Armon Bassett knows he's headed to Bloomington, and he'd like to bring as much talent with him as possible.
That's why the 6-2, 180-pound point guard at Hargrave Military Academy has been keeping a close eye on not only the progress of the 16th-ranked Hoosiers, but the high school players who could one day play alongside him in Bloomington.
Among those is Valparaiso junior Robbie Hummel, arguably the state's second most highly-regarded junior behind North Central's Eric Gordon. Bassett has talked with Hummel, and has a good feeling about where he stands with the Hoosiers.
"I've been talking to Rob Hummel, working on him," said Bassett, who is averaging 15.1 points and 7.1 assists in Hargrave's first 12 games. "Being a point guard, I think I'm a likable person, and if I talk to them, I think I can push that edge over with some of the recruits."
The 6-7, 190-pound Hummel has seen his stock explode in the last six months following a strong summer AAU season. He's received upwards of 10-12 scholarship offers already, including one from Indiana. He was in Bloomington for the Hoosiers' contest against Duke earlier this month, and Bassett believes Indiana is in good position with Scout.com's No. 15 small forward in the Class of 2007.
"He tells me he likes IU a lot and that he likes Coach Davis," said Bassett. "I think IU is at the top of his list. I think he said IU, Miami (Fla.), N.C. State and Purdue, and I told him, ‘then that's a no brainer.'"
Bassett also realizes the value in bringing in a talented homegrown Hoosier as well. Indiana currently has eight in-state products on the roster, but recent recruiting misses with the likes of Josh McRoberts, Luke Zeller, Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Eric Gordon make re-establishing those strong in-state ties critical the future success of the program. As a native or Terre Haute, Bassett knows how much it means to him to have to opportunity to play for IU, and now much it would mean to litter the roster with local products.
"I told him we want to keep the in-state kids going to Indiana," said Bassett.
Bassett has also offered some recruiting advice to the biggest name in the 2007 class – O.J. Mayo. The 6-4, 190-pounder from Cincinnati's North College Hill H.S. might be a household name to basketball fans, but the whole recruiting process is still a new experience for the 17-year-old, which prompted him to ask Bassett for some guidance.
"I played with him a bit this spring and I stayed with him for about a week, he was thinking about college and the NBA, and he was asking about what college coaches say, what you say to them, stuff like that," said Bassett.
Just about every program in the country has some interest in the top-ranked player in the 2007 class – including Indiana - and he's a virtual lock to spend at least one year in college with the new NBA collective bargaining agreement that prevents preps from going into the NBA until one year after their high school graduation. That's likely brought even more teams into the fray.
"I know how much pressure in on a kid who's going through this," said Bassett. "I said you have to trim it down, you have to break some relations with some coaches."
The opportunity to spend time with Mayo, meanwhile, told Bassett a lot about not only the abilities of the combo guard, but also what kind of person he is off the floor.
"OJ is a super person," said Bassett. "He really helped me. He's probably one of the two most humble people I've ever met, him and Greg (Oden). They are probably the two best players in the country, and they're probably the two most humble people I've ever met. That's going to take them both a long way."
Bassett, meanwhile, hopes to go a long way once he's in Bloomington next fall. While Hummel and potentially Mayo wouldn't have the chance to play alongside him until the 2007-08 season, he's also interested in trying to aid the Hoosiers' recruiting efforts with '06 Texas big man Darrell Arthur as well.
The 6-9, 215-pound Arthur is a top-15 player nationally who has said publicly he's favoring Indiana and Kansas. Many suspect that he'll wind up in Bloomington if Davis gets a contract extension at season's end, and Bassett admits he'd love to play alongside the gifted big man.
"I'm going to try to get him number and start working on him," said Bassett. "I think if we get him, as far as the pick and roll, I'm already good with it, and I haven't played with a power forward that can shoot it like he can. So we'll do a lot of damage with that 1-2 punch."
Bassett Aiding Hoosiers' Recruiting Efforts
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