Leaf picks up Indiana offer

2016 forward T.J. Leaf was in Bloomington on Wednesday for an unofficial visit. He talks to AllHoosiers.com about how his day went and his thoughts on being offered by Tom Crean.

T.J. Leaf is plenty familiar with the state of Indiana. His grandmother lives in Indianapolis and he said nearly 80 percent of his family is rooted in Evansville.

But Leaf, a 2016 forward from El Cajon (Calif.), had never been to Bloomington. That changed Wednesday.

Leaf was on campus for an all-day unofficial visit, and he left town with a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers.

"We just went into the coaches office with all the coaches," Leaf told AllHoosiers.com. "Coach [Tom] Crean, he was just talking about my game, what he sees in me, how he sees I will fit here. It was like the whole coaching staff offered me because they were all in the room, but coach Crean was really the one who said it.

"It was a really great experience. I was ecstatic afterwards. It was a really good day."

Indiana has been recruiting Leaf since July when he was in Indianapolis for an AAU tournament. The Hoosiers' coaching staff has tracked him closely ever since.

"We talk all the time," Leaf said.

While on his visit, Leaf had the opportunity to tour the campus, meet with Indiana's academic staff, and play in an open gym session with the majority of Indiana's current players.

"I thought I did just as well as anyone out there," Leaf said of open gym. "I feel like I'm just as talented as those guys. Obviously they have some physical abilities that are better than mine right now, but that will come."

Leaf, listed a 6-foot-8 and 200 pounds, is a versatile player who can play both inside and out. He has a reliable perimeter jump shot, but also has the frame to go inside and post up.

"I've gotten a lot better at adding to my game, I'm a lot more versatile now," Leaf said. "I can go inside, I can step outside, bring the ball up the court, shoot 3s, get rebounds, get blocks.

"I see myself as a small forward but someone who can do whatever the coach wants you to do. I think I'm one of those guys at like 6-8 that can guard a big, guard a guard, bring the ball up the court if a big is guarding me."

Leaf has also recently picked up offers from UCLA and San Diego State. When asked what schools other than Indiana had been recruiting him the hardest, Leaf listed: San Diego State, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Michigan, California and Oregon. Leaf is planning to take unofficial visits to Michigan and California this month.

But Leaf said the Indiana offer will be tough to turn down.

"I have a lot of family out here, so that's always been a big plus," Leaf said. "It not at home, but it's the next best thing. And then it's a really historic program, and the coaches, I see myself just fitting in with the coaching and how they play really, really well. Everything just seems really good."

It was so good, Leaf could see himself returning to campus sometime in the near future.

"I might come to a game here this year in Bloomington. We'll see what happens," Leaf said.

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