Bloomington - With more than 1,000 high school players ready to show their stuff this weekend at the Adidas May Classic, here are 10 players that I'll be keeping a close eye on…
1. Maurice Sutton, Indiana Elite LNO (17-and-under) – The 6'10", 210-pounder from Upper Maryland (Md.) Largo H.S. is not only making a guest appearance with the Indiana Elite team, but he's also making his visit to the Hoosier program as well. Sutton averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks as a senior at Largo H.S., helping his team to the state title. He's also one of the very few '08 recruits still available, and he told HoosierNation.com two weeks ago that he was favoring the Hoosiers. While it will be interesting to hear what he has to say about his visit and the possibility of committing to play for Coach Tom Crean, it will also provide an opportunity to see what sort of impact he could make as a freshman. Indiana has only two players on the roster for next year who are taller than 6'5", so Sutton would figure to play significant minutes immediately if he winds up in Bloomington. This weekend will provide some insight into how ready big of an impact he could make.
2. Cody Zeller, Indiana Elite-One (15-and-under) – Tom Crean's first day on the road recruiting was spent in Indianapolis two weekends ago at the Top 100 Showcase in Indianapolis. One of the first persons he talked to was Washington (Ind.) H.S. Coach Gene Miller, and the subject was obviously Cody Zeller. Past IU coaches have tried and failed to attract Luke and Tyler Zeller to Bloomington, but Crean appears committed to doing everything he can to lure the third Zeller to town. A Class of 2011 recruit, Cody came off the bench as a freshman and averaged 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds this season to help Washington to the state title. He's already 6'6" and 170 pounds and many think he's ahead of where Tyler was at this point in his high school career. Since both Luke and Tyler went on to win Mr. Basketball awards and lead their team to state championships as seniors, it's good bet that big things are ahead for Cody as well.
3. Bobby Capobianco, Indiana Elite-One (17-and-under) – This 6'8", 230-pound forward from Loveland, Ohio, is just now developing a big name on the national circuit, but Crean has liked him for some time. Crean was the first to offer "Capo" a scholarship last summer when he was at Marquette, and he was rewarded when Capobianco became the first player to commit to him as IU's head coach three weeks ago. While the big man's ability rebound is one of his greatest strengths, he's also been showing off a very good offensive skill set as well this spring. While he's on a team that also features D-I recruits such as Mason Plumlee, Stephan Van Treese, Jordan Prosser, Ray McCallum, Jordan Hulls and Colt Ryan, Capobianco has been a primary scorer for much of the spring. This weekend will provide a chance to see what kind of talent will be arriving in Bloomington in the fall of '09.
4. Demetrius Walker, So-Cal All-Stars (17-and-under) – The 6-4, 190-pounder from San Juan Capistrano, Cal., has been mentioning Indiana as of late, and he's a player with the sort of versatility that Crean loves. Much like incoming IU player Nick Williams, Walker is a physical presence who can out-muscle guards and score in the paint. But he's also got a solid perimeter jump shot as well, making him a nice fit for a team that uses a three-guard lineup. This '09 prospect's ball-handling is an area that many have said he needs some work, but that hasn't kept some big name programs from offering. Walker recently said Indiana, Tennessee, Memphis and Cal are his top four.
5. Jordan Hulls, Indiana Elite-One (17-and-under) – If you're looking for an example of what AAU basketball can do for a high school player's stock in the eyes of college recruiters, the 6'0", 170-pound Hulls is a perfect example. Hulls was getting some mid-major interest after averaging 16.0 points and 2.1 steals as a junior at Bloomington South H.S., but he's parlayed some great AAU efforts this spring into scholarship offers from IU and Purdue, plus recruiting interest from both Duke and Stanford. While some might have been concerned about whether he had the size to play high-major Division I basketball, Hulls has shown an ability to hold his own against some of the other elite guards on the AAU circuit, and he's been a leader on an Indiana Elite team that is loaded with Division I talent. Coaches are seeing a player who can knock down perimeter shots as well as get his talented big men the ball, and that's why his stock has been on the rise.
Leonard Washington, M33M (17-and-under) – An '08 recruit, Washington was rumored to be considering IU, but the LA Times reported this week that he'll enroll at USC this summer and play for Coach Tim Floyd next season. He's a talented player who has had some attitude issues, including being ejected from a couple of AAU games in Las Vegas last summer.
Christian Watford, M33M (17-and-under) – The 6-7 ½ forward from Shades Valley (Ala.) H.S. has been offered by IU Coach Tom Crean, and will play on a talented M33M team that also features Washington. It is believed that Watford will also be making an unofficial visit to the Hoosier program this weekend.
Terone Johnson, Indiana Elite LNO (17-and-under) – A Class of 2010 prospect from Indianapolis' North Central H.S., Johnson has been turning heads with his player this summer on LNO. Indiana has had luck with North Central standouts in recent years, luring Mr. Basketballs A.J. Ratliff and Eric Gordon to Bloomington.
Deng Leek, Team Indiana/Indiana Elite (15-and-under) - A native of Sudan, Leek is a Class of 2011 prospect who already stands 7-foot tall.
Marshall Plumlee, Indiana Elite-One (15-and-under) – Like Cody Zeller, Marshall is the third in the family line who appears to have a future at the Division I level. Like the Zellers, the Plumlees have Indiana roots, but neither Miles nor Mason have opted to play in Bloomington.
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