Bloomington – On one of the biggest days of Jordan Hulls' basketball career, Bloomington South Coach J.R. Holmes wasn't about to let his standout junior get a big head.
So when a couple of reporters needed to be let into the building for Hulls' official IU announcement Wednesday afternoon, Holmes sent Hulls, of all people, to open the doors to his own press conference.
The doors to the high school aren't the only ones Hulls has been opening as of late. Thanks to a very good junior season at South and an even better effort this spring on the AAU circuit with Indiana Elite, Hulls went from a mid-major recruit to a player with offers from IU and Purdue. While Purdue was recruiting him the longest, it was Indiana Coach Tom Crean that won him over.
"In the end, IU is where I wanted to go," Hulls said in the Bloomington South atrium, making his IU decision official. "I'm glad to be a Hoosier."
Crean's Hoosiers, meanwhile, are happy to have him. While Hulls' size (6'0", 170 pounds) and junior season statistics (16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists) don't necessarily make him stand out in a crowd, his play does. While the AAU circuit is overrun with high scoring guards who classify themselves as point guards, it's Hulls' play that proves he's a ‘1' in the true sense of the word.
"Me being a true point guard is huge for Coach Crean," Hulls said. "He really likes how I lead the team, use both hands when I pass the ball. I don't necessarily have to score a lot of points to be effective."
While he doesn't necessarily have to score points, he's more than capable of doing that. As a sophomore at South he was primarily a 3-point shooter, and as a junior he added a mid-range game and the ability to penetrate from the two-guard spot. As a senior Holmes said he'll spend more time at the point guard spot, a position where he's played well enough this spring to climb to No. 13 nationally in Scout.com's most recent position rankings.
"The rarity of him besides being a true point guard is that he is a true point guard that can hit open shots," Holmes said. "I think it's a big asset to have someone who understands the game and has a point guard mentality that it's your job to get other people shots."
He's done that this spring while helping Indiana Elite establish itself as one of the country's best 17-and-under squads. With Hulls running the show, Elite has won titles at the Pitt Jam Fest and the Adidas May Classic while advancing to the semifinals of the Jayhawk Invitational. Hulls will be at it again this weekend when the team travels competes in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in Durham, N.C.
Scout.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels has watched Hulls play on numerous occasions this spring, and said it's his ability to lead a team made up of high major Division I talent that stands out.
"Hulls put together an impressive spring and proved that he's capable of running a team with success," Daniels said. "He's got a solid handle, has clearly gotten quicker and is a terrific deep range shooter.
"Coach Crean just locked up a scrappy, hard nosed kid that will get after it. He's equipped to run the show and has clearly had a grasp of a very talented AAU team all spring. He's performed at a high level against some quality guys and has certainly earned the recent attention."
Indiana was among the programs that just recently got involved. Holmes said Kelvin Sampson's staff didn't show much interest in Hulls, but once Crean came on board that quickly changed. Hulls has proven he's one of the best in the '09 class at running a team and getting others involved, a skill that fewer players have these days.
"I know Dean Smith told me when I was down at North Carolina the two toughest positions to recruit are 7-foot centers, because there aren't very many of them, and true point guards," Holmes said.
"He's not 7-foot, but he's a true point guard."
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