P.S. Sorry for the long layoff. It will not be typical. Between a busy personal life and the need to step away after a long season, I needed some time, but I'll try to post something as close to every day as possible. I'll be back with headlines tomorrow.
The Moses Abraham recruiting saga.
By John M. IU
As readers of this site know by now, I don't cover recruiting in all that much detail, although that may change in the future. Certainly, I pay attention to commitments and to IU's pursuit of obvious blue-chippers such as Eric Gordon, Kyrie Irving, and Marquis Teague, but I'm not the type to obsess about whether we made the cut from final five to final three with the #120 prospect. That isn't meant to slight those of you who do; I certainly obsess about many things. Still, the odd trajectory of IU's recruitment of Moses Abraham, a 6-9 recruit who emigrated from Nigeria in November and attends a prep school in Maryland. Abraham is unranked but is given four stars by Rivals. IU has been after Abraham for a while, but the saga has taken some odd twists since then. On Sunday, the Washington Post published a piece that provides some interesting background on Abraham but suggested that he would decide between the DC area's two basketball powers, Georgetown and Maryland. By Sunday afternoon, however, Indiana-based sources were reporting that Abraham would announce his decision at midnight and that he would be deciding between Georgetown and Indiana. Midnight came and passed, and Abraham made no announcement. The next day, word emerged that Abraham would announce at 7 pm, but that didn't happen, either. Now, it appears that Abraham's decision is on hold indefinitely and that he will visit IU this week.
The good news is that most of the reporting on this situation seems to suggest that Tom Crean's efforts have kept IU in the mix for Abraham. The bad news, of course, is that Crean has more time on his hands this week than coaches of teams that are still playing. Crean has drawn some criticism for the program's lack of quality big men, so a win in this recruiting battle would be signficant. Georgetown fans are incredulous that Abraham might choose IU over Georgetown. Unquestionably, Georgetown's program is in dramatically better shape than IU's, but I think Casual Hoya overstates the case (and perhaps has forgotten that historically strong programs tend to recover from downturns, including a school that made only one NCAA Tournament appearance from 1998 to 2005). Specifically, somehow the NBA success of long-ago Georgetown big men Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutombo should factor in. I really like John Thompson III. One of the reasons I like him more than other legacy coaches is because he is his own man. Unlike others whose careers develop under the constant supervision of their fathers, JTIII played and coached at Princeton and never played or coached for his father. I'm sure John Thompson, Jr. influences and advises his son quite a bit, but JTIII played no role in the development of those excellent players (although JTIII has sent big men to the NBA, including the Pacers' Roy Hibbert). Ewing et. al. are as relevant to the discussion as are Walt Bellamy and Don Schlundt. And if tradition matters, I think IU need not hang its head when compared to Georgetown. My sense, knowing nothing about this saga other than what I've read, is that Georgetown will prevail in the end. But it's impressive that Crean's power of persuasion seems to have extended the game and led to an IU visit.