IU Trying to Get Top-20 Talent to Town

Indiana has already gotten a commitment from '09 standout Dexter Strickland to make an unofficial for Midnight Madness. Now the staff is trying to lure another top-20 player from the class to town for a visit as well...

Bloomington, Ind. – The Hoosiers are trying to get Class of '09 standout Leslie McDonald to town.

The 6-4, 185-pound shooting guard from Briarcliff Christian Schools in Memphis has been fielding calls from the IU staff about coming to Bloomington for an unofficial visit, although nothing has been finalized yet.

"They've been telling me to come for a game or to come and see Midnight Madness," said McDonald, who is being helped through the recruiting by his father, Leslie Sr. "Hopefully we'll take an unofficial to Indiana. We're not sure yet – we're trying to see right now. But hopefully we can get there."

It's understandable why the Hoosiers are trying to lure McDonald to town. After all, he's Scout.com's 18th-ranked player in the 2009 class. He averaged 25 points per game as a sophomore and then starred at the USA Basketball Men's Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs over the summer.

That's gotten him noticed by a who's who of college basketball programs. He listed Indiana, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Memphis and Tennessee among the programs that have shown the most interest.

What all the programs see is a player who is the fifth-ranked shooting guard in the nation, but someone who's versatile enough to play a couple of different positions.

"I've been working a lot on my ball handling, because some teams in college might want me to play the 1, and others might want me to play two guard," McDonald said. "So that's why I'm working on my ball handling, my shooting, my slashing. I want to be versatile so I can play 1 or 2 or maybe even the 3. I'm just trying to be on the safe side."

While he's spent the summer months working on his game, McDonald said he's doing his best to get up to speed on what each of the programs have to offer both athletically and academically. He said he's been impressed with what he's seen from Indiana.

"(Indiana) started showing interest in me the beginning of my sophomore year," McDonald said. "That's when I started taking notice of them. I watched their season last year, and I like their style, and I enjoy their coaching staff. I like the players and what they do on the court.

"Coach (Kelvin) Sampson has been recruiting me, and I really like him. Me and him had a conversation and he's an uplifting guy, a down to earth guy, and I enjoyed talking with him. He's very cool."

But McDonald likes a lot about the other programs on his list. He recently took an unofficial visit to Tennessee, and he said he hopes to begin taking more unofficials in the near future. He's also in the process of trying to sort through a slew of offers and opportunities to try to get it down to a manageable level.

"My sophomore year I didn't think it was a big deal, I was taking (the recruiting attention) all in," McDonald said. "But my dad and I have been talking and we're thinking about gradually cutting the list down. I am a junior and next year I'll be a senior and committing, so we'll narrow it down."

McDonald also hasn't ruled out the possibility of making an early commitment.

"My dad and I have discussed committing early so I can get a feel for the college, but we really haven't decided on that yet," McDonald said.

Whether it's narrowing things down or picking a school early, McDonald does have a couple of things that will figure prominently into his decision.

"I like the fast tempo of play, but one that's also controlled," McDonald said. "I also want to go somewhere that fits me academic-wise and environment-wise. If I can get all three of those things, that would be good."

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