McGee Talks About IU Commitment

Chicago Crane small forward Brandon McGee talks about his reasons for pledging to the Hoosiers Tuesday night, and the impact that a recent trip to Bloomington for Coach Kelvin Sampson's Elite Camp had on his decision.

Bloomington, Ind. – Brandon McGee said there weren't any bells and whistles during his recent trip to Bloomington for IU's Elite Camp, and that as much as anything convinced him IU was the place for him.

Just days after returning home from IU's Elite Camp and getting a scholarship offer from IU, the 6-7, 220-pound forward from Chicago's Crane H.S. verbally committed to the Hoosiers Tuesday night, becoming the first member of IU's 2007 recruiting class.

"I was down there for the camp, and it was like a regular practice," McGee said. "It was hard nosed. (Coach Kelvin Sampson) said he wasn't going to hold anything back, and he didn't. We worked really hard.

"I was looking for a head coach that wasn't trying to be my best friend – someone who would push me really hard in practice, but then after practice someone you could go out to eat with. That's the kind of coach Coach Sampson is."

That trip to Bloomington helped convince McGee of that, and ultimately helped turn the recruiting tide in the Hoosiers' favor. Indiana is getting a small forward who turned a lot of heads during the summer AAU season, someone who climbed to No. 95 in's national rankings.

McGee said in the end, it came down to Indiana over Iowa.

"Both are great schools," McGee said. "(Iowa) Coach (Steve) Alford is a great coach. I took my time, thought about it, slept on it, and every day when I woke up after the camp, Indiana was in my head.

"It's a big relief to have to his over. I talked to my family and coaches and all of them said the same thing – Coach Sampson is a great coach and I'm making a good decision."

A member of the Illinois Warriors' AAU team, McGee played alongside Kansas-bound guard Sherron Collins a year ago on a talented Crane squad. While Collins grabbed most of the attention, McGee was still a key to the team's success, averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds as a junior.

It was during the spring and summer AAU season, though, when McGee's recruiting stock began to rise. That's because his AAU coach, Larry Butler, gave him an opportunity to play on the wing instead of exclusively in the paint.

"I took an opportunity and I ran with it," McGee said. "Someone gave me a chance to play on the iwng, coach Butler, and I ran with it. In April and May, he said you're going to play the 3 in college so just work on it right now."

He did that, and coaches took notice. Sampson was among those, and McGee said he has the tools Sampson was looking for.

"They told me I'm going to be a wing man," McGee said. "He said that's what he needed a big wing. My strengths are most definitely my shooting, my jumping skills and my versatility. I worked on that all summer, just being a belt to utilize all my skills on the basketball court. At the same time, you can never work too hard. I plan on keeping working on my ball handling, my jump shot and conditioning. By the time I get to college, hopefully I'm ready." Top Stories