Chattanooga (Tenn.) East Ridge H.S. Coach John Goddard tried to prepare his standout junior center Philip Jurick for what to expect during his trip to Bloomington last weekend.
The 6-10, 250-pound center from Chattanooga, Tenn., was one of a dozen recruits who were on hand for "Hoosier Hysteria." Approximately 12,000 fans were on hand to watch the Hoosiers' season-opening practice, the sort of scene the talented junior wasn't used to.
"I told him he was going to a place where basketball is THE sport," Goddard said. "They treat it different up there than they do here in the South."
Jurick, who grew up in Florida before moving to Chattanooga three years ago, came away impressed with not only how the fans treated the current players, but the future ones as well.
"He was impressed with the level of enthusiasm, and how the players were put on a pedestal," Goddard said. "He mentioned when (Eric) Gordon walked in the building, people were shaking his hand and getting his autograph. And that's a high school senior.
"I said ‘that's how they treat their players up there.'"
While Goddard might have done his best to prepare Jurick for the adulation Indiana players receive from the loyal fan base, he didn't have him prepped for the Bloomington weather. Jurick was ill-prepared for a brisk autumn afternoon on Saturday, which kept him from taking in IU's football win over Iowa and a subsequent basketball practice at Assembly Hall.
"The dummy didn't bring anything with him other than shorts," joked Goddard.
Despite that oversight, Indiana is still certainly hoping Jurick will be interested in following in Gordon's footsteps and eventually casting his lot for the Hoosiers. One of the elite big men in the 2008 class, Jurick averaged 15.3 points, 16.8 rebounds and 8.5 blocks as a sophomore.
Last season's performance, coupled with a big summer AAU season, has attracted the attention of just about every school in the SEC along with Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana in the Big Ten and Georgia Tech, Virginia and Clemson, among others, in the ACC.
"He's got a little overwhelmed with it," Goddard said. "He wasn't really prepared to be hit with an onslaught like he was, all this mail, all these text messages. But he talked like maybe toward the end of the year or in the season narrowing his list down to where he'd like to be. Then, possibly make a commitment somewhere from that group."
What appeals to programs about Jurick is the fact he has a huge frame and he's someone who knows where he's going to make an impact – in the paint.
"Philip is a true post player," Goddard said. "He's comfortable with his back to the basket. He's a strong kid with a good frame where he can pick up weight easy. He can run the floor, he has good hands, and he has a soft touch around the basket."
Like most kids his age Jurick has had an inclination to be more of a face-the-basket type of player, but Goddard has let his big man know where he can best help his high school team, and also where he has a chance to be an impact player at the next level.
"I wouldn't let him sit on the perimeter," Goddard said. "He knows if he's going to help this team and try to win basketball games, he's going to have to play in the post and use his body there.
"He said last year he wanted to develop his game like Adam Morrison. I told him that's not possible. Morrison was 6-8, 217 pounds, and Philip is 6-10 and 250. He isn't going to be that type of player."
What he is going to be, though, is a big man who will continue to be in big demand among a slew of programs from all of the major conferences. Indiana is among those interested, and IU's point man in Jurick's recruitment, assistant coach Rob Senderoff, has said he thinks the Big Ten is the perfect fit for Jurick.
"Indiana talked about how he has the type of body that's almost going to need to play in the Big Ten because of the style of play," Goddard said. "So that really sparked their interest."
IU Makes Lasting Impression On Big Man Jurick
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