Crean on hand as IU prospects play in AAU tournament in Cincinnati
By Jordan Cohen
The first major event to take place was adidas’ It Takes 5ive Classic in Cincinnati, which ran Monday through Wednesday. Seeing as it was the first time college coaches could scout at an AAU tournament since last summer, both head and assistant coaches flocked to the University of Cincinnati from all ends of the country.
IU basketball coach Tom Crean was joined by assistants Tim Buckley and Bennie Seltzer, as they saw their share of young prospects. Though they watched 2010 commitment David Williams play with the Atlanta Celtics, much of their focus was on 2011 prospects.
Jeremiah Davis, Muncie Central (Ind.)
In May 2008, Crean was the second college coach to extend a scholarship offer to Jeremiah Davis. His offer list includes Tennessee, Purdue, Xavier and Cincinnati, though he said he hopes Wake Forest will offer soon.
Though Billy Gillespie offered Davis a scholarship while at Kentucky, new Wildcats coach John Calipari did watch the 6-foot-3 guard for a bit Monday and previously had told him to be “patient” with his recruitment, Davis said.
While it seems that IU is more focused on five-star point guard Marquis Teague from Indianapolis, Davis could be a nice fit for Crean, who was seated under the basket during Davis’ entire first game on Monday.
Davis, a four-star recruit ranked No. 76 in the 2011 class according to Rivals.com, is a big guard that has drawn comparisons to Utah Jazz star Deron Williams, which he calls “a great compliment.”
As for IU, Davis had plenty of kind words for Crean, calling him “a good influence” and “a great competitor,” and certainly noticed him courtside Monday.
“I saw him every time I went down there, so that was a lot of pressure,” he said after the game. “But I tried to be loose and play together with my teammates.”
He added that he is looking forward to meeting new coaches this summer. After Cincinnati, Davis will head to Louisville, Ky. later this week and then Memphis early next week.
Davis played well by most standards for Indiana Elite/Team Indiana in game one Monday, scoring about 20 points, dishing out a handful of assists, taking a charge, blocking a shot or two and playing well with his teammates.
Austin Etherington, Hamilton Heights (Ind.)
Though recent Xavier commit Darwin “Dee” Davis and the aforementioned Jeremiah Davis drew most of the attention of coaches and spectators Monday, another player Crean and Seltzer had their eyes on was Austin Etherington.
Etherington, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward and a four-star prospect according to Scout.com, recently received a scholarship offer from IU. He also has offers from Xavier, New Mexico, Butler and Oklahoma State, he said.
While playing alongside guards Dee and Jeremiah Davis pushes Etherington to the three (small forward) position, the Hamilton Heights junior describes himself as a “two-guard who can shoot the ball.” He also can run the point, and has played some point guard for his high school team, he said.
Etherington, who said he is looking to improve all aspects of his game, might try to make a trip out to Oklahoma State despite a busy AAU schedule this summer. He already was at IU last month for the Elite Camp.
Marshall Plumlee, Christ School (N.C.)
Marshall Plumlee is the brother of Miles and Mason, both of who will suit up for Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils next year. With that in mind, plus the fact that he is just shy of being 7 feet tall, plenty of coaches were watching Plumlee and the Indiana Elite One squad this week.
Though Plumlee hails from Warsaw, Ind., during the year, he attends the Christ School in Arden, N.C. The four-star recruit, ranked among the Top 50 prospects by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, looks like he will follow in his brothers’ footsteps by attending a big-time Division I school.
As of Monday afternoon he had offers from IU, Notre Dame, North Carolina State, Virginia, Minnesota and LSU, he said, though other coaches were watching his team’s games.
Plumlee said he knows he needs to get stronger, especially since he has grown a lot in the last year, but he plans on working on all aspects of his game.
The big man has “strong (family) roots” up near Purdue, he said, and thus only
recently has been around Bloomington. But, after seeing the campus, he said he is “definitely going to pay more attention” to IU and he “can’t wait to learn more about the program.”
Because he goes to school in North Carolina, he has gotten comfortable being away from his home and family. As a result, he seems open to playing just about anywhere.
“I’ve kind of gotten used to being away from home, so I could be playing in China and I wouldn’t mind,” he joked.
Cody Zeller, Washington (Ind.)
Plumlee isn’t the only big man on Indiana Elite One with two talented older brothers.
Cody Zeller, brother of former Indiana Mr. Basketball winners Luke (Notre Dame) and
Tyler Zeller (North Carolina), is also on the squad.
Zeller, about 6-foot-9, is another Indiana prospect.
He would be the first to admit he needs to bulk up, though, and says getting stronger “will help everything,” including rebounding and passing.
Zeller has offers from IU, Butler, Purdue and Iowa, he said on Monday. He was recently seen playing with brother Tyler at IU, but he said it was merely to play basketball, as his high school gym was closed.
The junior-class prospect, rated three stars by Rivals.com and four stars by Scout.com, said there is no timetable set for making a college decision. Like Plumlee, he said he wouldn’t base his decision on location, and he also wouldn’t choose a school just because one of his AAU teammates is going there.
In addition to getting stronger, Zeller said he hopes to develop a better outside shot.
“It would be a big weapon if I could get it down,” he said.
Matt Carlino, Bloomington South
IU picked up its first commitment for 2011 back in August when then Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland sophomore Matt Carlino gave his pledge to Crean.
Recently, Carlino and his family moved to Bloomington, where he will join the South Panthers. Throughout the summer he has made it onto campus to participate in open gyms with both current and former Hoosiers, he said.
“It’s been really fun,” he said. “The guys down there are all into basketball, playing all the time so it’s been really fun.”
Carlino, recently tabbed the No. 72 junior recruit in the nation according to Scout.com, plays his AAU ball with the aforementioned Zeller and Plumlee, as well as future South teammate and 2011 recruit Spencer Turner.
The point/shooting guard said he wants to get stronger and improve his dribbling, in particular, though he wants to improve all aspects of his game.
“Just the basic skills to get better as the level gets higher,” he said.