INDIANAPOLIS – One thing is certain, the demise of both Mike Davis and Tom Crean at Indiana will go down as failing to keep highly touted in-state recruits in Indiana. They failed to lure the states top kids to Bloomington. Just think about where IU would be if Davis was able to get Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Courtney Lee, Zach Randolph, Sean May and others to IU in the early to mid 2000s. Let that soak in for a minute. All would be NBA draft picks.
What about Crean?
Five of the last seven Indiana Mr. Basketball winners went out of state for college. 2010 Indiana Mr. Basketball Deshaun Thomas from Ft. Wayne Bishop Luers went to Ohio State. Gary Harris and Zak Irvin from Hamilton Southeastern won in back-to-back years in 2012 and 2013 and went north to Michigan. Harris wen to Michigan State and Irvin a four year star at Michigan. In 2014, Trey Lyles went south to Kentucky and just last year, Kyle Guy went east to Virginia. Both Lyles (Tech) and Guy (Lawrence Central) are Indianapolis kids.
How did they ever make it out of the state?
It doesn’t just stop there either.
In 2011, Crean missed out of Branden Dawson and Marcus Teague. They went to Michigan State and Kentucky respectively. In 2012, outside of Harris, Crean missed out on Kellen Dunham (Butler), R.J. Hunter (Georgia State), D.J. Balentine (Evansville) and Glenn Robinson III (Michigan).
In 2013, it was Demetrius Jackson and VJ Beachem, both would go on to star at Notre Dame. In 2014, it was Lyles, Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern) Trevon Bluiett (Xavier) and Tyler Wideman (Butler). In 2016, it was C.J. Walker (Florida State) and now for the 2017 class, IU has no one signed from Indiana.
Kris Wilkes, Jaren Jackson, Malik Williams, Paul Scruggs, Jordan Poole and Jacob Epperson, well they’re all four star or higher recruits. They’re going out of state for college. Three star kids like Jack Nunge (Iowa) and Cooper Neece (Butler), you know them as four-year stars, they’re not going to IU either.
How in the world did Crean miss out on all of these kids?
Granted, he could have tried and they may not have been interested, but that in turn is a problem too. In the glory years of IU, you know the years fans want them to return to, the top kids in Indiana went to IU. The Hoosiers would field a roster of former Indiana Mr. Basketball winners and Indiana All-Stars.
It needs to get back to that.
Imagine if IU had a starting five in 2012 of Yogi Ferrell, Gary Harris, Victor Oladipo, Kellen Dunham and Cody Zeller. Then, you’d have Hunter, Sheehey, Watford, Hulls, Dawson, Teague etc off the bench. They then could reload with Jackson and Beachem then Lyles, McIntosh, Bluiett and Wideman after that.
Imagine and team next year with Wilkes, Jackson, Williams, Scruggs, Blackmon Jr. and others.
Before anyone wants to point out roster space, or out of state talent like Watford, Oladipo, Sheehey, Thomas Bryant, Robert Johnson, OG Anonoby or others, I get that, but image the team without maybe a few of them and a few more instate NBA caliber players instead.
Want to know why IU is failing on the national stage so bad? It’s because they’re not getting the in-state talent. Check that, excuse me, the in-state NBA caliber talent.
I’d start there.