When it comes to Indiana basketball recruiting these days, the subject starts and stops with one player – Darrell Arthur.
The 6-9, 215-pound Dallas, Tex., product took his fifth and final official visit this past weekend to Baylor. Scout.com's 12th-ranked player in the Class of 2006, Arthur also took officials to North Carolina, Indiana, SMU and Kansas. With the start of the fall signing period just days away, a decision from Arthur could be coming any day.
Or then, again, maybe not.
Arthur's AAU coach, Jazzy Hartwell, told Scout.com's Dave Telep that he was supposed to meet with Arthur and his mother Monday night. One of the subjects on the agenda was to try to decide whether the South Oak Cliff H.S. standout would sign in the fall or wait until the spring.
Whenever the decision comes, Indiana Coach Mike Davis is hoping that Arthur will wind up in an IU uniform and serve as the crown jewel of a recruiting class that also features guards Armon Bassett and Deonta Vaughn along with wing Xavier Keeling.
There's little question that Indiana needs to bring in some talent on the frontline, with the graduation of Marco Killingsworth and Sean Kline at season's end, along with the uncertainty of whether sophomore D.J. White and James Hardy will be back next season as well. White may have the opportunity to depart for the NBA, while Hardy could wind up deciding to concentrate on football.
If that worst-case scenario unfolds and the Hoosiers lose all four, IU could have only two scholarship players on the roster who stand taller than 6'6" – 6'10" sophomores-to-be Ben Allen and Cem Dinc.
The addition of Arthur, though, would be more than just another big body on the bench. He has a chance to be a big contributor on both ends of the floor from day one.
"He's really super athletic," said Hartwell. "His strengths on the court are rebounding and blocking shots. He defends well, he can jump out of the gym, and he runs like a deer."
Arthur is also extremely quick off the floor, which makes it extremely difficult for opposing big men to get shots up and over him. He's also athletic enough to defend just about every position on the floor. It's that defensive prowess that has helped him garner recruiting attention from coast to coast.
"When you have a guy that can guard 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s, that says a lot," said Hartwell.
But he also has plenty of weapons on the offensive end. He's done most of his damage with his back to the basket during his prep career, but he's adding a face up game as well. He's also becoming much more adept at shooting for the perimeter, according to Hartwell.
"He always had good form and good touch, but it was confidence," said Hartwell. "Once he knocked down a couple, he developed the confidence that he can shoot the ball well."
Hartwell said that Indiana and Kansas are Arthur's leaders, although the trio of Texas schools are far from out of the running.
The AAU coach said that it's important that Arthur's mother and Hartwell are able to stay in contact with the prized recruit once he's in college. While Indiana and Kansas are certainly the two schools that are farthest from Dallas, Hartwell said he said that he didn't think that would be an issue at either school.
"I know his mom, they are close, and I know I want to be there with him," said Hartwell. "We want to be able to come to the games, and I think we'd be able to do that at both (Indiana and Kansas).
"He went to ABCD camp, and neither one of us was there, and that was a major problem. We have to be able to put a hand on him, because he is in his comfort zone with his family."
Arthur is coming off a junior season when he averaged 22 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks, leading South Oak Hill to the Class 4A state championship. His team heads into the 2005-06 campaign ranked No. 1 in the state's preseason poll.
IU Waiting On, Hoping For Arthur
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