The IU basketball program got a gift Wednesday when a gifted big man pledged to the Hoosiers just days before the start of the fall semester – Cem Dinc.
The 6-10, 245-pound big man from Europe, gave Davis his verbal commitment Wednesday morning, according to his prep school coach, Jason Smith.
"He called me this afternoon and told me he committed," said Smith. "He was really excited about Indiana and he really enjoyed his visit there."
Indiana wound up being Dinc's lone pursuer for this year's recruiting class, but he was getting interest from North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Virginia, among others, for 2006. Most schools expected Dinc to play for Smith at Brewster Academy this year, but IU's late interest prompted him to go to college for the 2005-06 season.
While Dinc was enamored with the players and the coaches during his two-day official visit to Bloomington, Smith thinks the biggest selling point was a chance to move out and play away from the basket more than he's grown accustomed to.
"I think the selling point was that Coach Davis would allow him to play a lot at the 3 position and maybe even some at the 2," said Smith.
While the supposed move to the wing and possibly the backcourt will be something new for Dinc, Smith said there's no mistaking the amount of potential that Dinc has. While Smith only coached him during the preseason of the 2004-05 campaign before a broken finger sent the big man back to Europe for the year, Smith said his upside is huge.
"In terms of physical tools, Indiana has a great prospect, someone with a tremendous amount of upside," said Smith. "There aren't a lot of 6-10, 250-pound guys walking around with his level of athleticism and his intelligence. Six-foot-10, 250, with about 8% body fast with a 3.7 GPA – they aren't falling off the trees."
They might not be falling off trees, but Dinc seemingly fell into Indiana's lap during the last two weeks. Indiana apparently has Turkish National Coach Bogdan Tanjevic to thank for that. Tanjevic, who coached Mike Davis when he played in Europe after his playing days at Alabama, encouraged Dinc to either go to Indiana or to turn professional in Europe.
Dinc opted for the Hoosiers, and Smith said Dinc is looking forward to being a Hoosier.
"I think he's very excited and comfortable (with the decision)," said Smith. "I told Cem that I look forward to watching his career at Indiana and staying in touch with him and watching him make the transition to the 3 spot."
Smith will also be watching to see how well Dinc adjusts to the Big Ten style of basketball. The Brewster Academy coach said there are no doubts about Dinc's physical tools, only about the level of mental and physical toughness he'll need at Indiana.
"My question is only if he understands the level of intensity that's needed to play at the Big Ten level," said Smith. "Is he physically tough enough? Is he mentally tough enough? Those are questions that I don't know because I didn't get a chance to coach him during the season. He was only here last fall during the preseason.
"I think those are questions that very few people can answer other than Cem. Nobody knows – nobody has seen him play, no one has seen him go through and deal with the adversity of a season, so it will be interesting to see how that develops."
Hoosiers Get a Gem in Dinc
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