Hoosiers, Others Play Waiting Game

Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana isn't the only Big Ten school awaiting word from a coveted recruiting commodity. In addition to Kevin Jones (pictured), there are a handful of other talented preps who are making Big Ten suitors wait a little longer...

Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana isn't the only Big Ten school awaiting word from a coveted recruiting commodity.

The Hoosiers are expecting to hear on Wednesday whether or not Kevin Jones will join Devin Ebanks, Terrell Holloway, Tom Pritchard and Matt Roth in signing a national letter of intent to play in Bloomington next fall. A commitment from Jones would likely turn a top-25 or 30 IU class into one that would be considered among the top 15 nationally.

But IU isn't the only Big Ten school holding out hope for some more recruiting help. Here's a look at a handful of players who are undecided and might wind up in the Big Ten…

Player Name: Kevin Jones
School Waiting on an Announcement – Indiana

The 6'8", 195-pound forward from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., continues to keep things close to vest, but the best indication is that he'll pick between Indiana, West Virginia, Pitt and UMass. With that said, Jones was expected to make last-minute unofficials to Seton Hall and St. John's as well, so there are six or seven schools that still think they have a shot at landing Scout.com's 48th-ranked player in the 2008 class.

Jones is set to announce his decision on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. While his brother and advisor, Gerard, recently said that they wouldn't rule out delaying the announcement if Kevin hasn't come to decision, odds that Jones will in fact make his college destination known then. His announcement figures to be one of the biggest news items in college basketball recruiting Wednesday.

Player Name: Verdell Jones
School Waiting on an Announcement – Minnesota

First-year Gophers' coach Tubby Smith is hoping to lure the 6-4, 155-pound Jones to Minneapolis, but he might have to out-duel his old team, Kentucky, to make that happen. A Champaign (Ill.) Central H.S. standout, Jones is the 28th-ranked point guard in the '08 class and he's made visits to both programs in the last month (including one to Kentucky the weekend of Nov. 3).

While both are hoping for a commitment, they might have to wait until the spring. With the crop of '08 point guards pretty well picked over, Jones has been getting some new interest as of late and might opt to wait until the spring to sign. That would give programs like Marquette, Texas and North Carolina time to evaluate him and potentially offer.

Player Name: Terrelle Pryor
School Waiting on an Announcement: Ohio State/Penn State

There's no question who the highest ranked player on the board is, and that's Pryor. The 6-6, 215-poounder from Jeannette (Penn.) H.S. is Scout.com's 10th-ranked small forward in the nation and a dynamic athlete who can take his pick of schools that he'd player for.

The reason he can take his pick, though, is because of his football abilities. Pryor is Scout.com's top-ranked quarterback in the nation and No. 4 prospect overall. He's looking to play both sports in college, and recently took his first football official visit to Ohio State. During his time in Columbus he took a close look at Coach Jim Tressell's football program, but also stopped by to watch a Thad Matta basketball practice as well.

If Pryor does in fact want to play both sports Ohio State and Florida might have the inside track, but if he winds up focusing on football in-state power Penn State figures to be a recruiting force as well.

Player Name: Jonathan Baldwin
School Waiting on an Announcement: Michigan

Baldwin is another two-sport star who is getting more attention and offers for his skills on the gridiron. He's a 6-6, 215-pound wide receiver with 4.4 speed who hails from Aliquippa (Penn.) Senior High School. While he might wind up playing basketball in college, he'll be signing a football scholarship in February. While Pryor is a very good bet to play both sports in college, Baldwin is probably more likely to focus on football. But if he winds up in Ann Arbor, expect first-year basketball coach John Beilein to inquire about him playing with the basketball team once football season comes to a close.

Player Name: Luka Mirkovic
School Waiting on an Announcement: Northwestern

Indiana fans probably aren't familiar with Mirkovic, who hails from Serbia and now plays at LaLumiere School in LaPorte, Ind. But they are undoubtedly aware of his prep coach – Delray Brooks. The former Michigan City, Ind., high school phenom was the nation's top-ranked high school player when he signed to play at Indiana. He eventually transferred to Providence, where he played for Rick Pitino and alongside fellow guard Billy Donovan and helped the Friars advance to the Final Four in 1986.

Brooks' coaching career has been filled with peaks and valleys, and he's since wound up back in Indiana where he's coaching a major Division I prospect in Mirkovic. The Wildcats have had plenty of success with European players in recent years, and Brooks said Coach Bill Carmody's staff is recruiting Mirkovic harder than anyone else. Mirkovic has excellent range and passing skills, but his strength and athleticism are a bit of a question mark. Despite that fact, he's drawn interest from Northwestern, DePaul, Boston College, Providence, Texas A&M and Ball State. He might wind up waiting until spring to sign.

Player Name: Gene Swindle
School Waiting on an Announcement: Penn State

Schools thought they didn't have a shot at the 6-11, 260-pounder from Miami (Fla.) Gullver Prep because he verballed to South Florida. But the big man has since backed off the at commitment and Penn State has emerged as a possibility along with USF and Virginia Tech. Swindle took an official visit to Penn State in late October and raved about his trip, so Coach Ed DeChellis' squad has a shot to get a much-needed big body on the interior.

Player Name: Daniel Payne
School Waiting on an Announcement: Illinois

The 6-7, 210-pound forward was the Sporting News' preseason choice as National Junior College Player of the Year, and Illinois has recently surfaced as a possibility for the Coffeyville (Kan.) J.C. standout. A graduate of South Bend (Ind.) Clay H.S., Payne is also considering Arkansas and Wichita State. Arkansas appeared to be the favorite last month, but Illinois has emerged as a possibility, and indications are that Payne will now wait until the spring to sign.

Payne averaged 14 points and eight rebounds as a freshman and should be the leader of a team that is ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA's preseason poll.

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