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.

Thursday, September 20

Zeller Set To Visit IU

Unless you’re too caught up in the latest O.J. Simpson soap opera to care, you know Tyler Zeller is coming to Indiana this weekend for an official basketball visit. That’s the same 6-11 Zeller who is considered a top-20 player and who would cap a second straight outstanding class for coach Kelvin Sampson.

Of course the competition is formidable. That’s the price you pay for going after outstanding players. Zeller’s other finalists are Purdue, North Carolina and Notre Dame.

Zeller visited North Carolina last weekend. He’ll visit Notre Dame for its Midnight Madness on Oct. 12, then head to Purdue on Oct. 19. He’s expected to make a final decision by the end of October.

You might think Notre Dame has the edge because older brother Luke goes there and because it has Tyler for its Midnight Madness. In fact, you would be wrong. The edge usually goes to the last school visited.

All indications are that Zeller will wind up a Boilermaker. Coach Matt Painter has recruited him longer and has shown he can land the state’s top talent. However, when it comes to recruiting, nothing is etched in stone. Sampson and his staff have an outstanding recruiting record in the short time they’ve been at IU. And Sampson’s national recruiting reputation has been solid for years.

No matter what happens, Sampson already has locked up a strong class with 6-8 forward Devin Ebanks, 6-4 guard Bud Mackey, 6-3 guard Matt Roth and 6-8 power forward Tom Pritchard. Pritchard committed earlier this week. He passes well and rebounds well and plays rugged inside defense.

Ebanks and Mackey are two of the top prep players in the country. Roth is a good shooter and a good friend of Zeller.

Yes, it’s possible Zeller could fall in love with the Hoosier program and commit this weekend. But don’t count on it.

Monday, September 10

IU Gets Oral Commitment

Indiana got a head start on its recruiting for the Class of 2009 with the oral commitment of 6-7 forward Derek Elston from Tipton High School in Indiana.

Elston is an aggressive rebounder and defender, which should make him a good fit for coach Kelvin Sampson, who emphasizes both aspects in his program.

Elston averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds last year for a 12-10 team. He can’t sign until November of 2008.

Speaking of 2008, Sampson and his staff are still making a big push for 6-11 forward Tyler Zeller of Washington, Ind. Also in the picture are Purdue, North Carolina and Notre Dame. Zeller is expected to make a decision by the November signing period.