Key storylines: Indiana basketball recruiting first July period

Who did Indiana watch the most? What players is IU in best position with? What new names surfaced for IU? Read the key developments for Indiana basketball recruiting from national analyst Brian Snow and the staff.

Here are the key storylines for Indiana basketball recruiting following the first of the three July evaluation periods.

1. Players Indiana made a priority

Among the class of 2017 players Indiana coach Tom Crean and his staff saw numerous times were four-star center Nick Richards, five-star center Mohamed Bamba, four-star guard Brandon Randolph, four-star forward Deng Gak, four-star point guard Tremont Waters, five-star point guard Trevon Duval, four-star forward Jermaine Samuels, four-star forward/center Luka Garza, four-star forward Jordan Tucker, five-star shooting guard Hamidou Diallo, five-star forward Kris Wilkes, four-star forward Malik Williams, four-star guard Paul Scruggs, four-star foward Justin Smith, four-star point guard Matt Coleman, four-star point guard David Beatty and five-star wing Brian Bowen, among others.

IU, by our unofficial count, has not missed a PSA Cardinals or Expressions Elite game in the three evaluation periods, counting the two in the spring.

Crean made a special trip to go back to Indianapolis from the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., to see Wilkes and Scruggs twice on Saturday, and a special trip to Philadelphia to see Williams twice on the final day of the period. Crean also was courtside in Charlotte, N.C., for Wilkes and Scruggs. IU also watched 2017 shooting guard Andrew Platek, who has IU on the list of schools he plans to visit.

2. Movement on recruitments

IU has moved to the point it is likely to make the cut for several targets, among them Richards, Bamba, Wilkes, Williams, Randolph, Smith, Gak, Tucker, Waters and Coleman, and possibly others.

IU also has made a move with Duval and is clearly involved there.

Tucker, Smith and Platek all said this week that Indiana is one of the schools they plan to hit on an official visit.

Bamba, Randolph and Gak all plan to cut their lists at the end of July or early August, PSA Cardinals coach Terrance Williams told Richards in June said IU was one of the five schools recruiting him the most.

3. Indiana casting a wide net

The Hoosiers added a scholarship offer to Samuels from Expressions Elite. He is an AAU teammate of Richards and Waters.

Crean’s work with Duval and five-star shooting guard M.J. Walker of Georgia shows IU isn’t leaving any stone unturned in 2017.

4. Point guard dominoes

The point guard dominoes are going to very interesting.

What if Trae Young picks Oklahoma? What if Collin Sexton ends up at Kentucky and Quade Green goes to Duke. Does that make it more likely Waters could pick Indiana? What happens with David Beatty and Matt Coleman?

This will be a key storyline nationally and for Indiana.

5. The in-state big four

Indiana was very active with Wilkes, Williams and Scruggs.

Xavier, Indiana and Michigan State seems to be in the strongest position with Scruggs, who is very interested in immediate playing time.

Wilkes’ recruitment continues to grow and looks to be possibly be going longer than expected.

Among the schools aggressively pursuing Williams, IU and Louisville certainly prioritized him the first period.

6. Key 2018s

IU was absolutely a presence with Romeo Langford this week. Louisville was at every game. UK was there a lot, and North Carolina and UCLA also watched. But the Hoosiers made sure to be present and noted with the top 2018 in-state prospect.

IU also was active watching 2018 five-star point guard Darius Garland, who is originally from Indiana and spoke very highly of IU at the Peach Jam, and 2018 Indiana Elite point guard Robert Phinisee.

7. New prospect emerges

2017 guard Alex Barcello, a four-star prospect from Arizona powerhouse Corona Del Sol, told he is talking regularly with Indiana and will make an official visit if IU offers.

Crean and IU assistants Tim Buckley and Chuck Martin watched Barcello at the Peach Invitational Tournament in Augusta, Ga.

8 Al Durham update

The 2017 Indiana commit from Berkmar High School in Georgia was very solid.

Durham, a 6-foot-4 guard, was deferring to teammates in two games to help some of his lesser-know teammates show their game for a lot of coaches in attendance.

Overall, he was very good driving to the basket, using his length to score, using his body to get fouled and score from the foul line — he averaged 10 free throw attempts per game — moving his feet and using his long wingspan on defense and not gambling for steals and rebounding from his position. Three-point shooting is the biggest area of improvement for him right now.

In his five games, he averaged 15 points, shot 17-for-35 from 2, 2-for-15 from 3, had 29 rebounds, 12 assists and eight steals.

9 Could Indiana jump in with Chaundee Brown?

Crean and Martin both watched the 2017 shooting guard from Clearmont, Fla., and the Nike South Beach AAU team at the Peach Jam.

About 6-foot-5, strong, fast and quick, Brown shot the ball very well when we saw him in person, especially off the bounce.

He hit one ridiculous 3-pointer with 6-foot-7 Hasahn French in his face when he was keeping South Beach in the game against PSA.

Brown has both change of speed and change of direction and got to the rim very well this week.

10. Trendon Watford is very good.

Christian Watford’s younger brother, a class of 2019 forward, was playing two years up against EYBL competition in the Peach Invitational and scored 46 points in two games in one day.

IU hasn’t jumped in seriously yet, but the Watfords are aware IU has been monitoring Trendon, who plays at Mountain Brook High School in Alabama.

— national basketball recruiting analyst Brian Snow, Jeff Rabjohns and Mike Pegram contributed to this report. Top Stories