Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Friday, May 11

Big Recruiting Weekend

Hey, if you love basketball recruiting intrigue and drama -- and if you don’t, why not? -- you need to consider the May Classic, an AAU event hitting the Bloomington hardcourts this weekend.

Here you’ll find high school standouts such as DeShaun Thomas of Bishop Luers, who is being recruited by every program of note in America.

Okay, that’s not totally true, but schools such as Indiana and Purdue are interested, and when you’re big and strong and draw comparisons with LeBron James (hey, excessive over-hype is part of the deal), the potential is obvious. So is the fact Thomas averaged 28 points and 13 rebounds last season and became the first freshman since James Hardy (now a standout wide receiver at Indiana) to make the all-Summit Athlete Conference team.

Thomas plays for the Indiana Elite Fort Wayne Flames (15 and under) and one of his teammates, at least in the May Classic, happens to be Ray McCallum. No, not the former Ball State superstar and head coach (he’s now an IU assistant), but the elder McCallum’s son, who is a 6-foot guard with Division I potential.

Both will be sophomores next season, which means they won’t graduate until 2010, so there’s plenty of time to discuss and speculate.

Of more immediate recruiting concern for IU is Devin Banks, a 6-8 stud forward from New York City who also will play in the May Classic. Banks will use this event to make an unofficial visit, yet another way coach Kelvin Sampson can get around those NCAA recruiting sanctions that won’t expire until July.

Anyway, Banks is a top-10 player nationally who has cut his list to IU, Texas and Miami. Miami is apparent the favorite, but that can change by the time he makes his decision, which is expected to be sometime this summer.

Banks is the highest profile player in a tourney loaded with them. Others include 7-foot Tyler Zeller of Washington, Indiana (IU REALLY wants him), 6-10 Angel Garcia of East Chicago, 6-11 Jason Washburn of Michigan and 6-9 Michael Dunigan of Chicago.

Games will be played at a variety of Bloomington locations, including Assembly Hall. Yes, that’s the same Assembly Hall that Sampson would like replaced in favor of a facility that is fan and recruit friendly. All that's needed is will, planning and, say, $160 million.

But that’s a topic for another day.


Post a Comment

<< Home