Mailbag: Oct. 17, 2013

You asked them, I answered them. Get updated on all things IU basketball in today's mailbag.

Seeking6 writes: Who do you think has the best chance of giving IU their verbal early out of 2015/16 class? Malachi? Tyus Battle? T.J. Leaf? Guy? Anyone else? Or will they all draw it out?

JUSTIN ALBERS writes: Not an easy question to answer considering what a fluid, crazy process recruiting is. I can tell you that Indiana is in great shape with both Malachi Richardson (2015) and Tyus Battle (2016), the Hoosiers' top two target in each class. My best guess would be Richardson would be the first and most likely to commit early, but again, that's very hard to predict.

jahel writes: What is the latest in the Devin Robinson recruitment?  Which school is he favoring at this point?

ALBERS writes: No real update on Robinson since I updated his recruitment on Monday following his final official visit to Florida. A decision could come from Robinson anytime at this point. I'm hearing that Florida and Indiana are ahead of Notre Dame and Oklahoma State at this point, but the Oklahoma State staff has worked hard to sway Robinson. They met him at the airport following his visit to Notre Dame, and took another trip out to see him this week. They have connections to Robinson's AAU program, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of assistance that relationship provides Oklahoma State.

twoturntables writes: What are our realistic chances with James Blackmon Jr? Still slim to none?

ALBERS writes: Hard to say. Indiana coach Tom Crean paid him a visit at Marion High School this week, and Blackmon Jr. continues to speak highly of Crean and the Indiana program. But Blackmon Jr. will be at Kentucky this weekend for Big Blue Madness, and he also really likes Michigan. It'll come down to those three programs, but it's hard to actually say what Indiana's chances are to land him.

HoosierRich writes: Is Tom Crean saving the open DBO job for someone in particular? Is there a chance Coach would use that for an Ed Schilling UCLA type scenario?

ALBERS writes: I wouldn't say he's saving it for someone in particular, no. And there's always a chance he could hire a high school coach in that position, like UCLA did, but I wouldn't predict that to happen. Crean simply hasn't had time to work on filling that spot, and will likely wait until the spring to do so.

dyedinthewool writes: How long will PJ be away from the team visiting his father?

ALBERS writes: A couple weeks. Peter Jurkin's father is in poor health, and it's possible this may be the last time he gets to see him. So obviously that's more important than anything going on in Bloomington.

twoturntables writes: What is your latest starting 5?

ALBERS writes: I'll go with Yogi Ferrell at the point, Evan Gordon at the two, Will Sheehey at the three, Jeremy Hollowell at the four, and Noah Vonleh at the five. Once Stanford Robinson is healthy for an extended period of time, I think he'll eventually move into the starting lineup, and the same goes for Fischer. But for game one, I think that's how it'll look.

Seeking6 writes: Will 2014 class change our recruiting strategy at all on accepting early verbals? Or just chalk it up to other powers at be?

ALBERS writes: Not at all. And it shouldn't. If you stop accepting early verbals as a high-major school, you're already behind the curve because your competitors will continue to do so. Sure, two early commitments have decommitted recently. But I don't think there's any reason to overreact, and even if you did, I still wouldn't recommend not taking early verbals because you have to in this day and age of recruiting. Just the way it is. It's not going away.

jahel writes: It will be important for IU to get one or two good big men in 2014 class.  Hearing anything about who may be the prime and realistic targets?

ALBERS writes: I don't think I agree with your statement. Now that center Goodluck Okonoboh committed elsewhere, I don't see the Hoosiers getting a big man in this class. For next year, they're going to have to rely on Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Vonleh and Luke Fischer to carry the load on the inside. If they had gotten Okonoboh, great, but I don't necessarily agree with going after a lesser prospect just to add another body. There are plenty of elite big man prospects in the 2015 class.

twoturntables writes: What we're the biggest takeaways from Hoosier Hysteria (regarding either recruiting or current players)?

ALBERS writes: That's a good question. Since the other questions in the mailbag have had to do with recruiting, I'll stick strictly with current players for this one. The biggest takeaway for me, was the way Gordon played. I had some doubts about how much he'd be able to help the Hoosiers this season, but he really impressed me with his explosiveness and leadership in the Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage. I could see him playing a significant role this season.

The other one, for me, would be Hollowell. I expected Hollowell to be improved and take on a bigger offensive role as a sophomore, but I didn't know he would look quite as good and aggressive as he did in the scrimmage. Hollowell's outside shot was improved, he attacked the basket at will, and he rebounded at a high level. He could very well lead the Hoosiers in scoring this season. Top Stories