European Big Man To Visit IU

Indiana and North Carolina have made last-minute pushes for 6-10, 245-pound European big man Cem Dinc. Brewster Academy Coach Jason Smith talked with Dinc Wednesday night and talked about an upcoming visit to IU, along with what Dinc's intentions are.

There's little question that 6-10 ½, 245-pound European big man Cem Dinc (pronounced Gem Dench) will be playing his basketball in the United States this winter, but where it will be remains very much a mystery.

It could be in Bloomington for IU Coach Mike Davis, or perhaps in Chapel Hill, N.C., for the defending national champion Tar Heels. There's also a very real possibility that he'll wind up at Brewster (N.H.) Academy suiting up for Coach Jason Smith, studying as a post-graduate student and being a Class of 2006 target instead.

In fact, Dinc enrolled at Brewster a couple of months ago for the fall and fully intended to play for the New England Prep School powerhouse this winter, and Smith thinks that's what Dinc's preference is. But some last-minute courting from both Indiana and now North Carolina has his plans very much in doubt, according to the Brewster Academy coach.

"We're not giving up – I talked to him last night, and I said, ‘we're in there – it's Indiana, North Carolina and Brewster,'" said Smith. "Pick the school that doesn't fit."

If Dinc winds up at Brewster, it will be his second go-around at the prep school. Dinc was at Brewster last fall, but wound up leaving near the end of the first trimester after a fracture of his right finger on his left hand limited what he could do in practice for Smith's squad. But after nearly a year back home and a successful stint with Turkey's national team, his intentions were to return to Brewster this fall and then go to college in the fall of 2006.

But some last-minute courting from Indiana, and some even more recent interest from North Carolina, though, has left him very much up in the air, and to be honest, very much confused.

"He is enrolled (at Brewster) and planned to return here a couple of months ago," said Smith, who added that he hasn't heard from either the Indiana or North Carolina staffs about their interest in Dinc. "Once people found out that he was returning here he has definitely been getting interest, but most of them were recruiting him as a 2006 kid."

Virginia, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Cal Berkeley are among the schools that have been in contact with Smith about Dinc for the '06 class, but both Indiana and North Carolina have visions of welcoming him to their campuses in a matter of weeks, not 12 months. Smith said Dinc is scheduled to visit Indiana on Monday, Aug. 22, and there could also be a visit to North Carolina immediately afterwards as well. Smith said North Carolina Assistant Coach Steve Robinson got in touch with Dinc for the first time on Wednesday.

Indiana became interested in Dinc due to the fact that Dinc's Turkish National Coach, Bogdan Tanjevic, coached Davis when he was playing overseas following his days at Alabama. According to Smith, Tanjevic has been encouraging Dinc to bypass a year of prep school and instead think about playing Division I basketball or turning professional.

"Basically, what the national coach told him was that he was too good to go to prep school – that he should either go to a major Division I school now or turn pro in Europe," said Smith.

Smith thinks the reason for Tanjevic's advice is because he doesn't necessarily have a good feel for the level of competition not only in the New England Prep School League that Brewster Academy is a member of, but on the practice floor at Brewster Academy as well.

"The national coach is telling him he's not going to develop (at prep school), because he thinks he's going to be playing against 16 and 17-year-old kids," said Smith. "I told (Dinc) that he needs to translate that we'll probably have 10 Division I players here, and the league we play in is ridiculous. It's not like (Dinc) is going to be dominating everyone.

"He's going to have to compete to get minutes here, let alone at IU or North Carolina."

This late whirlwind recruiting effort has Dinc with plenty of options, but also not much time to come to a decision, since IU's first semester begins Aug. 29.

"He's definitely overwhelmed right now," said Smith. "He said he had planned on coming to Brewster and taking his time with the recruiting, but now the national coach, who he respects greatly and who is very well respected throughout Europe, has told him he should go to college or turn pro."

Academically, Dinc is in good shape to play college basketball whenever he decides. He's academically qualified, having scored a 940 on his SAT while also having a 3.7 GPA. InsideCarolina.com reported this morning that Dinc has already sent his transcripts and SAT test scores to the NCAA as well as IU and North Carolina.

There are also no language barriers, as Dinc is fluent in at least three languages, including English.

Smith said he talked with Dinc Wednesday evening. Dinc is currently in Italy playing with the national team.

"From talking with him, he's very much undecided about what to do," said Smith. "He's a great kid, but he's very easily persuaded."

Smith says the reason for the interest in Dinc is obvious, due to an abundance of skills. Dinc likely would have been a top recruiting target a year ago had he not been sidelined with the finger injury that led to his returning home.

"He's a physical specimen," said Smith. "He's probably 6-10 ½ and 245 pounds, with about 8 percent body fat. His footwork is excellent, and he's very athletic. He can face you up, 15-17 feet out. The question mark is probably just his toughness, both physically and mentally, if he can make it through an entire season.

"But he's very skilled, a face-up four-man. With us he'd probably play 25-30 minutes/game, maybe a little more, because at this level, when you're 6-10 and 250 and athletic, you're going to play."

That very well may be the case after all. The Brewster coach, as well as Indiana Coach Mike Davis and North Carolina's Roy Williams, are waiting to find out.

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