Is Keeling Coming or Going?

Xavier Keeling's high school coach talks about a recent trip for the IU coaching to Huntsville, Ala., and the chances of Keeling still winding up in an IU uniform.

It didn't take Coach Kelvin Sampson's staff long to let fall signee Xavier Keeling know they were still very interested in having him in Bloomington this fall.

According to Keeling's high school coach at J.O. Johnson H.S., the new IU staff was in Huntsville, Ala., last week to meet with the 6-6, 218-pound forward and his family.

"They came down real quick," said J.O. Johnson coach Kenneth Betts. "They're ready to roll with him. They wanted to reaffirm their interest, and he's trying to reaffirm his interest in coming up."

Keeling is coming off a senior season where he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds, earning him honorable mention Class 5A All-State honors.

In the wake of former IU Coach Mike Davis' decision to step down, there has been plenty of speculation about the future of the members of IU's 2006 recruiting class as well as current members of the team. Indications are that sophomore guard Robert Vaden will transfer to UAB to play for Davis, while the futures of people such as Keeling, fellow fall signee Armon Bassett and sophomore D.J. White remain up in the air.

"When they come after these kids, a young guy has to like the coach," Betts said. "I'm sure Mike Davis did a good job of convincing him to come there. I'm sure when a coach steps down, a kid has to be scared."

Some time as passed since Davis' decision, though, and now Betts is hoping Keeling does follow through and wind up in Bloomington.

"There's no doubt this kid can play at Indiana," Betts said. "Regardless of who coaches Indiana, Indiana is probably the best place for him, in my opinion.

"I hope he still goes to Indiana. As far as I know, he's going to Indiana. I pray everyday he makes that decision."

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