IU basketball's 2009 recruiting class is already nearly complete, but many think there's still one thing missing.
Hoosier fans love the size and strength of Bobby Capobianco, the shooting stroke of Maurice Creek, and the homegrown flavor (and skills) of Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls. Creek (No. 75) and Elston (No. 88) are already top-100 players in the class according to Scout.com, while Hulls (13th-ranked point guard nationally) and Capobianco (39th-ranked power forward) aren't far removed from the list.
But with one or perhaps two scholarships to dangle to prospective '09 recruits, is there a headliner in the bunch?
Here are some of the bigger names for Indiana fans to keep an eye on in the coming months:
DeMarcus Cousins – 6-10, 245, Mobile, Ala. (LeFlore) – Scout.com's seventh-ranked player in '09 has verbally committed to Mike Davis at UAB, having made that pledge in March. But since that time IU lured Nick Williams to town, and the 6-5, 200-pound wing who played with Cousins at LeFlore H.S. There's few things many IU fans would like more than to see Indiana swipe Cousins away from the former IU coach. At this time it appears unlikely that Cousins would waver on his UAB pledge, but Williams' presence in Bloomington could enable the Hoosiers to become a player in this recruitment if Cousins were to ever have second thoughts. Like Favors, Cousins is as dominant as he wants to be on the interior. He's the second-ranked center in the class behind Favors, having averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds at LeFlore last season.
Derrick Favors – 6-9, 220, Atlanta, Ga. (South Atlanta) – There hadn't appeared to be any mention of Indiana and Scout.com's top-ranked player in the '09 class until Favors mentioned the Hoosiers during the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions event last weekend. That's great news for the Hoosiers…except for the fact Favors listed 13 other possibilities as well. He's an exceptionally talented and athletic big man who can finish with either hand and is unstoppable at the prep level around the basket. He pulls down rebounds and blocks shots in bunches. He has said he'll wait until the spring to sign, and whoever gets him will be getting a difference maker from day one.
Roger Franklin – 6-5, 200, Duncanville, Tex. (Duncanville) – Franklin isn't as flashy as some of the other players on our list, but he's as hard-nosed as they come and versatile enough to play a variety of positions on the floor. On top of that, Scout.com's 68th-ranked player is a winner – Duncanville went 39-0 and won the state title in 2006, and followed that up with a 35-2 mark and a semifinal appearance in 2007. Franklin has a nice mid-range game, he can play in the post, and he has a developing perimeter game. Versatility is one of Tom Crean's buzz words when it comes to recruiting, and Franklin has an abundance of it.
Stephan Van Treese – 6-8, 220, Indianapolis, Ind. (Lawrence North) – If there's another in-state player who is going to wind up with an IU scholarship in '09, the most likely candidate would probably be Van Treese. Scout.com's 51st-ranked recruit averaged relatively modest totals of 11.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks as a junior at Lawrence North, but he skills are obvious. He's a very capable ball handler for his size and is an excellent athlete as well. Indiana appears a little crowded at the power forward spot thanks to the commitments of Elston and Capobianco, but Capobianco has the size to play the ‘5' if necessary and Elston appears to have the ability to play the ‘3' at times if called upon.
Christian Watford - 6-7, 215, Birmingham, Ala. (Shades Valley Academy) – Don't let the fact that he's not a top-20 player (he's No. 49 in Scout.com's latest rankings) fool you – Watford is a special talent. He averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds per game as a junior and can do a little bit of everything on the offensive end. He's tough to stop in the post, but he's also very capable of stepping outside and shooting from behind the 3-point arc or attacking off the dribble. He describes himself as a "post-up guard," similar to NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady. While Watford's perimeter skills aren't quite that refined, he has the tools to play on the perimeter – no question about it. If there was any doubt about his elite status, interest from the likes of Memphis, Kentucky, Louisville and Alabama should erase that doubt. He made an unofficial visit to IU the weekend of the Adidas May Classic, and said he'd be back for an official in the summer or fall. IU's in comes courtesy assistant coach Bennie Seltzer, who has known Watford since he was a youth.
Jamil Wilson – 6-6, 200, Racine, Wis. (Horlick) – Crean put in a lot of leg work on Scout.com's 16th-ranked recruit when he was coaching at nearby Marquette. Now that he's made the move to Bloomington, the Hoosiers have surfaced as a possibility for this versatile forward. Wilson averaged 18.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks as a junior and has been targeted by a handful of Big Ten programs, including IU, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Purdue. He's a player who spends the majority of his time at the prep level playing inside, but will likely spend more time on the wing at the college level. Wilson doesn't plan to sign until the spring.
Hoosiers Looking For a Headliner to '09 Class
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