Hoosier Hoops Recruiting Notebook

Bloomington - In HoosierNation.com's second "Hoosier Hoops Recruiting Notebook", we have news, notes and quotes on a slew of IU recruiting targets including Angus Brandt, John Wilkins, Christian Watford, Roger Franklin, Stephan Van Treese and more...

Bloomington - If Indiana is going to add another scholarship player to its 2008-09 roster, it appears it would be John Wilkins.

IU Coach Tom Crean said in early January that if he was going to add another player to the class it would be a big man. He also said that there were still a couple of more options out there that the staff would explore, and if nothing came to fruition he'd save the scholarship until next year.

With the start school now less than a month away, those options have dried up. Occasionally discussed big man Edgar Garibay from Compton, Cal., appears headed to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev. Despite a sliver of hope that he could play Division I this year, Australian center Angus Brandt is headed to Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy for a year of prep school.

That seems to leave the 6'9", 205-pound Wilkins as the only option left for this season's roster.

If he's the only option, he's a good one to have. Based on the 40-50 scholarship offers he received in a matter of two weeks ago according to his AAU coach, Mike Mullins, from the Chicago Wolves.

Mullins said he hasn't had a player from his AAU team play for Crean, but their paths have crossed in the past on the recruiting scene. Mullins said current North Carolina Bobby Frasor is one of his former players who came very close to picking Marquette when Crean was coaching the Golden Eagles program.

"We have a great deal of respect for Coach Crean and the job he does," Mullins said.

Mullins also has even more direct ties to IU, since his youngest son is a sophomore-to-be at IU. But the biggest help could be the fact IU is only three hours away from the Gary, Ind., home of John's father, Jeff.

Mullins said the plan was to wrap up the AAU circuit (which they did earlier this week), return home and then begin sorting through the list of possible destinations for John. They'll soon come up with a workable number of possibilities to consider, and then work toward making a decision in time for the start of the first semester.

While Wilkins' approach might appear last minute, Mullins said the plan has been for him to play in college before hopefully following in his father's footsteps and playing in the NBA.

"I think he's known he wanted to come over - his dad played in the NBA for a decade here and I think that was always his goal," Mullins said. "He wanted to finish his schooling and his commitments over there. Now, this gives him a chance to check out where he's at basketball-wise. That's why he's over here – to measure himself against the best of the high school players and then to college to see where he'd fit in."

**

Roger Franklin will be happy once he's able to answer the most popular question he's getting these days – "where are you going to college?"

It's not only college coaches that are wondering where the 6-5, 195-pounder from Duncanville (Texas) H.S. is headed. Scout.com's 49th-ranked player in the '09 class gets asked the question more than anyone could have probably imagined.

"I get asked that about 10 times a day," Franklin said. "From people around the Dallas-Ft. Worth community, I have family members that call and want to know where I'm going. I get it all the time."

Franklin doesn't figure have a final answer until after he takes his five official visits, but he has begun zeroing in on the most likely possibilities. He told HoosierNation.com last week that Indiana, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Arizona were the schools that had "made the cut."

Next up is official visits, which should be getting on the calendar soon. While some college players are thinking more seriously about waiting until spring to sign letters of intent, Franklin said one thing he's committed to is inking in November.

"I want to sign early so I can go through my senior year and not have to worry about everybody in the world coming up and asking me where I'm going to school," Franklin said.

**

One of IU's primary competitors for top '09 target Christian Watford appears to be backing off the 6'8", 205-pound Birmingham, Ala., native.

Louisville – once considered to be one of the teams to beat – is seemingly cooling on the athletic forward. With 6'8", 200-pound forward Rakeem Buckles already pledged for the '09 class, the consensus is the Cardinals believe those two play the same position.

That likely leaves Indiana, Memphis and Kentucky as the primary options for Watford. While things could change after Watford starts taking official visits, sources close to the situation have told HoosierNation.com that Indiana is in very good position right now.

Watford said last week he's planning on making an unofficial visit to IU the weekend of Aug. 23. He said he has been impressed with IU Coach Tom Crean's coaching style and work ethic, and said the fact the Hoosiers will be rebuilding this season doesn't hurt them in comparison to the other schools he's considering.

"I really don't look at that," Watford said. "I look to see where I can fit in."

He said he's also looking for a place where he can step in and be a big part of a team's immediate plans.

"I'm looking at tradition, playing style, coaching style and academics," Watford said. "I'm also looking for somewhere I can come in and the coach will trust me and put the ball in my hands."

Like Franklin, Watford said he plans to make his decision in either October or November.

OTHER RECRUITING NOTES
Tom Crean will be holding a second Elite Camp on the Bloomington campus in the coming weeks. One of the players who is expected to be in attendance is Angus Brandt, the 6'11", 220-pound Australian who played with the Chicago Elite program in Las Vegas. Brandt, who will play at Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy this season, has surfaced as an IU possibility for the 2009 class…There's been no new news on Indianapolis Lawrence North H.S. forward Stephan Van Treese, who has been waiting to find out if he's going to be offered by the Hoosiers. Van Treese is also in limbo with many of his other finalists (Ohio State, Kansas, UCLA and Louisville), who haven't made it clear an offer is still on the table for Scout.com's 37th-ranked forward in the '09 class. Of his finalists, UCLA appears to still be showing the most interest, as they watched him at just about all of Indiana Elite's games in Las Vegas…one player who has gone from hot commodity in May to completely off the radar is 2009 shooting guard Demetrius Walker. Walker had intended to make an IU unofficial visit after the Adidas May Classic and hinted he might commit during the visit. Travel plans derailed that visit plan, and little has been heard from Walker since. BruinReportOnline.com's Tracy Pierson reported a week ago that the rumor is Walker is headed to USC.

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