Bloomington, Ind. – So what did IU's interest in Tyler Zeller have to do with the decision to offer his AAU teammate Matt Roth?
According to Scout.com National Recruiting Director Dave Telep, pretty much nothing.
"It's a side benefit that he played AAU ball with Tyler Zeller, but that had little to do with Indiana offering him," Telep said.
Telep has watched Roth play on numerous occasions this summer with the Indiana Elite AAU squad over the summer, and believes the Hoosiers decided to offer him a scholarship for one specific reason. And it wasn't because of his 6'10" teammate.
"Matt Roth was recruited at Indiana for a specific task – make 3-pointers," Telep said.
Roth has done that at Washington H.S. at a record-breaking pace. As a junior he connected on 143-of-297 (48.1 percent) of his 3-point attempts, coming up just three long-range shots short of Aaron Long's state's single-season record of 146, set in 2003. Roth also made 100 3-pointers as a freshman, 86 more as a sophomore, and is on pace to break the state's career record for 3-pointers as a senior.
Roth is 329-of-739 (44.5 percent) from 3-point range during his first three prep seasons, leaving him just 42 3-pointers shy of Kevin Rhodes' state record of 371 set from 1987-91.
While there's more to Roth's game than simply the ability to knock down perimeter shots, Telep thinks that the dimension IU was looking for when it decided to offer the 6'3" guard. The Hoosiers offered Roth in July and eventually emerged as the winner of a three-team recruiting battle that also featured St. Louis and hometown Bradley.
He'll join an Indiana team that's been loading up on talent in recent years. Kelvin Sampson welcomed a top-five class a year ago highlighted by Eric Gordon and Jamarcus Ellis, and Roth's classmates include a pair of top-50 players in Devin Ebanks and Bud Mackey.
With that sort of talent expected on the IU roster, Telep sees some comparisons between Roth and Florida sharp-shooter Lee Humphrey. Humphrey made a school-record 113 3-pointers in each of the past two season for Coach Billy Donovan's NCAA Championship squads, including four in the Gators' 84-72 win over Ohio State in the '07 championship game.
"As Florida made its two-year run, college basketball coaches became keenly aware of what having great players surrounding them with a perimeter ace could do for their offense," Telep said. "I'm not saying Roth is Humphrey – it takes years of NCAA postseason success to make that comparison – but he can play a similar role.
"Indiana is set to do big things the next few years and Roth's role will be to stretch defenses and open up the floor. He's a high-major specialist by trade."
TELEP: Roth Arrives On Own Merits
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