Kids in Indiana get a lot of exposure very early on in their high school careers. That leads to an accelerated recruiting process and early commitments. No place is that more obvious than in 2013 where already four of the top in-state talents have made their college pledge, the most recent being Basil Smotherman to Purdue.
Every college coach will always say that missing out on a kid never kills a program, however taking a kid who isn't good enough, that is what can hurt. With only 13 scholarships to give, and roster turnover do to players leaving early for professional basketball or due to transfer, each full ride is valuable, so it is important to not only get commitments, but to land quality ones, especially early on.
In 2013 in Indiana currently seven kids have all emerged from the pack as unique talents. Two Indiana University commitments, Collin Hartman and Devin Davis, two Purdue University commitments, Bryson Scott and Smotherman, and then three uncommitted kids, Zak Irvin, V.J. Beachem, and Brenton Scott.
Picking which player is the best of those seven is currently nearly impossible. When Scout.com updated the player rankings right at the beginning of the high school season, the choice for No. 1 in the state was Hartman with Irvin immediately following him.
Since that point, Scout.com has had viewings of all seven players, and it is clear that none have stepped up to take control of the class within the state. On Saturday when Smotherman and Hartman did battle, Smotherman finished with 11 points and one rebound, while Hartman managed five points and six rebounds.
Beachem, who is a Ft. Wayne native, has had some huge games, including a recent 34 point performance against the Scott twins. Meanwhile, Brenton Scott, who is the less heralded twin, has for the most part produced numbers even or in some cases better than his brother, though Bryson is coming off of an ankle injury.
In fact, injuries have been the name of the game with this class this season, and they have muddled the picture even more. Irvin has had a knee injury, Bryson Scott an ankle, and Davis has battled back issues throughout the year.
While the Scott twins are both basically combo guards, the other five prospects make their home on the wing, and after multiple evaluations of all of them, the general consensus in the state is that you can throw their names in a hat and pick one out and that is the best player.
Beachem has the most skill and has a good feel for the game, but lacks strength and isn't always assertive, Hartman is a knock down shooter, but lacks the athleticism to defend on the wing, Davis is a good athlete and plays hard, but doesn't have a refined skill level, Smotherman physically is the most impressive and can make shots, but hasn't been productive enough on a consistent basis, and Irvin is a good shooter with long arms and good height, but needs to improve his handle along with gaining strength.
All of the players in the state certainly have talent, that is why they have pulled in multiple high-major offers, but to this point none of them have exploded onto the scene as the superstar player in the class. Until one does separate himself, the questions will always remain about did Indiana and Purdue to take the right guys.
The next two years will be interesting to watch to see how the state sorts itself out, and who emerges. Right now Indiana and Purdue both have made their choices, and to be fair numerous other schools in the Midwest have offered the same kids, and if Beachem or Irvin emerge as the guy in the class, it will be intriguing to see how that is handled, and how fans and coaches alike will react.
Early commitments are the norm in Indiana, however in 2013 the evaluation skills of all involved will be put the test as the players share so many similarities. Right now it is tough to differentiate first from seventh, and how that all shakes down could have a huge impact on the future of several programs who make a living recruiting the state.
In recruiting it is almost never about who your team misses, it is about who they bring in, and in 2013 in Indiana they are flying off the board quickly, but the question remains, which school is getting the right guys?