Bloomington, Ind. – Whomever the full-time basketball coach ends up being in Bloomington, they'll have two immediate tasks on hand when they take over.
The first will be re-recruiting for the 2008 class. Indiana signed four players in the fall – Matt Roth, Devin Ebanks, Terrell Holloway and Tom Pritchard – but it's very much in doubt whether any or all of them will wind up in Bloomington.
Holloway and Ebanks both have outs in their letters of intent that release them from their IU commitments if there's a coaching change. While Roth and Pritchard don't have similar verbage in their LOIs, Indiana would be hard-pressed to deny them a release if they requested one.
With coaching changes becoming common place these days, Scout.com National Recruiting Director Dave Telep said it's becoming more common for recruits to have outs in their LOIs to protect them in case a situation such as Kelvin Sampson's unfolds.
"Using Oklahoma with Sampson as an example, Scottie Reynolds, Damion James and Jeremy Mayfield each opted for other programs," Telep said. "I'm not sure what the statistics are, but some stay and some go."
The one IU is most concerned about is Ebanks, the 6-8, 185-pound wing from St. Thomas More Prep in Connecticut. Scout.com's 13th-ranked player in the '08 class, Ebanks is viewed as someone who can step in and fill the scoring void that will come with the expected departures of D.J. White and Eric Gordon to the NBA.
"The higher profile the kid, the kid, the more difficult it is to keep him because he'll wind up with great options," Telep said. "In the case of Ebanks, he has existing relationships with schools from the first time around."
Indiana's goal will likely be to get a coach in place before the start of the spring signing period, which runs from April 16-May 21. During that time the new Hoosier coaching staff would be able to try to convince him that IU was still the right spot for him. One of the obstacles to that strategy, though, is the fact IU isn't scheduled to appear before the NCAA Infractions Committee until June, so it will still be unclear whether or not the program will face any additional sanctions from Sampson's staff.
While the new IU coach is trying to keep the '08 class together, he'll also have to scramble to piece together the '09 class as well. That will involve making sure Tipton, Ind., forward Derek Elston is still intent on coming to Bloomington, while also trying re-connect with other top '09 targets such as Stephan VanTreese, Mason Plumlee, Leslie McDonald and others.
The '09 recruiting efforts will be made a little easier by the fact the NCAA will have issued a ruling on IU's violations long before the November signing period, so there won't be any doubts in recruits' minds about the possibility of NCAA tourney bans and other unlikely – although potential – possibilities.
"It will be a very fast moving and somewhat confusing time for a new staff," Telep said.
Despite those challenging times ahead, Telep thinks that IU can come out of its recent troubles in good shape, particularly if it can get a coach in place in time to try to keep the '08 class together.
"I think there's a knee-jerk reaction that the sky is falling – I'm not completely on board with that," Telep said. "Sure, the new guy will have some questions to answer, but don't forget there's always a momentum swing when a new coach takes over."
Telep Offers Take on IU's Recruit Situation
Peegs.com Top Stories
Freddie McSwain close to returnJunior college transfer Freddie McSwain speaks to his return to full go action and his transition to high major basketball at Indiana.
Peegs.comYesterday at 1:34 PM
Quality 'Priller Time' in Hysteria scrimmageJunior forward Tim Priller had back-to-back baskets in a stretch during Saturday's Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage to show he's improved his game. Before that he sat down with Peegs.com…
Peegs.comYesterday at 1:08 PM
Tackles adding up for Tegray ScalesIt has been a long time since Indiana has seen a player rack up the tackles like Tegray Scales has this season.
Peegs.comYesterday at 10:37 AM
2016 Indiana Football Scholarship ChartCheck out the Peegs.com 2016 Scholarship Chart for the Indiana Football team.
Peegs.comYesterday at 10:13 AM