Tom Pritchard is going to have the opportunity to follow in Delvon Roe's footsteps.
The 6'8", 235-pound Pritchard won't be headed to Michigan State along with his St. Edward's (Ohio) H.S. teammate, but he does have a chance to join Roe in the Big Ten thanks to scholarship offers a couple of Big Ten schools, Indiana included.
It's an opportunity Pritchard's high school coach Eric Flannery expects him to take.
"Whether it's because Delvon is going to Michigan State or what have you, Tom really has a desire to play in the Big Ten," Flannery said.
Flannery said Pritchard is down to three schools – Indiana, Penn State and Miami (Ohio). Miami was Pritchard's leader for much of the recruiting process before some others got involved, and Flannery said he's kept them as one of his finalists because of the comfort level he has with the Redhawks' coaching staff and players.
But ultimately, Flannery expects Pritchard to wind up in the Big Ten.
"I think it's really between those two (Big Ten) schools," Flannery said.
Pritchard has taken unofficial visits to all three of his finalists, and has scheduled an official visit to Penn State for the weekend of Sept. 8 before heading to Bloomington the following weekend for an official. Soon afterwards, Flannery expects his big man to make a decision.
"I think it will come pretty quickly after the visits," Flannery said. "For some reason he's always had the desire to go to Penn State, and that's why they're in the picture. I think his gut feeling is he likes Penn State, but his mind is also telling him that it's tough to turn down Indiana because of the level of play.
"He's sort of stuck between the two, which is why he wants to continue to make these official visits even though he's been to both places."
Like a handful of other major programs, Indiana first got involved with Pritchard in late June. While he played alongside Roe as well as elite freshman point guard Pe'shon Howard on a St. Edward's team that went 25-1 a year ago, Pritchard hadn't garnered the same sort of national attention as his teammates. That was due in large part to the fact he had played high school baseball for two years and had missed the important summer AAU circuit and the exposure that comes with it.
But he was out on the circuit this summer, and IU Coach Kelvin Sampson was among those who took notice.
"(Sampson) understands Tom's skill level is very high and he'll continue to get better," Flannery said. "His best basketball is still ahead of him, although he's still very good right now. I think (Sampson) likes his ability to pass the basketball from the 4 as well as being very strong and physical around the basket and able to defend. That's what really interested them in Tom."
Flannery said Pritchard also has very good footwork, great hands and can step out to 15 feet to shoot, while his unselfishness is another characteristic that makes him a hot recruiting commodity.
"He's a bigger 4 who is skilled," Flannery said. "He's not going to wow you with a dominating performance, but he's going to be a kid who knows how to play the game and is very fundamentally sound.
"I don't know that I'd call him a dominant player yet, but I would call him an exceptional role player."
He's also a much more confident player as well. He's spent his high school days playing alongside gifted athletes such as Roe, which has in turn helped boost his confidence in regards to what level he's capable of playing.
"He knows he's playing against one of the top players in the country every day in practice," Flannery said. "When he showed he can compete with him and isn't intimidated by that level of play, Tom realized that he has that potential and play at that level as well. The sky is the limit for him. That's really something that's developed over the last year or year and a half."
Pritchard Headed to Big Ten?
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