While the offseason has been tumultuous enough, with unexpected departures of both players and coaches, a second, but arguably more important, narrative has been followed closely by Hoosier Nation. That being: what exactly are we going to do down in the post this season? With departures of Noah Vonleh, Jeremy Hollowell, and a swing-and-miss on transfer Anthony Lee, the lack of size down low has left many fans concerned. The Big Ten is not a great league to try and compete in with only one player 6'8" or taller* (Hanner Mosquera-Perea) and as the recruiting period for the 2014 season winds to a close, Tom Crean and company went out to try and find as much length as they could.
The search inched closer to its conclusion this evening when Tim Priller committed for the Hoosiers, filling the 12th of 13 scholarships for the 2014 season. The 6'9" forward out of Richland (TX) held one other D1 scholarship offer from the University of the Incarnate Word, while Old Dominion and Stephen F. Austin were reportedly interested as well. He is unranked by all recruiting services making it next to impossible to find out anything about the kid. I did come across this tweet from the Rivals affiliate for Texas HS basketball, however:
I can't figure out why 6-9 face up 5man Tim Priller doesn't have any offers. Hits the 15footer & 3s. #UnderRecruited pic.twitter.com/4laSurXUup— TexasHoops/GASO (@TexasHoopsGASO) April 12, 2014
Big men who can hit jumpshots will always have a spot in the Big Ten IF they can also play defense. Can Priller get to campus, hit the weight room and be ready to bring it night in and night out in one of the most competitive leagues in the country? This, of course, remains to be seen. You don't want to judge a kid based solely on the (lack of) stars next to their name but the lack of offers for Priller make it difficult to believe this kid can really make a difference in Big Ten games, particularly right away. How is his post defense? Was he a 5 or a stretch 4 in high school? Also, is he a jumpshooter by trade and lacking a post game? These are questions we literally cannot answer because there's no information about the kid.
The fact remains that, given how late in the cycle we are, an incredible B1G-ready center like Vonleh or Zeller was not going to walk through the door for the Hoosiers. The guard-oriented offense won't necessarily need gobs of points from down low, so the deciding factor for minutes between HMP, Davis, April, Priller, and even Hoetzel will likely be who can play sound defense and avoid fouls. Hopefully the entire roster, from the McDonald's All-Americans on down to the kids we can't even find highlight videos of, are wearing out their swipe cards into Cook Hall this summer and fall, because they and, by extension, the Hoosiers will only be better for it.
Crean has one scholarship remaining for the 2014 season. Josh Cunningham, a 4-star 6'7" forward out of Chicago is the odds-on favorite to take that spot. IU is currently the leader for his services on 247's Crystal Ball predictions.
*I'm omitting Peter Jurkin as we've been given no reason to believe he'll ever play more than the handful of minutes per season he has played up until this point.
** I forgot you get 13, not 12, scholarships for basketball and have updated the article to reflect the mistake. The author will regret this error from now until the end of eternity as he lays awake at night, wondering how it all went so wrong, so fast.
*** Regarding calling Cunningham the "odd-on favorite": He is the only member of the 2014 class IU has been linked to who has not committed elsewhere. It would seem, based on recent reports, that IU will likely lose out on him to St. John's. But he's still the "favorite" by process of elimination. They still lead the Crystal Ball predictions but have been trending downward in favor of St. John's and South Carolina.