AAU Coach: Big Things Ahead for Creek

Bloomington – Maurice Creek's IU career is still 1 ½ years away, but his AAU coach is pretty certain of what's in store for his future.

Bloomington – Maurice Creek's IU career is still 1 ½ years away, but his AAU coach is pretty certain of what's in store for his future.

"He'll be an all-conference player without a doubt at some point," said Triple Threat AAU Coach Keith Stevens.

That's a bold prediction, but Creek appears to have the skills to back it up. The 6-4 ½, 180-pound guard from South Kent (Conn.) Prep averaged 21.5 points, four rebounds and five assists last season, and is Scout.com's 76th-ranked player in the 2009 class.

Creek gets the most attention for his shooting ability, but Stevens thinks he has another trait that was even more appealing to IU Coach Tom Crean.

"People always focus on his shooting, but I think it's his versatility," Stevens said. "He can do so many things. He's known as a shooter, but in my mind he's more of a scorer than a shooter. He can shoot it out to NBA range, but he can slash and finish with either hand around the basket. He also has really long arms and can defend the ball for us. He's more of a two-guard, but he can play the one as well."

Stevens said that Crean's interest in Creek was piqued last spring when the then-Marquette coach saw him play at the Reebok U basketball camp. Crean's efforts were rewarded, as the Golden Eagles quickly emerged as a frontrunner in the recruiting chase.

After Crean left the Big East school to take over the Hoosier program this spring, that interest didn't waver.

"There was never any worry because before coach left, he said (Maurice) would still be a priority for them regardless of what university they were at," Stevens said.

That said a lot to Creek, whose relationship with Crean was seemingly the No. 1 attraction to Bloomington.

"His decision was based largely on his relationship with the coach, and they did a really good job of building that with him when he was still at Marquette," Stevens said.

Crean has compared Creek to one of the best players he coached at Marquette, Jerel McNeal, a two-time second-team All-Big East choice in 2007-08 who led the Golden Eagles in scoring (14.9) and steals (2.1) last season. McNeal was the Big East's Defensive Player on the Year in 2006-07 and is a potential early entrant into the NBA this spring.

Creek drew plenty of recruiting interest, and eventually picked Indiana over Miami (Fla.), Pitt, Georgetown and Texas. He's the third player to pledge to IU for the '09 class, joining Tipton (Ind.) forward Derek Elston and Loveland, Ohio, forward Bobby Capobianco.

He figures to have a chance to be a major contributor from day one, thanks to his skills as well as the high level of competition he's faced at South Kent. South Kent went 17-16 this past season, playing against elite prep schools such as Hargrave Military Academy, Brewster Academy, St. Thomas More Prep. Kenny Boynton (No. 7 recruit in '09 class), Deshawn Painter (No. 16 in '09 class), Tyreke Evans (No. 4 in '08 class) and Devin Ebanks (No. 13 in '08 class) are among the players Creek played against last season.

"The biggest thing with him is getting him stronger," Stevens said. "You have to get stronger to play at that level because he's probably only 175-180 pounds. But everything else is pretty much there."

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