A few short years ago, the headlines about Indiana basketball were rolling in.
They say any publicity is good publicity. I laugh at those who say that.
Kelvin Sampson did his part to disgrace the Indiana Hoosiers basketball program to the point of near extinction. The effects of his recruiting scandal are still being felt.
But what happened this weekend is something that Indiana fans have been patiently waiting for a long, long time. Tom Crean is making major headway in the recruiting world, and yesterday he got his first major, major commitment. Hanner Perea, a 6-foot-8 high school junior from LaPorte, Indiana pledged to play his college basketball in Bloomington. It’s Crean’s first 5-star recruit in his time at Indiana.
This is meant as no disrespect to the recent Tom Crean recruits. Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls were all 4-star recruits coming in last season, and everyone will improve.
There is no way to understate the kind of momentum this gives Tom Crean and the Hoosiers. Those who don’t follow the program closely seem to think that the program is down and isn’t getting back up. I’ve seen a few columns suggesting that Crean should be fired. How ridiculous is that? Sure, they went 6-25 in Year 1 A.S. (After Scumb…I mean Sampson), and 10-21 in Year 2. Year 3 should be even better, and after that who knows?
Maybe the most impressive thing is that Crean is getting in-state kids. Everyone knows that the state of Indiana is almost always rich with talent at the high school basketball level. For these kids to be even considering Indiana, with the position they’re in, has been a victory for Tom Crean. Now these kids are starting to pick Indiana over in-state rival Purdue (Perea wasn’t considering Purdue, but the Boilermakers probably contacted him at some point, right?).
Next up for Crean and Indiana is one Cody Zeller. He’s a 6-foot-10 high school senior from Washington, Indiana, and he’s the #4 rated power forward in the country. Crean’s been targeting Zeller for a long, long time. If he can convince Cody to choose IU over having the chance to play with his brother at North Carolina, there will be no question that Indiana will be back in the NCAA Tournament picture sooner rather than later.
Congratulations to Tom Crean and Hanner Perea.
A final note, to those who make recruiting videos: Please stop including free throws in the videos, and put something other than dunks in the video. Any basketball player worth his salt can throw down, but can he play defense or shoot the long ball?