It’s still early the recruiting battle for rising junior Robert Phinisee, but this already has the looks of a real in-state rival war for the McCutcheon (Ind.) point guard.
That began last year with scholarship offers from Indiana and Purdue. Their interest was only enhanced when Phinisee helped lead McCutcheon all the way to the Class 4A state championship game.
“Those two (Purdue and IU) contact me the most,” Phinisee said last weekend at the adidas Gauntlet Finale in South Carolina. “I probably talk to them every other day. They’re recruiting really hard.”
One more in-state power has joined the parade. Butler often waits until after a player has finished his sophomore year of high school before offering. That’s why it was little surprise last month when Bulldog coach Chris Holtmann gave Phinisee the good news.
“We came in and talked and they offered me,” Phinisee said. “Then they took me on a tour around campus. They just say I’m a true point guard. I’m someone they think can come in right away and play. They’re a pretty good program. I like them a lot.”
He’s holding at those three big in-state offers but other programs showed interest when coaches began calling 2018 prospects on June 15th.
“Since contact period, Stanford, Louisville, Nebraska, Xavier, Purdue, IU and Butler,” Phinisee said.
The past year also saw him make games at Xavier and Louisville.
McCutcheon is in the Lafayette area and he’s made multiple trips to Purdue including a recent one with his entire team.
“We went to the Purdue Shootout and we went 3-1,” Phinisee said. “We’re just trying to get back to state and win this year.”
He’s made multiple trips to Bloomington including a big home win for Indiana over Ohio State this past January.
We asked where things stand now with his interest in the Hoosier option.
“It is really high,” Phinisee said. “They were the first school to offer me and are recruiting me really hard. I am really close to the staff, (assistant) coach (Tim) Buckley and (head) coach (Tom) Crean.”
His conversations with the staff have moved into what he has to work on to make a successful jump to high major college basketball.
“(Tom) Crean says my three-point shooting,” Phinisee said. “I know my mid-range is pretty much there but I need to keep working on my three-point shooting, get more shots up and get more consistent.”
Before his junior year gets going, he plans to get in a few more campus unofficials.
“I’ll probably visit IU, maybe Butler, Xavier probably. I’m not really sure yet. I’ll see more in August.”
Trevor Andershock of Indiana Basketball Source contributed to this report.