Crean Calling on Harrellson

BLOOMINGTON - IU Coach Tom Crean called Friday to check in on the status of Josh Harrellson, who is still in the process of getting a release from his 1 1/2-year old letter of intent. Harrellson will be submitting a list of schools that he wants to be released to possibily attend. Is Indiana going to make the cut? has the answer...

BLOOMINGTON – New IU Coach Tom Crean is showing some interest in a potential spring recruiting target.

Crean called Southwestern Illinois Junior College Coach Jay Harrington Friday to inquire about 6-9, 250-pound big man Josh Harrellson, who should soon be back on the recruiting market. Harrellson, who signed with Western Illinois in the fall of his senior season but wound up attending SWIC instead, is in the process of getting a release from that letter of intent to WIU.

"I talked to Tom today, and like a lot of coaches he's just questioning me to see if Josh is going to get the release," Harrington said.

Crean is one of a handful of eager coaches who has to wait until Harrellson is released by WIU before making any recruiting contact with the player or his family. While Harrellson is in the process of completing the necessary paperwork, there are still some hoops to jump through before Crean or any other coach can recruit him.

According to Harrington, Western Illinois won't grant Harrellson a blanket release, which would free him to go to any school. Instead, the WIU athletic director is having him submit a list of schools, and he will then decide which ones he would release Harrellson to attend. It's unclear what criteria WIU would use to make that decision, although it might scratch a school that is either in their conference or on a future schedule.

After WIU okays certain programs, those various schools' compliance officers must call Western Illinois' compliance officer before they can start recruiting him. There's also a recruiting dead period to deal with, which ends next Friday (April 11).

As of Thursday night, the list Harrellson was expected to submit was Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue, Kentucky, Iowa, Iowa State and St. Louis.

"He might submit more than that and see what happens," Harrington said. "It could be that he submits 10 and they say nine of them are out."

There are a lot of high-major Division I schools interested in Harrellson, who averaged 14.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in his first season at the junior college level. He was one of four all-conference and all-region players on Harrington's roster, a group that also includes Minnesota signee Devron Bostick.

Harrellson has dropped 30 pounds from when he first arrived on campus, and the St. Charles, Mo., product is an intriguing to a lot of schools because he's a big body who can also face up and knock down a mid-range jump shot. He also has three years of eligibility remaining.

"I think Josh is a pretty speedy kid for that size, he can jump really well for that size, good hands, a good passer," Harrington said. "I think he needs to work on having multiple post moves. Right now he only has one or two post moves that are really successful. But one thing he can do is step out and shoot it. His mid-range is pretty successful."

Assuming IU gets approved by WIU, Crean could have some advantages over other schools. First of all, playing time could be plentiful considering the state of IU's roster. On top of that Harrington is very familiar with the IU program since one of his past players, Lance Stemler, recently completed his senior season at IU.

The Southwestern Illinois College coach is also very familiar with Crean, since Marquette signed one of his players, Lawrence Blackledge, two years ago. Blackledge spent the last two season with the Golden Eagles, averaging 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 27 games this past year.

"At our level a lot of coaches big-time you, and Tom Crean has never done that," Harrington said. "I've known Tom Crean for a long time, back to when he was an assistant at Western Kentucky. He's never forgotten the little guys, and I really respect him for that." Top Stories