Indiana hasn't won the recruiting battle for coveted Texas big man Darrell Arthur, but Hoosier Coach Mike Davis has certainly won over the 6-9, 215-pounder.
That's the case according to Arthur's AAU Coach, Jazzy Hartwell, who was in Bloomington along with Arthur and his mother earlier this month for his official visit to Bloomington.
"He really liked Coach Davis, and his mom really liked Coach Davis," said Hartwell. "When he went up there to visit, (Davis) kind of won him over. Darrell really liked it there.
"Indiana and the coaches were really down to earth with him. There wasn't anything fake with them. They were being themselves and I think that went a long way with the mom and Darrell and me. They were so genuine – that's what Darrell really liked about Indiana and more specifically about Coach Davis."
Arthur, the nation's third-ranked power forward according to Scout.com and a top-20 player nationally, averaged 22 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks as a junior at Dallas' South Oak Cliif H.S.
He's considered a gifted athlete who can play all three frontcourt positions.
"I think he can play a variety of spots," said Hartwell. "I think it's the 3 and the 4 that he'll play the most. The way he's shooting the ball from the perimeter now, the way he's running the floor and how he can put the ball on the floor, he can play the 3. He has the inside game that he can play inside and score and defend that spot as well."
His IU visit was one of four officials he's already made. In addition to his IU trip, Arthur has also made officials to North Carolina, Kansas and SMU, and plans on making a fifth official visit to Baylor this weekend. He'll wrap up his trips with a yet-to-be-scheduled unofficial to Texas.
While his visits will be wrapped up before the November signing period, Hartwell said it's unclear whether Arthur will sign in the fall or in the spring.
"We're going to have to talk about a few things and see how he feels (about signing in the fall)," said Hartwell.
Hartwell might be unsure when Arthur will sign a letter of intent, but he said it's clear that Indiana and Kansas are the two programs that have separated themselves from the recruiting pack. Arthur visited Kansas for the Jayhawks' Midnight Madness festivities the weekend of Oct. 14, and that visit also made a lasting impression.
"With any kid, when you go to something like Midnight Madness, it's going to be an unbelievable scene," said Hartwell. "It's going to be like that at any big school, the first night of practice."
Another thing that both Indiana and Kansas have going for them is the sort of talent on their rosters that won't put too much of burden on Arthur's shoulders too early in his college career. Both programs are ranked in the nation's preseason top 25, and both will return plenty of talent to the roster in 2006-07.
"I think one thing with Darrell, he needs a supporting cast," said Hartwell. "I wouldn't want him to go to a school where he's by himself and he'd have to carry the load. You want a supporting cast, and I think with Indiana and Kansas, they would have a supporting cast."
While three of the six schools that he's visiting are within the state of Texas, going out of state is something that Arthur is very much open to, according to Hartwell. While there might have been a time where Arthur's preference was to stay close to home so that he could be near family and friends, his eyes have been opened a bit with the caliber of programs that have been recruiting him.
"Sometimes you have to venture out," said Hartwell. "Sometimes you have to venture out, find your own calling in life. It might mean you have to go to another state – it's part of life."
That opened the door for Indiana and Davis, who let Hartwell know that he was very much interested in Arthur for its 2006 recruiting class.
"When Coach Davis said he really liked him and really wanted to recruit him, I talked to Darrell, and he said I'm open, Coach," said Hartwell. "After that, Coach Davis started recruiting him, he went on a visit and that's where we are today."
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