at. He wants to be happy in a different system. He loved Coach [John ] Thompson. I love Coach Thompson. It was a tough one.
“I didn’t try [to change his mind] because if I did and it didn’t work out then it’s Dad’s fault. I did try to show him where he was at as far as school. He was playing a lot and had a great chance to start the following year.
“Kids, sometimes they want to do things and you just support him. That’s what you do as a parent.”
Here’s a video by H-T photographer Jeremy Hogan showing Maurice Sutton Friday night at the May Classic in Bloomington.
The skinny 6-10 center from Maryland (in the Washington D.C. metro area) played well in a guest appearance for Indiana Elite. He didn’t play the first quarter while someone located jersey for him.
After Indiana Elite fell behind 19-2 with Sutton on the bench, he helped his team come back for a win with 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks in less than three quarters. He demonstrated athleticism and good passing skills for a big man.