There are plenty of eyes on Roger Franklin these days.
The 6-5 ½, 190-pound small forward from Duncanville (Tex.) H.S. was in Little Rock, Ark., this past weekend with his Team Texas Elite squad at the Real Deal on the Hill AAU event. Franklin's team went 2-1 in Fayetteville and is now headed to the Next Level Ballers Tournament in Dallas this weekend.
While all of his attention is on the court during the his team's AAU contests, temptation is bound to get the best of anyone who's a coveted recruit this time of year with all of the college coaches in attendance at these April events.
"Before the game I'll glance up to see who is at the game, but when the ball goes up on the air, it's all business," Franklin said.
Last weekend he said he saw coaches from Indiana, Baylor, Texas, Utah, Texas A&M, Virginia, Kansas and Kansas State in the stands in Little Rock, and his games figure to get even more crowded in upcoming weeks. His list of suitors is expanding rapidly, as Florida, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Marquette are among the others keeping a close eye on Scout.com's 11th-ranked small forward in the '09 class.
There's plenty to like about Franklin, who is ranked 47th nationally in the '09 class according to Scout.com. He averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals as a junior, helping his team to a 35-2 record. While he's considered a ‘tweener by some, he's a proven commodity according to Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Dave Telep.
"He's got the Chuck Hayes-mentality and approach," Telep said. "He's one of the top mid-range shooters you'll see in the class. Some will pick him apart and ask what position he plays, others will simply value what he does well and let him do his thing."
Indiana is among the schools that are sold on Franklin's abilities. IU Coach Tom Crean quickly offered a scholarship upon his arrival in Bloomington, and the Hoosiers have quickly jettisoned up Franklin's list of favorites.
"I'd say Indiana is a top five school, they're on my list for sure," Franklin said. "I look at their tradition. They've had great players. Guys like Eric Gordon, Isiah Thomas, that's what really gets me about Indiana. I know they have a great basketball tradition, and that's going to keep my eye on them."
He said he will get a first-hand look at Crean's program at some point as well.
"I plan on making an unofficial or official to Indiana," Frankling said. "I plan on getting there before I commit to any college. Even though my recruiting is wide open as it can be, I plan on looking at Indiana and seeing what they have to offer."
Franklin is not only keeping his eye on Indiana, but he's also doing everything he can to get up to speed on the others that are after him. With recruiting interest from both near and far, he's trying to become well versed on what each program has to offer. Some of his research comes via conventional means such as the internet, but he's also gone about things in an unconventional way as well.
"This might seem a little childish, but sometimes I play the game and I see what they're ranked on (EA Sports') NCAA March Madness game," Franklin said. "Any way to get the information. I go from looking at things seriously on the internet to childish on the game. Anything to get the word to me."
One of the things he's looking for is a place to enjoy success. His Duncanville teams have gone a combined 74-2 in the last two years and won the 2007 Texas state title. He played in front of 5,300 fans in that state championship game in Austin, Tex., and he's hoping to find a college program that will give him the chance to be in the spotlight.
"My dream has always been to play in the Final Four and play in front of all the cameras," Franklin said. "So I am looking for a school that can get me to the next level and make sure I have a good education and have a great winning program with a great tradition.
"That's what I had in high school and I want to be as comfortable and at home as I can, so that's what I'm looking for."
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