Five Burning Questions About IU Recruiting

Kelvin Sampson is in Las Vegas along with IU assistants Jeff Meyer and Rob Senderoff. Who is the staff looking at, and what's in store for the rest of the '08 class? HoosierNation.com looks at the five biggest summer recruiting questions facing IU...

5. How many scholarships will Indiana use?
Indiana has already secured commitments from a pair of players for the 2008 class…but how many more will the Hoosiers bring in?

Indiana signed six players in the 2007 class, and it's not out of the realm of possibility it could sign that many was well, eventually, this year as well. Three scholarships will free up with the departure of Mike White, Lance Stemler and A.J. Ratliff at season's end, and IU still has one scholarship at its disposal following the decisions of Joey Shaw and Xavier Keeling to transfer. That leaves four scholarships that will undoubtedly be available with the class.

That number could grow. Many think D.J. White and Eric Gordon will leave for the NBA after the season, meaning IU would have six scholarships to use once again. But don't expect the Hoosiers to sign six in the fall. White could get a medical redshirt for his injury-plagued 2005-06 season, so he could return for a fifth year if he desired. Gordon, meanwhile, is only a freshman who many expect to be one-and-done, but that could certainly change depending on how his debut season goes.

With that in mind, it's unlikely the Hoosiers would sign six in the fall. But it would appear to be a safe assumption that they could sign five if they so desired, and then wait to see what unfolds during the season and sign an additional player or two in the spring.

4. Will Indiana land someone from Illinois?
It was a sidebar compared to the lead story of Eric Gordon a year ago, but the Hoosiers' efforts in Illinois – and specifically Chicago - in the '07 class turned plenty of heads. In his first class as IU's head coach, Sampson plucked three players with Chicago Public League experience – forwards Brandon McGee and JaMarcus Ellis along with center DeAndre Thomas.

Chicago has never been an easy city for schools to recruit, and some coaches wind up deciding it's more trouble than it's worth. But IU's efforts there opened some eyes and has apparently opened some doors in the city and the state. Class of 2009 recruit James Kinney made mention recently how Illinois preps are taking a more serious look at IU, and many of the top '08 targets from Illinois considered the Hoosiers.

A couple of Chicago-area players are still available and considering IU. Six-foot-seven forward Josh Crittle is one, and he received a scholarship offer from IU about a month ago. Also still on the Hoosiers' wish list is 6-4, 240-pound Simeon H.S. center Stan Simpson, who also received an IU offer recently. Landing one of them would be a nice bridge to the 2009 class, which has plenty of talented players that IU will target. Possibilities include Kinney, small forward Jordan Walker, shooting guard D.J. Richardson, and power forward Jordan Prosser, among others.

3. Where will Eshaunte Jones wind up?
It came as a surprise to some that Ft. Wayne, Ind., shooting guard Eshaunte Jones de-committed from the Hoosiers earlier this summer and re-opened his recruitment. He's added the likes of Missouri, Cincinnati, Oklahoma and Tennessee to his list of schools, and it now appears very possible that the 73rd-ranked player in nation according to Scout.com will wind up elsewhere.

How big of a loss would that be to the Hoosiers? If you believe the words of his AAU coach, Eric Vaughn, it is huge. Vaughn told InsideMizzou.com that Jones "should average 20 a game as a freshman" if he wound up there and that he could very well be a one-and-done player who heads to the NBA after one year of college ball. But more than likely, it wouldn't be that big of a hit.

While Jones was the third-leading scorer in the state a year ago, he does the majority of his damage from behind the 3-point arc and is still slightly built at 6-4 and 170 pounds. During his time on the Indiana All-Star team he didn't do anything to suggest he was at the same level of Gordon or Purdue recruits E'twaun Moore, Scott Martin or Rob Hummel. Maybe a year of prep school will do for Jones what it did for current IU sophomore Armon Bassett, but at this point, losing Jones doesn't appear to be that big of a blow.

2. Will there be another point guard in the class – and who will it be?
Bud Mackey has already pledged to the Hoosiers and is expected to play plenty of point guard in college, but expect to see another ball handler in IU's class as well. The two most likely possibilities appear to be Dashan Harris and Lewis Jackson.

The IU staff was in attendance to keep a close eye on Harris during a solid but not spectacular effort in Sunday's opener in Las Vegas. The 6-0, 170-pounder is the 71st-ranked player in the nation according to Scout.com, and the ninth-ranked point guard. Perhaps even more important, though, is the fact he's one of only two top-15 point guards who hasn't already committed elsewhere. That will make it a very hotly-contested battle that features the likes of Texas A&M, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Cincinnati and Cal.

If the Hoosiers don't get Harris, Jackson might be next in line. While some call into question Jackson's size (5-9) and his perimeter shooting, he's a deft ball handler, a pass-first point guard and a lightning quick defender. He's also the point guard on one of the top AAU teams in the country this summer (Indiana Elite) and he might even help with the Hoosiers' pursuit of Tyler Zeller.

1. Can Indiana get the best in-state player for a second straight season?
With one top-10 forward already committed to the Hoosiers in Devin Ebanks, the Hoosiers top priority for the remainder of the recruiting season figures to be trying to secure a commitment from the best in-state player for the second straight season.

A year ago that was Indianapolis shooting guard Eric Gordon, and this season it's Washington, Ind., forward Tyler Zeller. Zeller's recruitment won't attract the national spotlight that Gordon's did due to the his de-commitment from Illinois, but it will be every bit as challenging to get Zeller to Bloomington. After all, the 6-11, 220-pound has a list of nine finalists that includes North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Notre Dame (where his brother, Luke, plays) and Purdue, among others.

The popular belief is IU will have to play catch-up if it's going to get Zeller. But Sampson was sitting courtside to watch Zeller and his Indiana Elite AAU squad at this week's Adidas Super 64 event in Las Vegas along with assistant coaches Rob Senderoff and Jeff Meyer.

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