What We Learned: July Evaluation Period

The July Evaluation period is now over. The Indiana coaching staff was busy all month. Here's five things we learned from the exhausting month.

It was a long, exhausting July Evaluation period, and the Indiana coaching staff was very busy in each of the three open weeks.

AllHoosiers.com Justin Albers was at events during all three weeks. Here are five things he learned during the July period, as they pertain to Indiana.

1. FINDING A BIG MAN IS A PRIORITY ... We knew it should have been when the period opened, but Tom Crean really made it an emphasis to get out and try to find a big man in the 2015 class.

Crean opened the period by watching Raymond Spalding several times during the first week. He was the only head coach there for most of those games, and he did a very good job recruiting Spalding. It simply didn't work out. Spalding committed to Louisville, and Crean quickly moved on.

The Indiana coach shifted his focus to Nick Marshall and Thomas Bryant, watching and offering them both within days of Spalding's commitment elsewhere. Both Marshall and Bryant are elite and rising big men, and while it won't be easy to land either one, Indiana will certainly do everything it can to get at least one.

The Hoosiers remain thin on the front line and are still without a commit in 2015. They will have to go forward with Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Devin Davis and Jeremiah April this season.

2. SHOOTING FOR THE STARS ... Crean has never been afraid to get in the mix and fight for the best talent in the nation. And he's had success there in the past.

Crean's philosophy in that regard has not changed, and that was clear during July. Crean spent time in Las Vegas watching Thon Maker, the top overall player in 2016, and Maker's guardian says he will visit IU in August or the fall.

Crean also spent time watching Brooklyn guard Rawle Alkins, point guard Donovan Mitchell and De'Ron Davis in Vegas, all of whom there is heavy competition to get. Crean isn't afraid to shoot for the stars in every class, and that should be reassuring to Indiana fans.

3. CREAN IS ALL IN ON Kyle Guy ... If there was any doubt as to how badly Crean wants 2016 guard Kyle Guy at Indiana, those were put aside during the third evaluation period in Vegas.

Crean watched Guy in each of his three pool play games on Wednesday and Thursday with Indiana Elite, and had an assistant coach with him for one of those games. Guy blew up throughout the week because of his impressive play on a championship team, but Crean was focused on him before his success in Vegas.

Guy picked up new offers from Virginia, N.C. State, Iowa State and Northwestern on Sunday. He said he wants to visit Louisville in August. But believe this: Guy notices that Crean or an assistant are on the sidelines for most of his games. That's important.

4. BLACKWELL IS STILL A FOCUS ... Crean and his staff identified Braxton Blackwell as a priority in the 2016 class fairly early, and that hasn't changed since. The Hoosiers have been after Blackwell for some time now and they remain in great shape with the four-star prospect.

Crean sat courtside for one of Blackwell's games in Las Vegas, and he was animated when Blackwell attacked the rim for an and-one. Indiana is in as good of shape as any other school and are currently the favorite to land his services. He continues to grow more versatile each year, and he would fit well into Crean's system in Bloomington.

5. NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY SHOOTERS ... Indiana has a plethora of shooters on next year's roster. That is no secret. A year after shooting was one of the team's biggest weaknesses, Indiana adds James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Max Hoetzel, Tim Priller and others, all of whom excel with the outside shot.

But just because Indiana has tons of shooting coming in doesn't mean Crean isn't considering adding more in seasons to come. Last week, Crean watched and offered 2015 guard Matt McQuaid, who decommitted from SMU after Emmanuel Mudiay decided to forego college and play professionally in China instead. McQuaid is one of the top shooters in the class.

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