Bloomington, Ind. – Reggie Bullock is already getting ready for his next conversation with IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.
Less than 24 hours after Sampson offered a scholarship to the 6'6" sophomore from Kinston (N.C.) H.S., Bullock was on the internet getting information about the Hoosier program. His high school coach, Wells Gulledge, said it was so that he'd be prepared the next time he talked with IU's head coach.
"Coach Sampson is such a right brain, left brain coach," Gulledge said. "(Reggie) didn't know a lot about Indiana, and Coach Sampson told him to get on the internet. The next time Reggie calls him, Sampson wants him to be able to answer some questions about Indiana basketball and its tradition. So Reggie was already getting ready for Coach Sampson's test that he's going to throw at him the next time they speak."
One of the things Sampson is hoping Bullock discovers is the passion that IU fans have for basketball. As a native of North Carolina Bullock is well versed in the passion that state has for its basketball programs, but Gulledge says he'll likely learn that the same goes for the Hoosier state.
"You have kids in Indiana who would saw a finger off to be a part of that program," Gulledge said. "So trying to explain to him how important basketball is in that part of the country – it's hard to explain to a child how kids grow up in Indiana wanting to be a Hoosier."
While Bullock is finding out about Indiana, the IU staff saw everything it needed to offer a scholarship Tuesday. IU Assistant Coach Jeff Meyer was in Kinston, N.C., Tuesday to watch Bullock workout. After Meyer returned to Bloomington, Gulledge received a phone call from Sampson soon afterwards to offer a scholarship.
"Coach Meyer likes the way he shoots the ball, and how easily the game comes to him," Gulledge said. "He seems to be in the flow at all times. Coach Meyer has been around a long time. You can tell a high caliber Division I athlete within the first two minutes of when he walks out on the floor, and he talked about his shot first of all, and then also how easy the game came to him and how unselfish he is with the ball."
Indiana might be the first to offer, but many more figure to follow. Wake Forest has been in to see him workout as well, and the Deacons are expected to offer a scholarship as early as next week. North Carolina, North Carolina State, Texas, Ohio State and Kansas are among the other high-profile programs that have either already watched Bullock workout or will do so soon.
"Indiana has probably started the snowball effect for his future for sure," Gulledge said.
But no matter how many schools offer, the fact IU was the first to do so will carry some weight, according to Gulledge.
"It's kind of like your first car," Gulledge said. "Indiana will always be the one that put something out there first for him, and he's never going to forget that. When the time comes for a decision, I think that will be in his mind."
While Kinston is a town of just under 25,000, it's no stranger to talented prep basketball players. Among the standouts the city has produced are current NBA players Jerry Stackhouse (Dallas Mavericks) and Herbert Hill (Philadelphia 76ers) along with former players Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell and Charles Shackelford.
Bullock could very well be the next player to make it big from Kinston. In fact, Gulledge said Bullock reminds him of another former North Carolina product who's now making it big in the NBA.
"The closest thing I can tell you is Josh Howard," Gulledge said. "At his age, they are a spitting image of one another. Their framework, their build, their touch around the basket, their demeanor, their scoring ability.
"I think Reggie is a lot more developed as a shooter than Josh Howard was at this point. But in regards to demeanor and how they play, it's pretty much a mirror image."
Once the other national programs begin extending scholarship offers, Bullock figures to become one of the bigger names in the 2010 class. It won't be easy for the Hoosiers to lure him away from the handful of state schools, but Gulledge thinks the Hoosiers have an in besides the fact they were the first to offer.
"These North Carolina kids, the ones that have a lot of talent, a lot don't get out of the state because of the ACC," Gulledge said. "With Coach Sampson's North Carolina roots, I think that North Carolina is an untapped area for him as far as being able to come in here and sneak a few out."
IU First In On 2010's Bullock
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