Crean Calling on Wilson for '09 Class

BLOOMINGTON – Jamil Wilson, one the top-10 players in the 2009 class, is in the process of finalizing his official visits. Wilson talks about the list of schools, one of which has just recently emerged as a major player thanks to the arrival of a new head coach - Indiana...

BLOOMINGTON – Tom Crean's first phone call as IU's head coach to top-10 '09 recruit Jamil Wilson went unanswered.

It's not because the Racine, Wis., standout wasn't interested in talking. To the contrary, Wilson has plenty of questions for the former Marquette coach, who has made significant in-roads with the entire Wilson family during the recruiting process. But circumstances prevented him from connecting with Crean in his first IU-related effort.

Soon after Crean had been introduced as the Hoosiers' new basketball coach, Wilson found himself sitting in his first period class at Horlick H.S. when his phone rang. The number revealed it was Crean on the other end.

"My first-hour teacher, he's a big sports fan, and I was like, ‘Tom Crean is calling me. Can I answer it?'" Wilson said.

Wilson's teacher didn't believe it was in fact Crean and asked for proof. Wilson showed his teacher the phone, and the caller ID revealed that it was in fact Crean attempting to make his first contact with Wilson in his new position. The teacher gave him the green light to take the call, but by that time the phone call had already gone to voice mail.

While Crean wasn't able to speak directly with the 6-6, 200-pound standout, he did leave a message that left an impression.

"He said, ‘I don't know if you remember me, but I used to coach at Marquette, now I'm the coach at Indiana,'" Wilson said. "It was a pretty funny voice mail."

Wilson didn't need to be reminded who Crean was since the new IU coach had already made a big impression on his entire family. Wilson said his sister regularly calls Crean to talk to him about one of her favorite players, former Marquette star Dwyane Wade, and that Crean made a lasting impression on his mother, Carolyn, who recently passed after a battle with cancer.

That's why Indiana has suddenly emerged as a major player in the battle for's ninth-ranked player in the 2009 class.

"It was a shocker (when he left Marquette), but now that I know Crean is at Indiana, it puts Indiana on a pedestal – it catches my eye," Wilson said. "Now, instead of looking at IU as a mediocre or last chance, they're now in the middle or top running. It changes everything."

That's very good news for Crean, who is hoping to assemble a blockbuster 2009 recruiting class to quickly return the IU program to national significance. Wilson, who averaged 18.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.0 blocks as a junior, figures to be one of his most coveted players.

One of the things that separates Wilson from many of the players in his class is his versatility. He can play both inside and out, evidenced by his 38 percent shooting from behind the arc as well as his ability to dominate inside the paint. He credits his dad as well as his sisters for pushing him to become a more well-rounded player.

"For my size you would think I'd be a power forward or small forward, but my dad brought me up to learn how to dribble, learn how to shoot, learn how to use both hands, learn how to post up, learn how to play defense, learn how to block shots," Wilson said.

Wilson said he's pretty well finalized four of his five official visits, but has one slot that remains in doubt. He said he plans to make officials to Michigan State, Duke, Indiana and Kansas, while the fifth and final trip will likely be to either Tennessee, Purdue or UCLA.

He's in no rush to make those trips, though, because his final decision won't be coming anytime soon. He plans to wait until March 8, 2009 – his mother's birthday - to make his college announcement.

Between now and then he'll certainly talk to Crean on numerous occasions, and he has some questions for the man in charge of the Hoosier program.

"My first question will probably be why (did he leave Marquette)," Wilson said. "Everyone wants to know why, including me.

"My second one would probably be how do the guys look, how are things going with recruiting, who do you have coming in. Is there somewhere for me to fit in, is there any chance of me playing?" Top Stories