Bloomington – Indiana athletic department officials should be receiving some paperwork from Southwestern Illinois College big man Josh Harrellson today.
It's not a letter of intent, but rather a release form from Western Illinois, the school where Harrellson originally signed a letter of intent. Harrellson has requested and been granted a "conditional" release from WIU, and he must now send individual release forms to the handful of schools he's now considering.
Harrellson said he plans on sending releases to Indiana, Kentucky, Purdue, Illinois and St. Louis, among others. Once those schools receive the form they are allowed to begin recruiting him, although they'll have to wait until the current recruiting "dead" period ends Friday.
Once that day arrives, Harrellson's phone figures to start ringing off the hook. Once seemingly destined for the mid-major level, Harrellson is suddenly one of the more sought-after big men for the late signing period.
Harrellson originally signed with Western Illinois during his senior season at St. Charles (Mo.) High school. But after playing against some players headed to major conference schools such as Louisville, he began to question his decision.
"I was like, ‘these kids are no better than I am, so why are they going here and I'm going there?'" Harrellson said.
That prompted Harrellson to spend a year in junior college to try to improve with stock. He averaged 14.7 points and 7.7 rebounds at Southwestern Illinois College, and plenty of major conference schools took notice. But before they could start recruiting him Harrellson had to get a release from his original letter, which he's doing now.
"(Getting released by Western Illinois) wasn't that hard once I talked to the athletic director," Harrellson said. "He was very nice about it, so it wasn't that bad. It was just that I had never talked to him about getting it. That's why it was hard at first."
That hurdle now appears to be cleared, and Harrellson is going to get his chance to play at the major conference level. IU Coach Tom Crean was originally showing interest in him when he was coaching at Marquette, and that's now carried over to his new school. Crean talked with SWIC Coach Jay Harrington last week, and figures to be getting in touch with Harrellson on Friday once the dead period wraps up.
"When Coach Crean was at Marquette they were interested in me, and I figure that when he went to Indiana he'd still be interested," Harrellson said.
That's been the case. While Crean is a big draw to Harrellson based on what he accomplished in nine years at Marquette, Harrellson said playing in Bloomington is also an intriguing thought.
"That program and the state, it's known for basketball," Harrellson said. "It's pretty much an honor to be recruited by them."
It might be an honor, but that doesn't mean Harrellson is going to make a quick commitment the Hoosiers. He has plenty of other options that are enticing, and he said he's learned from what happened when he first committed to Western Illinois.
"I want to take all my visits," Harrington said. "Last time I only took one, and I think that's what hurt me the most. So I want to take all five and make sure I explore all my options."
He said he's penciled in Indiana, Kentucky, Purdue and St. Louis for four of the five visits, and he's keeping his other available slot open.
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