Six hot Hoosier targets on the same court including a match-up of the top big men on on our hot board? This was definitely the game of the offseason from an Indiana recruiting perspective. It came in the Nike EYBL Finals/Peach Jam quarterfinals when New York based PSA Cardinals squared off against Expressions Elite, a Boston area EYBL program.
The main attraction was a much-anticipated center duel between Mohamed Bamba and Nick Richards. But the game also featured four other players targeted by the IU staff. Three of those - PSA shooting guard Brandon Randolph, center Deng Gak and Expressions point Tremont Waters, have held Indiana offers since the spring. Expressions rising senior Jermaine Samuels, however, earned his offer in the hours after the game (see Peegs.com story)
Richards had a big first 10 minutes as his team built an early lead. Bamba, however, was up to the challenge. He showed he was more than a defensive specialist by scoring 12 points including several nifty post moves. The EYBL’s top rebounder also grabbed 12 boards and PSA pulled away late for a 53-45 victory.
PSA went often to double teams in the post in the second half and Richards struggled some with the attention. While he finished with a game high 13 rebounds but was 2-for-10 from the field and finished with six points. Randolph had nine and Gak saw limited minutes. Waters and Samuels both had 12 for Expressions Elite.
Indiana coach Tom Crean was at the game along with Jay Wright, Jim Boeheim, Chris Mack, Danny Manning and Kevin Ollie. Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina had assistants at the game.
PSA into Peach Jam Final
The PSA Cardinals went on to the evening semifinals where it pulled out a come from behind 66-64 win over Team Penny. PSA was down by 18 points at halftime. While Bamba had a quiet game offensively his block on five-star forward P.J. Washington helped save the day in the final seconds.
PSA will meet the MoKan Elite at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Peach Jam Final. Fans catch watch the championship game on ESPNU.
Other evaluation period notes
Roy Williams of North Carolina and Steve Alford of UCLA watched New Albany rising junior Romeo Langford in an early afternoon consolation bracket game at the adidas Gauntlet.
After the game Langford told Peegs.com he's been on campus at Indiana four or five times and feels he's beginning to get a good feel for the program.
Soon after that contest 2018 guard Robert Phinisee had 13 points and ran the show with a smooth hand to lead Indiana Elite past Compton Magic 80-75 in a 16U consolation game at the adidas Gauntlet.
Phinisee told us after the game he plans to make another visit to Indiana in August or September. He's made two previous visits.
He said he may visit Purdue and Butler again. He also has made an Xavier visit.
IU, Purdue and Butler are his offers. Xavier and Louisville are starting to get more involved, he said.
Tom Crean and two assistants attended a Peach Invitational quarterfinal game Saturday between the Oakland Soldiers and the Southern Stampede. Al Durham Jr., Indiana’s only 2017 commit, plays for Southern Stampede. He wasn’t the only prospect to watch there as the Hoosier staff is now on the trail of Solder point guard Alex Barcello - see Peegs.com story.
Barcello had a game high 21 points as the Soldiers pulled out a one point win. Durham cut his lip in the game and had to leave the arena for stitches and missed the final few minutes of the game. He had nine points and a pair of assists in 22 minutes before departing.
Crean, Calipari hit Indy
Both Indiana coach Tom Crean and Kentucky head coach John Calipari made quick plan trips yesterday to Indianapolis. There in separate games they caught the Indy Hoosiers team featuring two players in long held Indiana offers in forward Kris Wilkes and guard Paul Scruggs.
Light Sunday action
The first evaluation period ends Sunday afternoon. There will be light action as tournaments finish up with tourney ending contests.