With the 2012-13 basketball season closing in, it’s prime time for high school players to start committing to their desired college programs. My past article was focused on the fact that Indiana might fill just one more spot for their 2013 class, which is already featuring Devin Davis, Collin Hartman, Luke Fischer, and Stanford Robinson. However, the thing that Hoosier fans should be keeping their eyes on is the recruiting for 2014.
Now that Crean has launched his full attack on the recruiting front, one of the first things Indiana has to think about is the scholarship situation. The Hoosiers currently have two verbal commits for 2014, Trey Lyles and James Blackmon Jr., both in the ESPNU 60 for juniors. With these 2014 commits, all 14 scholarship spots are filled for the 2014-15 season. However, this is counting the scholarship currently held by future first round draft pick, Cody Zeller. So, it may seem safe to say that Indiana will have one more scholarship to fill. But this all depends on what happens for the 2013 class, as well. If they get one more commit for 2013, pushing the class up to 5, there might not be a spot for another 2014 commit. These are the days we have been waiting for. The days when there are simply not enough spots for the Hoosiers. So, for the sake of keeping myself sane and not going through all the hypothetical situations, I’m going to give an overview of the two current commits of 2014.
On September 3rd, 2010 Indiana got their first commit for 2014. Only a freshman at Bishop Luers in Fort Wayne, James Blackmon Jr. decided to take part in the rebuilding of Indiana basketball. Now currently ranked 30th in ESPNU 60, Blackmon is continually improving on his guard skills. At 6’2” he is a guard that can finish strong at the rim. He’s quick with the ball, and he isn’t skeptical to drive the paint on a fast break. He reminds me of a slightly taller Yogi Ferrell. Yogi is below 6 foot, but manages to finish at the rim. The largest difference is the strength that Blackmon can finish with. The kid can simply jump for his size, and the fact that he is a taller guard will only help him more. His true position is the 2 guard, but he can handle the ball if needed. And to make him even better, Blackmon can knock down the jumper. Whether it is in transition, off the bounce, or a set shot, he can hit from anywhere on the floor. This past high school season, Blackmon had to sit out most of his games due to a torn ACL, but reports show that he will be healthy for his junior year.
The 2011 class saw the coming of one of the biggest commits to Indiana, Mr. Zeller. However, Trey Lyles might rival Zeller for Crean’s biggest pick-up. On September 27th, 2010, just weeks after Blackmon committed, Lyles from Arsenal Tech in Indy announced his devotion to the Hoosiers. How can I describe Lyles? Well, to put it simply, the kid can do it all. Currently ranked 7th in ESPNU 60, Lyles is a 6’8” threat that may be Crean’s first one-and-done player (cross your fingers everyone that he isn’t). That’s not for certain, but he has the skills to grow as a player and get stronger, and he is only going to be a junior in high school. For his height, a surprising strength of his is ball-handling. As seen in most of his mixtapes and highlights, Trey is able to lead a fast break and either finish or find the open guy cutting to the block or spotting up for a three. He’s the same height as Watford, and how many times have we seen a guy his size take control of a break? Not that often. He is a threat on the offensive side in all aspects. With his height, there is also strength. He is able to use his dribbling skills to get to the basket, and most of the time he can finish with a dunk, otherwise he is able to get to the line for two free throws. What am I missing? Oh, his ability to shoot over 99% of his defenders. When he comes to Bloomington, he is most likely going to play the 3 or 4 position, so his height will play as a huge advantage. With his ability to create shots off the bounce, he will be too quick for other teams’ fours. And if he is put at the three, he will be able to shoot over his defenders all day. This is where one of his biggest criticisms comes from. His shot selection. There are times when he shoots the ball when he should pass it, but let’s be honest when you’re in the Top 10 for your class, you want to control the game. I think he will learn a lot when he becomes part of Crean’s army. I cannot stress this enough to you Hoosier fans, Trey Lyles is the real deal.
So, as recruiting continues, and Crean continues to deal with the scholarship issue, just know that the Hoosiers already have a great 2014 class. And it only consists of two players so far. As more information comes out about 2014 recruiting with such players like Cliff Alexander of Chicago, JaQuan Lyle (another Indiana boy), and Theo Pinson from the Tar Heel State, turn your attention to this upcoming season. In the words of a die-hard Cubs fan, “This year is our year.”….but with the Hoosiers, it makes sense.