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Indiana basketball recruiting: Paul Scruggs leaves, Tom Crean visits Kris Wilkes

Justin Smith kicked off Official Visit season this weekend, but he is just the first of many in the class of 2017.

News, notes, and any other tidbits about Hoosier recruits and targets

Familiar Names

Paul Scruggs

Well this turned into a whole thing, huh? Scruggs' decision to leave Southport HS in Indianapolis for Prolific Prep in CA has ruffled a few feathers in the recruiting world, to say the least. And before I continue, let me be absolutely clear. The "school" he is going to play for IS shady and does have VERY questionable motives.  And while it is yet another hit for the Indy high school basketball scene, all of these outraged media types and concerned citizens should remember one key thing; it's not your life.

Scruggs is free to do as he pleases, and playing against elite competition in an environment where he can mature both on and off the court is one that he finds more appealing than another year in a place where he's already established himself. So maybe all these talking heads should save the faux outrage (or, more distressing, maybe real outrage?) and let the kid live his life, and realize that being a top talent in 2016 is different than in years past. Seriously, look around at the top recruits in any given class. This is the new normal. Sure, you can be angry and shout into the void if you want to, but do so at the risk of outing yourself as someone who unable to adapt to change because it ruins a fragile perception of what high school kids playing basketball means to you.

Justin Smith

In more relevant Indiana news, 4-star SF Justin Smith (Lincolnshire, IL) took an official visit to Bloomington over the weekend. The third of his five official visits, Smith is very familiar with the IU campus as he has been many times before. That didn't stop the red carpet from being rolled out, as Tom Crean and co. continued their push to get the 6'7", 200 lb SF in candy stripes. Early word was that Smith "had a very good time", which has got to be by far the blandest way of expressing what it must be like for a highly-sought after recruit to be on an official visit for a program like Indiana. Anyway, some highlights from Smith this summer are below.

Kris Wilkes

Not all that much new to report here, but Wilkes has finalized his Official Visit schedule, with Indiana smack dab in the middle of his 5 total visits.  His visits include Illinois (Taken this past weekend), UCLA (9/22-9/24), Indiana (9/30-10/2), Xavier (10/28-10/30), and UConn (11/4-11/6). Anyone and everyone wants Wilkes, so hopefully the weekend of 9/30 is a memorable one in Bloomington. Tom Crean is visiting Wilkes today, per Kyle Neddenriep of the IndyStar.

New-ish names

Deng Gak

6'11", 210 lb C Deng Gak announced his plans for 4 Official Visits, with Indiana included. His IU visit will be his second-to-last on the weekend of 10/14. Gak, a 3-star prospect out of Blair Academy in NJ, is undoubtedly a work-in-progress at this stage of the game, but as you can see in the video below, the raw talent and unteachable size he has is why major programs all across the country are lining up for his services.

Sterling Manley

A new name on the recruiting front, 6'11" C Sterling Manley caught the eye of the IU coaching staff. Always looking for hidden gems, Tom Crean and two assistants made their way out to Ohio to get a glimpse of the 3-star prospect. An offer was not extended, but it's a name to keep an eye on.

As always, keep up to date with the recruiting comings and goings on our recruiting board.