Hoosiers Land Hardy

Mike Davis is not wasting any time recruiting the best from the class of 2004. Davis' strategy to land the country's best players failed this recruiting season, but Davis redeemed himself already this season by adding Robert Vaden and now Fort Wayne Elmhurst swingman James Hardy.

Big Ten coaches will have their hands full in 2004 containing Indiana's perimeter offense. Bracey Wright can bury shots from NBA range and so can James Hardy who verbally committed to become a Hoosier on Wednesday.

Hardy can consistently nail shots 20 feet away from the basket, but he needs to work on his upper body, especially considering that he will be playing in the physical Big Ten. He gained Fort Wayne Elmhurst statewide notoriety on the basketball court and on the football field, where he led the team with 9 touchdowns. So toughness will not be an issue for the 6'6 guard/forward. He averaged 22.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game and led Elmhurst to the state 3A title game.

Hardy planned on waiting until November to make his decision, but he decided he wanted to be a Hoosier after Pike's Robert Vaden committed to Indiana instead of Purdue.

Hardy's teammates believe he wanted to go to Indiana all along and did not want the Hoosiers to use any more of their five available scholarships on swingmen. Hardy turned down offers from Florida, Michigan State and Kentucky.

Hardy and Vaden will be quite a combination for IU. They both have exceptional range, athleticism and basketball savvy. Both are among the top 50 players in the class of 2004, and they are the two best players in Indiana.

The latter fact might be the most exciting to Hoosier fans. Some fans criticized Davis and his staff for not recruiting better in state. Indiana produces some of the best players in college basketball and by recruiting well in state IU can return to being a perennial powerhouse. Coach Davis appears to have corrected the problem.

Hardy says he talked to Davis about his role with IU after the Hoosiers signed Vaden, and he believes Indiana will feature a three-guard offense allowing the duo to play together.

Next up for Davis is the 6'9 power forward D.J. White from Alabama. Davis and White already have a good rapport. IU is among the front runners for White, and with his addition the Hoosiers would have one of the best recruiting classes in the nation.

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