Bloomington – New Albany H.S. big man Donnie Hale didn't get a scholarship offer when he made on unofficial visit to IU Tuesday, but he did depart with a request from IU Coach Tom Crean.
The first-year IU coach wants the 6'7", 190-pound sophomore to return to town for one of his Elite camps this summer so the Hoosier staff can take a closer look at him. Hale said he plans to take Crean up on his offer, knowing a good performance against other top-flight players could result in a scholarship.
Hale, who was offered by Purdue a couple of weeks ago, said he wasn't expecting to get the offer during his IU visit. Instead, the visit was designed to give him a chance to look around campus and get to know the new IU coaching staff.
"That was the first time I've sat down and talked to (Crean)," Hale said. "I was really excited but I was also very nervous. But he makes you feel real comfortable right away. He's a really nice guy who knows what he's talking about."
Crean talked about his vision for the program, which includes attracting top-flight players who are also high-character student-athletes as well. He's also looking to return one of college basketball's most storied programs to the upper echelon of the national rankings in the not-too-distant future.
Many believe Hale is the type of player who can help a coach get that done. He averaged 12.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.0 blocks as a sophomore while shooting 65.1 percent from the field. While he's done much of his work around the basket, he's also capable of stepping outside and knocking down jump shots and attacking off the dribble.
Hale said he first realized he had a chance to play high major Division I basketball after his freshman season when he received a request from Xavier to come for one of their elite camps. Purdue, meanwhile, has watched him extensively during the last two AAU seasons and offered a scholarship a couple of weeks ago during his unofficial visit to the West Lafayette campus.
Now, he has requests from Indiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma State to come to their campuses this summer for elite camps. While Hale said it's an honor to get invitations to these camps, he also knows from his trip to Xavier last summer that the competition is fierce.
"It makes you bring it to the table and play as hard as you can," Hales said. "When I got there I was a little nervous because I was a freshman coming in and playing with seniors and juniors. They're real competitive and they'll teach you a lot too."
But it's also proof positive that the programs are very interested in Hale as a potential recruit for the 2010 class. While he already has been offered by Purdue, he said he's in no hurry to make a quick decision and will instead wait to see what else pans out for him.
"It's really exciting to be getting this interest," Hale said. "It boosts your confidence, but you can't let it go to your head."
Hale Talks About IU Unofficial
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