There was this expectation especially with the currently three way competition for the services of Hamilton Southeastern’s star SG Gary Harris that his first football game was going to be heavily attended by all parties involved. However, it fell out of the contact period and it would have been highly illegal for such a matter to occur. Instead last Friday’s game, the first day of the contact period, had the most buzz around it. From piecing together multiple sources and eyewitnesses on the scene there were 11 coaches from Michigan State, Purdue and Indiana in attendance. Obviously he is still item number one on the regions wish list of recruits.
For the rest of the 2012 class Tom Crean made his rounds to get in and visit and see the progress of every one. He was at Park Tudor a couple days ago to check out PG Yogi Ferrell and company and then was at Warren Central later in the day to see 2013 commit Devin Davis work out. From there he’s been to see all of the other commits outside of Hanner Perea (I’ve heard he’s scheduled to see him today), Ron Patterson (team hasn’t had a workout yet), Collin Hartman (injured) and Peter Jurkin (in North Carolina and will likely get a visit soon).
Crean and company have also spent a good portion of time not just visiting the committed but drumming up leads for future committees. He hasn’t spent any time working on any more 2012 recruits. It’s Harris or bust on that front. But he has spent a great deal of time working on the 2013 class. Specifically he has been looking for high rated big men to compliment the two top 100 rated wings already locked up in that class.
Target number one and least likely to actually land would be Texas native Julius Randle. He is the number one ranked big man in the 2013 class and number four overall according to Rivals. One quick look at a Randle highlight video and any fan would be salivating. His game is what we expect Hanner Perea to grow into. He’s filthy. The only problem is that we’re going against the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Texas and Kansas for the kid’s services. This one is a long shot but IU is getting in at about the same time that the traditional power houses come calling. Tom Crean may not have much of a chance on this one but he obviously has the swag to play with the big boys.
Target two and previous Purdue commit would be 2013 Forward Derek Willis. All three coaches were down in Kentucky yesterday checking the kid out and they left him with a scholarship offer. I personally was worried when he committed to Purdue because he had a heck of a AAU season and Willis looks to be some sort of version of Robbie Hummel. He’ll be scary good. Willis also has an invite to Hoosier Hysteria on Oct. 15 and an invite to Kentucky’s Midnight Madness the evening before. I’d say IU is currently third of three in the race for Derek Willis.
Targets three and four are two other 2013 big men in Beejay Anya and Luke Fischer. Fischer has just edged his way into the Rivals rankings at 142 but he’ll be a fast riser. He just found his way onto the recruiting scene this summer and has been drawing comparisons to a young Cody Zeller. He likely won’t be as highly touted as Zeller but he could make a fast rise in the rankings. Remeber Mitch McGary went from a ranking of 95 to 5 in the span of about 9 months. A little bit of exposure and some potential becoming ability can do a lot for a kid in the national picture. Look for that out of Luke Fischer. The kid will be good and IU is the front runner with Wisconsin a very close second.
Beejay Anya is the number two rated center in the 2013 class and has been described as an "aircraft carrier" due to his size. The big knock on him is that he might be a bit overweight, but he has been working on that and has dropped 20 lbs in a workout regimen. It seems that weight won’t be a problem for him. IU is also in good shape with him as he is a former teammate of Victor Oladipo and from the same area as Mo Creek. Anya has described Vic as "like a big brother" in the past and it looks like his connections to Indiana through it’s players has been a boon for his recruiting. IU looks to be the frontrunner in his recruiting as well, but it is still hard to tell. He is in Maryland after all and it is hard to get a grasp from the local guys how Anya is truly feeling.
The 2014 class is starting to come into shape as well from a recruiting standpoint. With these kids still being pretty young it is tough to gauge their process to date. IU has already landed top 25 guys in Trey Lyles and James Blackmon Jr. and it is unclear on how many scholarships will be left to offer come 2014. As of this very moment there wouldn’t be any, but guys transfer or leave early so there is the possibility that more open up. So Coach Crean and staff are doing their due diligence with the young guys.
The apparent big targets for 2014 are ninth ranked big man out of Chicago Cliff Alexander, Wapahani guard Grant Evans and Yogi Ferrell teammate and forward Trevon Blueitt. All three would be great additions and highly rated prospects. Being that it is still early in their processes and not all kids are so quick to pull the trigger like Hoosiers fans have seen recently it is extremely likely that we’ll have to wait at least another year before we start to see any action on these guys. But keep them in the back of your minds because if anyone transfers or leaves early these three will be getting phone calls from Indiana almost immediately.