Big Changes for Franklin

Scout.com's 68th-ranked player in the '09 class has been making some big changes to his game on the floor. Roger Franklin talks about those changes, as well as his affinity for a program that has emerged as a favorite in his eyes - Indiana...

Things are changing for Duncanville (Texas) standout Roger Franklin.

There hasn't been a whole lot of new developments on the recruiting front, other than a recent offer from Virginia Tech and some newfound interest from Florida. What's changing is Franklin's location on the basketball floor.

The 6-5, 195-pounder has spent the majority of his time during his prep career dominating in the paint. He did it well enough last season to average 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for a Duncanville H.S. team that went 35-2, and he's climbed to No. 68 in Scout.com's most recent Class of '09 rankings.

But he's also heard plenty of doubters, those who wonder if someone his size can play in the post at the high major Division I level. With that in mind, Franklin has been making the transition from the power forward to the small forward position.

"I've been making this move ever since the day that people started to say, ‘Roger, being at 6-4 or 6-5 and trying to play power forward at a DI college will not get it,'" Franklin said. "It was then that I said, ‘I have to prove myself to the nation all over again.'"

Franklin's doing just that this spring. He's gone from racing down on the floor on the fast break and setting up shop in the paint to flaring out to the wing. It's a transition that hasn't always been easy, but it's one Franklin said he knew he had to make.

"The hardest part of all of it has been on defense, being able to keep up with some of the quicker guards," Franklin said. "I've gotten used to it due to my length. I've had to work on my lateral movement and my ball handling, but that's been coming along well."

Franklin believes the end result will be a player who's capable of getting it done around the basket or on the wing, which will turn him into a player who's even more coveted by college recruiters due to his ability to play both inside and out.

"I want people to look at me and for them to think, ‘this is what we thought he was, but look at him today,'" Franklin said.

Plenty of programs are doing just that, Indiana included. The Hoosiers are joined by Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Florida and Texas, among others, on Franklin's lengthy list of suitors.

IU Coach Tom Crean was one of the first to start recruiting Franklin heavily when he was still coaching at Marquette, and he extended a scholarship offer early on. While Franklin says he plans to wait until the summer and take his official visits, it's clear Indiana is a favorite.

"It feels like I want to wait a while (to decide), but in ways, the way every single time people come up and ask me about Indiana, they tell me, ‘what are you waiting for?'" Franklin said. "So it's getting closer and closer.

"I'll probably wait until July and take my officials, but I know Indiana is guaranteed to get one of those top five visits and guaranteed to be in my top five."

Franklin took it one step further, calling the Hoosiers his favorite. He said he loves the fact Indiana is a basketball state and that the IU program is steeped in tradition. He's also a big fan of Crean, who he said he talked to earlier this month.

"The last time we talked, he said it's going to be his first year at the school, but he said we can learn together," Franklin said. "To hear him say when I learn I'm going to teach you right off the bat, that gives me a lot of confidence in a coach."

Franklin is also excited about what he's seen in IU's recruiting efforts for the '09 class. Not only have the Hoosiers secured four top-flight commitments for the class, but they haven't signed any small forwards yet. That says something to Franklin.

"Coach Crean says he really wants me, and I checked up on some of the kids that have committed and realized he has no small forwards that he's really gone after," Franklin said. "What I've realized is he's waiting on me.

"For me to see a coach not recruiting a spot and waiting on me, that says a lot."


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