The No. 2 small forward in the class of 2008 is no longer committed to Indiana.
Devin Ebanks, a 6-9 wing from New York City, has requested a release from the letter of intent he signed with Indiana in November. Indiana will honor his request because Ebanks negotiated an out in the agreement in the event that Kelvin Sampson no longer be the coach of the Hoosiers’ basketball team.
A New York source told The Herald-Times Tuesday that Ebanks is still considering IU and will watch the situation in Bloomington closely. He does not expect to make any sort of a decision until after the NCAA Tournament, and IU is expected to either have a coach in place by that time or name one shortly after.
Ebanks is going to listen to pitches from Rutgers â€” one of the schools he was originally interested in â€” as well as Texas and Memphis. There’s still a possibility that one other school could enter the mix, according to a source close to the situation. The source said that Ebanks will basically be re-recruited, taking visits and meeting with coaches. Both Memphis and Texas are playing in the tournament â€” as a No. 1 and a No. 2 seed, respectively â€” but even if they were eliminated early it seems unlikely that Ebanks would be able to make visits until after the tournament.
Ebanks spent last weekend in Indiana, first taking in the Hoosiers’ quarterfinal loss in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday. He met with athletic director Rick Greenspan on Saturday to discuss the search for a new coach and other issues surrounding the program (such as the looming NCAA hearing).
Released by IU this afternoon â€“ the Hoosiers have signed Fort Wayne wide receiverÂ Damarlo Belcher.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Bill Lynch announced Damarlo Belcher has signed a National Letter of Intent and will attend Indiana University in the fall of 2008.
Belcher, a wide receiver from North Side High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., stands 6-5 and weighs 210 pounds. The big target earned second team Summit Athletic Conference (SAC) honors and set the North Side single-season record with 688 receiving yards last year. Belcher played for head coach Casey Kolkman and earned three letters.
"We are excited to have Damarlo join our football program," Lynch said. "He is an outstanding two-sport athlete who comes from a great athletics conference in Fort Wayne. Damarlo will be a great addition to our program."
In addition, he earned two letters in basketball and collected first team SAC and all-area honors in 2007. Belcher also claimed the team's rebounding award in the same season.
On Saturday at Assembly Hall, Indiana (18-14) will host the winner of Radford at James Madison, a first-round game to be played on Thursday at 7 p.m. Saturday’s game time is yet to be determined. Check out the full bracket here.
It is the second straight season the Hoosiers have received an at-large bid to the WNIT tournament, and both years were picked to host a second-round game after a bye. Last year, the Hoosiers beat Iona by three points in Bloomington behind 18 points from Nikki Smith, one of four IU players in double digits. Smith’s two free throws with about 15 seconds left helped ice the game for Indiana, which overcame a second-half deficit and 32 points from Iona forward Martina Weber. The Hoosiers then lost at South Dakota State.
Radford (23-11) earned an automatic berth, reserved for the highest finishing team in a conference that didn’t make the NCAA Tourney (Michigan State got the Big Ten’s), after losing the Big South championship for the second year running on a last-second shot. It’s the first postseason appearance since 1996 for the Highlanders, whose starting five all average double figure scoring and are led by 6-3 senior center Kelli Darden (12.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
James Madison (22-9) also got an automatic bid by way of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dukes are in the postseason for the third consecutive year and are paced by the conference’s Player of the Year in senior guard Tamera Young, who sports a double-double average of 19.3 points and 10.0 boards per outing. Young became the school’s all-time leading scorer this season.
Besides the Spartans, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin also made the 48-team field, giving the Big Ten nine teams of 11 playing in the postseason.
Indiana University president Michael McRobbieÂ has justÂ announced that itÂ has formed a 10-member committeeÂ to search for a new men’s basketball coach. Here’s the entire text of a press release from IU:Â
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana Rick Greenspan, athletics a University President Michael A. McRobbie announced today that he has appointed a 10-member, blue-ribbon committee of faculty, alumni and Athletic Department representatives to begin a nationwide search for a new men’s basketball coach.
The panel will be chaired by Harry Gonso, an Indianapolis attorney and former IU trustee who led the Hoosiers as quarterback of the 1968 Rose Bowl team. An Academic All American and All Big-Ten football player, Gonso earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting from IU in 1970 and a law degree with honors from the IU School of Law-Bloomington in 1973.
“Harry Gonso is the ideal person to lead a search of this importance,” McRobbie said. “Harry has a deep appreciation for both our academic mission and our athletic traditions. He is well aware of the high expectations our fans and alumni have for our men’s basketball program. Harry shares my determination to find a coach who will lead our men’s basketball program in a manner that reflects Indiana University’s tradition and values.”
The head coach’s position became vacant on Feb. 22 when Kelvin Sampson resigned. Dan Dakich, an assistant coach and director of men’s basketball operations, was named interim head coach and will continue to head the team until a permanent head coach is named.
“I am grateful to President McRobbie for placing this trust with me,” Gonso said. “I think he has put together a very strong search committee, and I am confident we will carry out this task quickly and successfully.”
Athletics Director Rick Greenspan said that he looked forward to working with the search committee named by McRobbie.
“The advice and counsel of this committee will be critical as we seek to make the best choice possible for Indiana University and our fans,” Greenspan said. “I greatly appreciate the willingness of Harry and the other distinguished members of the search committee to give their time and energy to this important task.”
Gonso, who leads the life sciences practice for the Indianapolis law firm of Ice Miller, served as Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ senior counsel and chief of staff in 2005 and 2006. He also served 18 years on the IU Board of Trustees, where he was chair of two presidential searches and vice president of the board from 1988 until his retirement in 1994.
Gonso indicated that the search committee and its members would not be publicly commenting on the progress of the search process until a decision is announced.
Also named to the committee were:
- Rick Greenspan, athletic directorÂ
- Ken Beckley, former president of the IU Alumni Association
- Grace Calhoun, associate athletics director for compliance and academic services and senior woman administrator
- Bruce Jaffee, professor of business economics and public policy and faculty representative on the Athletics Committee
- Wayne Radford, former IU basketball player and most valuable player of the 1978 Hoosiers
- Jennifer Sinclair, president and chairwoman of the IU Varsity Club National Board of Directors
- Bill Stephan, IU vice president for engagement
- James Wimbush, dean of the University Graduate School, professor of business administration and chair of the University Athletics Committee
- Jerry Yeagley, former IU head men’s soccer coach and member of the U.S. Soccer Federation Hall of Fame
Slow starts are not new for this team, says Dakich. It’s been an issue all year. He was looking at the results of the games this year and couldn’t believe how many times the score was close at half time, even in non-conference games.
He’s been reluctant to change the team’s pre-game routine because it seemed to be working early in the year.
But at this point, he doesn’t really feel the need to be reluctant about much.
Dakich thinks there are two types of press. The kind that tries to slow you down and make you start your offense with only 25 seconds left on the shot clock and the kind that tries to steal the ball from you.
But no matter what, the best way for Indiana to handle a press is to attack it.
Looks like the 4-spot is open for competition this weekend. Dakich just wants to see who plays best there. And he thinks it’s going to be an important spot in this game.
DeAndre Thomas played 17 minutes and played well against Minnesota. That was the result, according to Dakich, of him getting into the gym a little extra last week. Every time Dre does that, he plays well. But Dakich said he’s only done it two other times.
“I think you have to slow them,” Dakich says. “Michigan State showed us that. ”
The Hoosiers won’t try to run with Arkansas. Won’t work, according to the coach.
“It’s a different level of athlete.”
He sees a speed factor that Indiana needs to handle.
Arkansas is also going to use a press â€” actually a few variations of the press â€” against the Hoosiers.
And it will compete. “You sometimes expect too see a team die a bit at the end,” he said. “These kids won’t.”
After a night of watching video, Dakich believes Arkansas is a little bit like Michigan State. It can get up and down the court in a hurry.
But he’s not sure there’s a team in the Big Ten that has size like the Razorbacks do.
Indiana coach Dan Dakich should be here in a few minutes.
Here’s a scouting report written by Doug Wilson for today’s newspaper:
RECORD: 22-11, 2nd in SEC West
HEAD COACH: John Pelphrey is in his first year at Arkansas. A former University of Kentucky player in the early â€™90s for Rick Pitino, Pelphrey spent the previous five years as the head coach at South Alabama. After going 14-14 in 2003, 12-16 in 2004 and 10-18 in 2005, his 2006 squad had the best turnaround in the nation, finishing 24-7. His 22 wins are the most by a first-year coach at Arkansas.
TOP PLAYER: Forward Sonny Weems was a first-team all-SEC pick. The 6-foot-6 senior averages 14.3 points (17.3 in SEC play) and 4.9 rebounds. He has struggled offensively lately.
GOOD IN BIG GAMES: With wins over Vanderbilt (twice), Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi, the Razorbacks are 5-1 against ranked opponents.
BANGING THE GLASS: In the SEC Tournament, Arkansas upset No. 4 Tennessee while out-rebounding the Volunteers by 12 and defeated No. 18 Vanderbilt while out-rebounding the Volunteers by 21.
BIG IN THE MIDDLE: 7-foot senior Steven Hill doesnâ€™t score much but was named to the SECâ€™s all-Defense team. He is one of four players in SEC history to block more than 300 shots. He shares the spot with 6-10 Darian Townes, who is a stronger offensive player, averaging 11.8 points while shooting 60.2 percent.
SCOUTING REPORT: â€œTheyâ€™re an up-and-down tempo kind of team.â€ â€” IU guard Eric Gordon after watching Arkansas lose to Georgia in the SEC Tournament championship game Sunday.
HOOSIERS GET READY: IU coach Dan Dakich said heâ€™d stay up most of the night Sunday studying Arkansas in preparation for practice this afternoon.
PELPHREY ON IU: â€œWeâ€™ll have our hands full. Dan Dakich was a great, great player at Indiana. I played against his teams when I was South Alabama and he was coaching at Bowling Green. i know heâ€™ll have his guys ready to go, so we need to be ready to go.â€
WE JUST RECEIVED THIS NEWS RELEASE FROM IU: The Indiana University men’s basketball team will make its 35th appearance in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as the eighth seed in the East Region where they will face ninth seed Arkansas Friday, March 21 in Raleigh, N.C. Game times will be announced on Monday. Should the Hoosiers win they would take on the winner of the North Carolina-Coppin State/Mount St. Mary’s game in the second round on Sunday at a time to be announced.
TICKET AND TRAVEL INFORMATION
There are a limited number of tickets allocated to each participating school for the first and second round in Raleigh.
To place a request for NCAA Tournament tickets, please call the IU Athletics Ticket Office at 866-IUSPORTS on Monday, March 17 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. IU general public men’s basketball season ticket holders can order up to two tickets, while student season ticket holders can order one ticket.
Tickets will be allocated and assigned based on the IU Varsity Club’s Priority Points System.
Fans wishing to arrange for travel to Raleigh can do so by contacting Anthony Travel, the official travel agency of the Indiana Department of Athletics, by calling 1-800-736-6377 or by visiting anthonytravel.com and searching the word ‘Hoosiers’.
The IU Varsity Shop will carry a broad selection of Hoosier NCAA Tournament apparel. For more information and to order, log on at IUHoosiers.com and click on merchandise at the top of the page.