Bobby Capobianco, who confirmed today that he has given Tom Crean a verbal commitment to play for the Hoosiers beginning in the fall of 2009, spoke with me a little while ago about his decision.
“This is what I was hoping for and I’m really excited,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better situation. It’s only two hours from my house and I’ll be playing for a coach I really wanted to play for. I’ve always been drawn to IU because of the tradition that is associated with Indiana basketball. You get a sense of that just being in Assembly Hall.”
Capobianco, a 6-8, 230-pound inside force from Loveland, OH, originally had narrowed his college choices down to West Virginia and Marquette after he had developed a close relationship with Tom Crean while Crean was still at Marquette.
Capobianco had always wanted to play at Indiana, but wasn’t recruited by former Hoosier head man Kelvin Sampson. When Crean took the Indiana job, Capobianco knew there was a real possibility he would end up at Indiana.
“It all came down to those two factors, Indiana and Coach Crean,” he said. “We developed such a great relationship while he was at Marquette. We connected on a lot of things in terms of how we feel the game should be played. When he called me after he took the job at IU, I told him I was ready to go.”
Capobianco, who averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks a game last season as a junior, plans to visit Bloomington and the IU campus Tuesday.
Here are a couple of questions that came in during the chat this morning but we didn’t get to:
What is your opinion of the IU athletic Department, specifically Rick Greenspan? Should he stay or go?
Erich Stout, Bloomington
Rick Greenspan has done a terrific job with many facets of the athletic department. I’ve only been here 20 months and I still feel like I’m only just getting a feel for the history at Indiana, but the fact that he orchestrated the construction projects you see on 17th Street â€” after others had failed so often to get approval for that sort of work â€” shows how effective he is. And you should hear the financial people rave about what he’s done for the department’s budget; it was his ability to tighten up the revenue and expenditure balance that changed the atmosphere within athletics and enabled the expansion we’re seeing.
But that atmospheric change has created an insular institution and has shoved some of IU’s characteristic Midwestern folksiness to the side. Also, Greenspan clearly prefers working with people he hired and that has created some minor rifts. The handling of the Sampson situation was obviously a complete fiasco from beginning to end, but what part Greenspan had in that is difficult to determine. He certainly took the brunt of the criticism but he also clearly has many external forces (with big egos or big wallets or important job titles) leaning on him.
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Indiana finally makes it “official” (as if having them move into the basketball office and recruiting players didn’t quite accomplish that) and announces the hiring of Tim Buckley and Bennie Seltzer as men’s basketball assistant coaches.
Here’s the press release.
Bloomington, Indiana — Indiana University menâ€™s basketball coach Tom Crean has
announced the hiring of Tim Buckley and Bennie Seltzer as assistant coaches
for the Hoosiers effective immediately. Both were on Creanâ€™s staff at
â€œI believed that I had one of the best coaching staffâ€™s in the country at
Marquette and Iâ€™m honored to have Tim and Bennie as part of the Hoosier
basketball family,â€ said Crean. â€œThese gentlemen are two of the hardest
working and most loyal individuals I have known and their insight, abilities
and experiences will be a great asset for our student-athletes.â€
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Bobby Capobianco, a 6-8 power forward from Loveland, Ohio, has given a verbal commitment to Indiana. Friend of the Scoop John Decker broke the story on his site, HoosierNation.com.
Capobianco becomes the second member of the 2009 class, along with Derek Elston out of Tipton, Ind.
Capobianco is a rambunctious player with a good feel for playing in the paint. He’s already accustomed to playing the role he’ll have in college â€” as the guy creating havoc under the net and not so much worrying about that last number on the state line, points â€” because he plays that way for his Bloomington-based Indiana Elite team. He’s a solid rebounder and defender who is filling out and learning to control his body. I think last year he was a little lost on a really talented team; I expect him to climb the rankings during the AAU season.
With Chris Korman probably not able to join us this morning for our weekly Q&A, I’m going to start it a little earlier than usual so I can answer as many of you questions as possible. Chris is currently attending the annual Sports Journalism Summit at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.
To submit a question or comment for today’s chat – or to just read those from others – click here.Â Â
Josh Harrellson, a 6-9, 250-pound forward from Southwestern Illinois Junior College (yes, the same school attended by recent Hoosier Lance Stemler) told me Wednesday night that Indiana is among the schools he’s considering.
Only freshman last season who averaged 15 points and eight rebounds a contest. He had originally committed to Western Illinois coming out of high school, but opted to play for SWIC instead.
But there are others in the mix, including Kentucky, Purdue, Missouri, Iowa State and St. Louis. He plans on making a visit to Lexington this weekend, followed by one to St. Louis the last weekend of the month.
Harrellson was first contacted by new Indiana coach Tom Crean “about a week or so ago,” and said the two had a very good conversation and got to know each other.
“I’d like to visit,” he said. “When you think of Indiana, you think basketball. It’s a great place with a lot of history. One thing that is really important to me getting to play immediately. I definitely wouldn’t mind playing there.”We got to know each other a bit, and I found him really down to earth,” Harrellson said of his talk with Crean. “He talked to me a lot about what Indiana is all about, what he’s learning and the kind of kids he wants to play there.”
According to a report from The Louisville Courier-Journal’s Jody Demling, Kentucky head man Billy Gillespie recently visited an open gym Harrellson was playing in. Purdue’s Matt Painter and Minnesota’s Tubby Smith were also seen around the school.
Also, Nick Williams’ mother told me Wednesday night that although she claimed to be in the dark on the issue, her son is very interested in Indiana.
“He’s very interested,” she said. “I’m going to let him make the decision, but I know he’s looking at them very hard.”
Williams is a 6-4 shooting guard from Mobile, AL that has narrowed his search to IU and Arkansas. He originally committed to Marquette while Tom Crean was the coach, but opted out of his letter of intent when Crean left for Bloomington.
It hasn’t taken new Indiana coach Tom Crean long to hit the recruiting trail.
According to various reports via recruiting hubs Rivals.com and Scout.com, IU’s new head man is making headway at filling in some of the vacant spots on the Hoosiers’ roster.
Firstly, it appears that Crean made quite an impression on a 6-4, 200-pound shooting guard from Mobile, AL named Nick Williams. Williams, who was released from his letter of intent with Marquette after Crean left for Indiana, told Scout’s John Decker he is very interested in the Hoosiers.
“Coach Crean is a great coach, he has great passion,” Williams said. “One thing I really admire about him is he loves to win, and heâ€™s a great player developer. Thatâ€™s maybe the biggest reason Iâ€™d want to play for Coach Crean.”
According to Decker, Williams also likely developed a very close relationship with likely Indiana assistants Tim Buckley and Bennie Seltzer. Indiana’s top competitor for Williams is the ever-familiar Arkansas Razorbacks and coach John Pelphrey, who bounced IU from the NCAA Tournament’s first round last month.
I gave Williams a call Wednesday evening, but haven’t gotten a call back yet. When I do, I’ll keep you guys posted on what he says.
Another prospect Crean is eying is the highly-touted Verdell Jones, one of the top-ranked players in the class of ’08 who is still unsigned. Jones, a 6-4, 160-pound point guard from Champaign, Ill. (Yes, Illini country) is rated as the 123rd best player in the nation by Rivals and is currently a hot commodity in the recruiting world.
According to a story by Jeff Drummond of the Rivals network, Kentucky, Minnesota, Southern Illinois, Arizona, and Oklahoma are all in the running along with Indiana for the talented Jones. It appears that Minnesota and Kentucky are among the leaders.
He said that a recent home visit from Tubby Smith puts the Golden Gophers in a good position.
“I like him a lot. He’s a class act, and you have to be impressed with how he turned their program around in only one year. I feel like they’re going in the right direction.”
I left a message with Jones’ father Wednesday night as well, and still haven’t received a call back.
Also, Daniel Moore from Carmel told the Indy Star’s Kristen Leigh Porter Tuesday that he has turned down a scholarship offer from Boston University to walk-on at Indiana.
He had originally planned on coming to IU as a walk-on under Kelvin Sampson, but after Sampson’s resignation and the scholarship offer from the Terriers, Moore weighed his options.
But in the end, Moore says he always wanted to be a Hoosier.
“The plan had always been to go to IU and the Boston thing came up within the last couple months,” he said. “It was a real intriguing offer but when it came down to it, I always wanted to go to IU. I had dreamed of playing there since I was a little kid. I’m really thankful I don’t have to accept a scholarship and can go to a place I really want to go to.”
Moore averaged 13.5 points per contest last season for the 22-3 Greyhounds.