IU Insider Blog: April a big commit

Jeremiah April filled a need for Indiana Friday when the 7-foot center gave Tom Crean his commitment. Here is why I think on paper April's commitment has a chance to be much better than a few recent IU big men.

You knew the naysayers would be quick to denounce Indiana's most recent basketball commit Friday.

And so it came as no surprise that moments after Jeremiah April tweeted on his Twitter account that he had committed to Indiana that someone would fire the first shot.

Of the 7-foot center from the state of Arizona who announced Friday he would play basketball beginning this fall at Indiana, one quick tweet I saw compared April to Peter Jurkin. "We just signed Peter Jurkin all over again,'' is what it said.

Here is why I think this is different.

Justin Albers of AllHoosiers.com put up a story on April earlier Friday evening. Included in that story was a video of some of his games this season.

Go back and look at the video we initially saw of Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea for that matter. Dunks, dunks and more dunks. That and a few straight down blocks, too. The video in both cases trumpeted the fact that both players had height and could score easily around the rim.

But here's what stood out to me after watching just a few minutes of Jeremiah April for the first time.

He had a really nice soft touch on his jump shot. He had post moves but he would rise to the top of his jumper and then flip up a sweet little shot that in these videos all hit nothing but net. It also showed a few dunks, a few plays in the open floor where he got ahead of the back and some blocked shots, too.

It also showed some nice passes from the high post down low.

Now, am I saying that April is ready to step in and play right from the start at Indiana? No. I think that's an unrealistic expectation. I do expect him to battle for playing time right away though as he fills a definite position of need for the Hoosiers.

But let's face it. Indiana needed a big and all the news it had received in recent weeks was one prospect after another opting to go somewhere other than Bloomington.

So to now snag a 7-foot, 235-pound big man is a step in the right direction. I think the fact he was originally classified in the class of 2013 but opted to go to prep school to hone his skills is a positive as well. The IU coaching staff has felt that April has made significant improvement over the past eight months.

And again, he has that one intangible that you can't coach: He's 7-feet tall.

I understand why Indiana basketball fans may be a little cautious. Indiana hasn't exactly had a good run with big men outside of Cody Zeller in recent seasons. Tijan Jobe, Bawa Muniru, Guy-Marc Michel and even Luke Fischer, who opted to transfer before he really had a chance to achieve his potential at Indiana all come to mind.

I get all of that. But when you look at the class of 2014, you look at it a little differently now. Instead of three guys that did not address a need inside, you have one who clearly fills that bill.

It's a start.

One thing I also liked was the fact that it took the Austin Etherington story off of the top of IU websites like AllHoosiers.com today and replaced it with the story of IU picking up a commit.

This isn't to say that I don't wish Etherington all the best in his new stop at Butler because I absolutely do. I always liked Austin. He's a great kid and one who was always very respectful.

Still, with Etherington as the headline it still reminded IU fans of someone who opted to leave the program. Now the headline focuses on a player who has decided to make Bloomington his home.

Sight unseen even. April has never been on campus. Now that's a leap of faith. Having moved from California to Indiana in the spring of 1986 I can tell you all about the differences. April will experience them, too.

But what Indiana has to offer this young man is much more than what he will experience climate wise in the winter. The Hoosiers will give April an opportunity for immediate playing time and a chance to grow and develop as a player. In many ways, I think it's a perfect fit.

And forget about the naysayers right now. Indiana definitely filled a need Friday with the April commitment and that's the bottom line here.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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