Big Things Coming in '08 Hoops Recruiting?

Indiana already has commitments from Bud Mackey and Eshaunte Jones for the '08 class, but who are some of IU's top forntcourt targets? HoosierNation.com takes a closer look at Yancy Gates and some of the other players that are high on the wish list...

Bloomington, Ind. – Can Kelvin Sampson go back-to-back?

In his first season as IU's head coach, Sampson put together a five-person recruiting haul that included arguably the nation's best high school player (Eric Gordon) and the country's top junior college talent (Jamarcus Ellis). It's a grouping that is ranked No. 6 nationally according to Scout.com, IU's best national ranking since Mike Davis landed the D.J. White-led 2004 class that was ranked No. 2 nationally.

Now, Sampson turns his attention to trying to secure a second top-flight group of recruits in 2008.

With A.J. Ratliff, Lance Stemler and Mike White set to exhaust their eligibility next spring, IU will have at least three scholarships to offer.

That number could expand to five or six, though. D.J. White and/or Eric Gordon could opt to go to the NBA next season, thus freeing up a scholarship or two. There's also the uncertainty over the status of Joey Shaw and Xavier Keeling, and whether or not Sampson will sign multiple players during the spring signing period if both decide to leave the IU program. Indiana is already expected to sign 6-8, 303-pound junior college big man DeAndre Thomas next week, and it's recently been reported 6-7, 225-pound JUCO forward Rodney Alexander will visit this weekend as well. Alexander averaged 13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.5 steals for the Redlands Community College this past season and is considered one of the top 20 JUCOs.

So what will Indiana have in store for 2008?

Sampson already has commitments from a pair of guards in 6-2 Bud Mackey and 6-4 Eshaunte Jones. Mackey is ranked No. 43 nationally by Scout.com, while Jones is currently No. 86. Mackey is considered a combo guard who was recently tabbed as the best player in the state of Kentucky for 2008. Sampson has compared him to former Oklahoma All-American Hollis Price, who guided the Sooners to the 2002 Final Four. Jones, meanwhile, is a shooting guard from Ft. Wayne who will attend prep school next season and then enroll at IU.

With those two in the fold, the Hoosiers' attention will likely turn to the frontline. One player the Hoosiers have circled on their wish list is 6-8, 255-pound forward Yancy Gates from Cincinnati's Wthrow H.S. The stepson of former UAB standout Tony Dees, Gates averaged 17.0 points per game as a junior and figures to be one of the most sought-after power forwards in the Midwest. He already has an IU offer, along with others from the likes of Georgetown, Ohio State and Cincinnati, among others.

Earlier this week we took a closer look at Beas Hamga, a 6-11, 230-pound center from Decatur (Ill.) Christian that IU is very interested in. But besides Hamga and Gates, who are some other bigs to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and month? Here are a handful of IU targets…

- Jarrod Jones, 6-8, 210, Michigan City (Ind.) – Jones isn't ranked in Scout.com's top 100, but he's one of the top players in the state and is someone Indiana is actively recruiting. He averaged 18.4 points as a junior on a team that went 8-13.

- Ralph Sampson III, 6-10, 200, Hunstsville (Ala.) – The son of former Virginia All-American and NBA standout by the same name, Sampson has been receiving interest from IU assistant coach Ray McCallum, who recruits the south for the Hoosiers.

- Angel Garcia, 6-11, 210, East Chicago (Ind.) – A high school teammate of Purdue-bound E'twaun Moore, Garcia is ranked No. 34 nationally in the '08 class and has listed Indiana as his favorite.

- Chris Singleton, 6-8, 205, Canton (Ga.) – A versatile big man who might be better suited to play small forward, Singleton has said Tennessee is his leader, but listed IU among a group of three schools that were all tied for second on his list.

- Emmanuel Negedu, 6-7, 215, Brewster (N.H.) Academy – Like Hamga, Negedu has ties to Bloomington thanks to Indiana Elite AAU Coach Mark Adams, who helped bring Negedu to the U.S. from Nigeria. Like Hamga, he had significant interest in Iowa when Steve Alford was coaching the Hawkeyes, but his departure could open up a big opportunity for IU with this physically gifted power forward.

- Luke Fabrizus, 6-8, 210, Arlington Heights (Ill). – Like Garcia, Fabrizius has been more of a face-the-basket type of player during his prep days, someone with a good perimeter shot and a developing inside game. He's been to Indiana for an unofficial visit.

- Brett Thompson, 6-11, 200, Vienna (Ill.) – From downstate Illinois, Thompson averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds as a sophomore and then upped that to 25 points, 11 rebounds and nearly 10 blocks per game as a junior. He has been offered by IU.

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