Jai Steadman, the head coach at Westwind prep school in Arizona, has known Indiana assistant coach Steve McClain for some time. They've become friends, and Steadman always lets him know if he has a player McClain and Indiana might be interested in.
Steadman called McClain last fall to let him know he had just gotten a 7-footer the Hoosiers might want to look at. Steadman knew the Hoosiers' need for help inside. His name was Jeremiah April.
McClain watched him play, both in person and on film, but April still needed more time to develop. He wasn't a Big Ten level center just yet.
When Steadman recently called McClain to let him know of April's dramatic improvement, the Hoosiers were again intrigued. McClain watched him, and was impressed.
He said, 'Wow, he's gotten so much better,'" Steadman said. "He told me he'd have coach [Tom] Crean watch some film, come out to see him and see about offering him."
Crean and McClain flew out to Arizona on Friday to meet with April and Steadman. They first watched April play in a scrimmage, and that was all Crean needed to see. He offered afterward.
After talking it over with his mother and listening to a pitch from Crean and McClain, April decided to commit to Indiana without letting another day pass. He becomes Indiana's fourth commit in the 2014 class.
"It was pretty cool," April told AllHoosiers.com. "I had a scrimmage and they told me how they liked my game and how they thought I could fit in at Indiana. We talked about life and being successful, too, and I just really liked the coaches."
April is currently 7-feet and 235 pounds, according to Steadman. He has put on 15 pounds since getting to Westwind in the fall and has increased his bench press by 100 pounds.
"The kid just turned 18, he's a late bloomer," Steadman said. "I told him when I got him, 'You're gonna be a star. You don't have to be ranked to be a star.' He played at a 1A school and probably didn't get a ton of exposure. But I just told him to work and he could be successful. And he has. He's one of the best I've ever had."
April averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and four assists per game last season in 68 (not a typo) games for Westwind. He shot 53 percent from the field and 78 percent from the foul line.
Steadman said he had games of 30 and 28 points during the season.
"He's a quiet, good kid," Steadman said. "No drinking, no smoking, I've never had any problems with him. He just wants to get better."
When asked to describe his game, April said "I'm a quick big man who can post up but is also able to shoot and move." He said he doesn't yet know when he will arrive on campus in Bloomington, but said he plans to talk with coach Crean soon.
April has never visited the Indiana campus, but that doesn't mean he isn't at all familiar with it.
"He did his research. He saw the facilities, who was leaving, who was going," Steadman said. "He's a smart kid."
April is Indiana's first big man in the 2014 class, and there should be a good opportunity for him to earn minutes right away next season. He will compete with Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis, and if healthy, Peter Jurkin.