NCB On The Trail: Indiana Hoosiers

Minneapolis Nike EYBL recap 

May, 25, 2014
May 25
3:08
PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- The fourth session of the Nike EYBL gave teams one more opportunity to add league wins and earn the right to participate in the Peach Jam that will crown a champion in July.

Check out some of the many terrific prospect performances we witnessed this weekend at the EYBL:


The Jordan Brand Classic features the best talent high school basketball has to offer. Here are some of the most intriguing potential matchups in this terrific annual event, which airs Friday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Tyus Jones (Duke) vs. Tyler Ulis (Kentucky)

This matchup will be the battle for who can get the most assists. Both are terrific pass-first point guards who can play fast or slow. They can make open shots in order to keep the defense honest, and their decision-making on the offensive end of the floor is excellent, as well. Ulis can apply more heat on the ball defensively, while Jones is stronger and the better finisher in heavy traffic. It will be interesting to see who makes the fewest mistakes with the ball and who will win the assist category as Jones and Ulis push each other on both ends of the floor.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Roundtable: ESPN 100 commit predictions 

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
10:00
AM ET
The ESPN 100 has just three remaining uncommitted prospects, and the competition remains furious for their services.

Myles Turner, No. 2 in the ESPN 100, leads the way, followed by No. 94 Elijah Stewart, who was released from his letter of intent to Loyola Marymount following the firing of coach Max Good, and No. 98 Josh Cunningham.

Devonte Graham wasn’t ESPN 100 eligible by virtue of his post-graduate status, but there is no denying he is a wanted man after receiving his release from Appalachian State. He will take official visits to Kansas and North Carolina State while also considering Virginia, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Providence.

So where are these remaining four prospects headed? No one knows for sure just yet, but here are a few educated guesses:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
CHICAGO -- Wednesday marked the 37th Annual McDonald's All-American game featuring the top high school boys basketball players in the country. The game took place at the United Center, home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.

Best low-post player: Jahlil Okafor


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.


With the transfer of Jeremy Hollowell, the Hoosiers lose a small forward with a multidimensional offensive game. I like the way he creates shots for himself at his size (6-foot-8), which allows him to be an effective player in the lane when he is guarded by smaller opponents. Conversely, when he has a bigger defender on him, he can drag him away from the basket and produce.

ESPN 100 prospect Josh Cunningham is different, as he is more of an undersized power forward who scores best on open shots but does not have the range of Hollowell. Cunningham, a 6-7 senior from Chicago Morgan Park, beats opponents with straight-line drives as he lacks the ability to shake his defender.

The biggest difference is that the uncommitted Cunningham, ranked No. 99 in the ESPN 100, rebounds and defends better than Hollowell. I like Hollowell's offensive game when he is focused, and I like Cunningham as the better defender.

If Indiana can land Cunningham, the Hoosiers would pick up a good player who could contribute as a freshman.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

Let's take a look at who is leaving Indiana, who is returning and which new players are coming into the program.

Indiana is losing four seniors in Will Sheehey, Evan Gordon, Jeff Howard and Taylor Wayer. At the semester break, Luke Fisher transferred to Marquette, and just recently Austin Etherington and Jeremy Hollowell left the program. But perhaps the biggest departure will be Noah Vonleh to the NBA draft. Vonleh was the Big Ten freshman of the year this season as he averaged 11.3 points and nine rebounds per game, which was the best in the Big Ten.

The Hoosiers return one of the best point guards in the Big Ten and in the nation in Yogi Ferrell (17.3 ppg), as well as athletic players such as Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson.

As for their incoming recruiting class, the Hoosiers have two guards coming in who could start and will help immediately in shooter James Blackmon Jr. and combo guard Robert Johnson.

There is plenty of roster space to fill right now in Bloomington, Ind., but hardly anyone left in the 2014 class to fill needs. They are, however, still involved with ESPN 100 forward Josh Cunningham, who could bring a combination of scoring and defense to the small forward/power forward spot.

When you analyze Indiana's future roster, it's important for the coaching staff to land some quality players with size in the frontcourt -- prospects who can score and/or be an elite rebounder or shot blocker.

#AskCoachB: Making a point

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
12:30
PM ET
video Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

I really like this question!

Romelo Trimble is headed to Maryland, and the staff there is grooming him to be a point guard. Right now, Trimble is a combo guard, which means he can run a team and get baskets at any time. He plays for a great high school coach at Bishop O'Connell in Joe Wootten, who has taught him the balance of putting up big scoring numbers and distributing to his teammates. Trimble must pay attention to making good decisions if he truly wants to be a point guard.

James Blackmon Jr. has been a shooting guard his whole life and he is one of the best in the country. I think he should stay as a shooting guard who can handle the ball on screens and push the ball on fast breaks. He is a good passer, but he is a great shooter. He should be the best 3-point shooter on Indiana's roster next season.

Robert Johnson is currently a combo guard because he plays equally well both on and off the ball. Johnson can process the game and still look for his offense. He's a good passer with a dribble-drive game, and I like the way he defends opposing point guards. Johnson could gradually play some possessions at the point for Indiana because he is a solid decision-maker.

Tadric Jackson is headed to play for Brian Gregory at Georgia Tech. Jackson has super speed and wants the ball in his hands. At times he is a one-man fast break. His DNA is to score, but he also possesses great vision. He gets into the lane at will to create for himself or find his teammates. Jackson is a dangerous scoring point guard.

There are no pure point guards in that group, but those are definitely some extremely gifted guards.

Recruit and return: NCAA misses

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17
2:00
PM ET

While the 68 teams that made the NCAA tournament prepare for the madness, fans of teams on the outside must turn the page to next year. Thanks to a core of returning players and strong incoming recruits, here are five programs that could be dancing at this time next year.

Georgetown Hoyas


Quick references:
Georgetown's 2013-14 roster
Georgetown's 2014 recruiting class

Possible 2014-15 starting five:

G: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera

G: Jabril Trawick

F: Paul White

F: Mikael Hopkins

C: Josh Smith

Georgetown


Who it loses: Four players will be gone for coach John Thompson III. Markel Starks and Nate Lubick have been starters since they were sophomores and were instrumental to last season's Big East championship team. Starks was first team All-Big East this season, scoring 17 points per game. Aaron Bowen played a big role as the sixth man and gave the team a spark off the bench. At times, he played starter's minutes. Moses Ayegba was a front-court presence off the bench and was a strong presence in the paint.

Who it adds: This four-man class is the nation's seventh best and it includes three ESPN 100 players. This class is loaded with versatility and scoring talent as the Hoyas will continue to cause matchup problems for opponents. Isaac Copeland's growth continues to impresses us, as he combines size and athletic ability with a very fluid set of skills. He won a championship at Brewster Academy in the New England Prep school league, which is some of the best competition in the country. Paul White is the consummate forward in the Georgetown system as he showed he could be a facilitator, bucket-getter or defender. L.J. Peak is a battle-tested and tough small forward who can score in different ways and someone who can play right away because he competes so hard. Tre Campbell was a first-team all-league performer as a point guard in the prestigious WCAC, an ultra-competitive Washington, D,C.-area high school conference. Georgetown predicates its system of having a high level of skill on the floor at all times and this class gives them that edge plus a whole lot more.

What it means for next season: Next season's team could be more gifted and athletic as the freshman class gives them a big boost. The one freshman who needs to be good early is Campbell, because of the departure of Starks. With Smith-Rivera returning as the team's leading scorer and best 3-point shooter, and Smith back controlling the inside, this team could be a contender for a Big East title. Georgetown has always played the game with many interchangeable parts and next season it will have plenty of pieces to choose from.

Trending: Up. The Hoyas return the strength of their roster and add a lot of talent. Under the guidance of JT3, that means more postseason appearances. - Paul Biancardi



For breakdowns of Indiana, Maryland, Seton Hall and USC, click here Insider.
video Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



Only three players are left on the board in the ESPN 100, and Myles Turner is the only one who's a game-changer. But it doesn't mean there is talent out there who won't help a major program.

JaQuan Lyle, who is ranked No. 41, is a setup point guard with a strong body and is capable of playing as a freshman. His greatest assets are his passing ability and basketball IQ. He understands the game. Lyle plans on making his college decision soon and is down to Oregon, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Memphis.

No. 99 prospect Josh Cunningham is a hybrid forward who excels on the break and in defending in the half court. He has enough of offense to keep opponents honest and is looking at many schools, including Indiana and South Carolina.

There are always guys outside the top 100 who can help programs at different levels next season. If they are still unsigned in the late period, it could mean a lot of things. Some may be waiting on their grades, while others are still blossoming, and a few may be hoping for better offers.
video
Making jump shots is one of the most important skills in basketball. It might look easy, but it’s hard to become a consistent shooter with range.

Taking open shots is a big part of becoming a great shooter, as well as moving without the ball. High-level shooters are ready to shoot the ball as soon as it’s passed to them.

There are many outstanding jump shooters in the Class of 2014, but here are my top five.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

What a tough question to answer, as not only are Trey Lyles (Indianapolis/Arsenal Tech) and James Blackmon Jr. (Marion, Ind./Marion) the two best players in the state of Indiana, but two of the better players in the nation. Both have fathers who were great players in their time, and they are competitive players who have helped their high school teams win.

If I had to choose, I would take Lyles, with the reason being that his combination of size (6-foot-10, 255 pounds) and mobility with skill is rare. Along with that is his basketball IQ and desire to work at his craft, which are also rare in today's young prospects. His ability to score and pass against a set defense with outstanding hands and footwork is what separates him from his peers. He will thrive at Kentucky.

Blackmon is a great guard now and will only continue to improve in the future as he plays alongside other high-level players. Right now he is the focal point from an opponent's defense, but at Indiana that will change. He makes shots from anywhere on the floor with range and accuracy. He will have an outstanding career at Indiana.
video

The most successful recruiters are the ones with both a philosophy and a strategy.

They analyze their rosters, the competition and style of play in order to systematically build the most comprehensive team possible.

But as the old saying goes, even the best laid schemes often go awry, so flexibility and adaptability become equally imperative to long-term recruiting success.

That can be especially true during the college season, when a number of factors can change the course of a team’s plans.

Sometimes a team evolves in ways in which their coaches didn’t project, one player develops more than expected while another’s learning curve is less. And so that program needs to bring in a different position player than they once thought.

Most often, recruiting needs evolve according to turnover within the roster. Transfers are the most obvious example, but for many of the nation’s most prestigious programs, it’s the ramifications of the NBA draft that become especially hard to project.

With that in mind, here is a look at five programs whose recruiting needs now look much different than they did at the beginning of the season:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

#AskCoachB: Can Hoosiers lure PF?

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

The Hoosiers have a good chance because Josh Cunningham is looking for a situation where he can go in and get some minutes. With Noah Vonleh playing his way into a possible lottery pick and the departure of Luke Fisher to Marquette there is playing time up front at Indiana. Recently Cunningham had 36 points and 22 rebounds as he played in front of the Indiana coach Tom Crean. Cunningham has offers from Bradley, Creighton, DePaul, Oklahoma and South Carolina, and he is still open to new suitors.

Another player Indiana has checked in on recently is Ruben Guerrero (Wichita, Kan./Sunrise Christian), a 6-10 center. He is a mobile big man with a high basketball IQ and a face-up game from short distance. He played very well on ESPNU on Jan. 25 against Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day.

Currently Indiana has a three-man recruiting class coming in with James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Max Hoetzel, all of whom can shoot from the outside.

The McDonald's All American Game is annually the nation's most prestigious high school basketball all-star event. The rosters have been announced for the Class of 2014, and this year's game will once again be played at the United Center in Chicago and will air live on ESPN on April 2.

Here's a deeper look at five exciting matchups we'll see in the 2014 contest.

1. The battle of the giants
Jahlil Okafor (West) vs. Myles Turner (East)


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

#AskCoachB: Blackmon's upside at IU

December, 30, 2013
12/30/13
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

I believe the ceiling for James Blackmon Jr. (Marion, Ind./Marion) is high now, and when he gets into the college game, it can be even higher. The reason for that is because he has to do so much on his high school team by scoring and playing some point guard.

His team really needs him to put up big numbers to win, and he has delivered. He scored 54 points in one game, a school record. In eight games he has 285 points, which is 35.6 points per game.

At Indiana, his numbers won't be as gaudy but he will be more efficient while mostly playing at shooting guard, but he likely will slide over to point guard at times.

When the final rankings come out, he has a chance to creep his way up into a crowded field. Blackmon currently sits at No. 19.

His ability to be an elite shot-maker puts him in a rare category, along with a solid handle and good passing vision.

In the Big Ten, he has a chance to be all-league and a candidate for Big Ten player of the year someday. That's some pretty good upside.

SPONSORED HEADLINES