Bloomington – With nearly 100 players expected for Saturday's Indiana Elite Camp II Saturday, more prominent names continue to surface as likely attendees.
Among the other players worth noting:
Class of 2012
Rapheal Davis, 6-3, Ft. Wayne, Ind. – A member of Spiece Ft. Wayne 2012 AAU squad, those in the know say that Davis is expected to follow in the footsteps of Deshaun Thomas as the next big national recruiting name to come out of the area. He can score both inside and out, and has performed well this summer when given the chance to play up on the AAU circuit.
Ronald Patterson, 6-3, Indianapolis, Ind. – An ultra-athletic freshman-to-be at Broad Ripple, Patterson plays on the Spiece Select 2012 squad and helped them to a series of solid results during the summer AAU season. He's an up-and-coming shooting guard who has a very good mid-range game and can score points in bunches.
Kellen Thomas, 5-9, Southport, Ind. – Another member of the Spiece Select 2012 squad, Thomas is a high-scoring point guard who is expected to play a big role immediately now that he's at the high school level. Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter has already taken notice of his skills, and more prominent programs figure to start taking notice as well.
Joel Smith, 6-7, Indianapolis, Ind. – Another one of the special in-state players in the 2012 class, Smith doesn't look like a player who is just now ready to get his high school career underway. The Heritage Christian School player plays for the Indiana Elite Central Stars on the AAU circuit and has a bevy of moves to score around the basket. But he's also capable of facing up and knocking down jumpers, a combination of skills that makes him a player to watch over the next several years.
Nick Osborne, 6-7, Muncie, Ind. - Osborne will be a freshman this year at Muncie Central, where he'll be teaming up with sophomore point guard Jeremiah Davis, who has already been offered by IU, Purdue, Kentucky and Ball State. A post player, Osborne was a key component on the Indiana Elite Central Stars 14-and-under team that won the Nike Main Event championship in Las Vegas last month. Osborne led the team in both rebounding and blocked shots this summer and was the team's second leading scorer.
The fact that the IU basketball program will be having its reunion later this weekend in French Lick, Ind., has helped IU Coach Tom Crean line up a very impressive list of former players who will be working the Elite Camp on Saturday. We mentioned yesterday that Isiah Thomas and Brian Evans were going to be working the camp, and have since heard that 2008 Big Ten MVP D.J. White will be doing the same. Former IU players Rod Wilmont and Errek Suhr are among the other former players who add to a very impressive coaching staff.
IU will be hosting national-caliber recruits in the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 classes, but the most important attendee to Hoosier fans is 6'7 ½" , 215-pound small forward Christian Watford.
The 47th-ranked player in the 2009 class, Watford arrives in town tonight along with his entire family. He's planning on making an unofficial visit during his stay as well, which would likely come immediately after the camp comes to a close.
While Watford said he's looking forward to sitting down with Crean and his staff to talk about the Hoosier program, he'll also have a chance to get talk to a couple of players who have already committed for 2009 – Jordan Hulls and Bobby Capobianco. The two members of the Indiana Elite AAU squad will be in attendance as well.
Watford said he got a chance to know Capobianco over the summer on the AAU circuit.
"I've gotten to know Bobby personally," Watford said. "We were both at the NBA Camp and got to play together, and I've also been around the Indiana Elite program a little bit."
If Watford were to eventually commit to the Hoosiers, he said Capobianco would be a good fit for him on the frontline.
"He's a good player, a real hustle type of guy that works really hard," Watford said. "He'd be the type of guy on the team that's going to work hard."
While Watford is the focal point this weekend, 6'5" wing guard Dominic Cheek is also a very high priority for the Hoosiers in the '09 class. As we reported earlier this week, Crean began recruiting Cheek when he was still at Marquette, and Cheek said IU will be one of the schools that he plans to make an official visit.
Cheek is ranked as the nations' No. 3 shooting guard and the No. 14 player overall, and one of the things that makes him such an appealing recruit is his ability to play any of the perimeter positions while also helping out on the boards as well.
"I'm someone who can play the 1, 2 or 3," Cheek said. "I'm a good shooter, but I can rebound also, and I like to get my teammates involved. I try to be a good team player."
A senior at St. Anthony's H.S. in Jersey City, N.J., Cheek has drawn interest from a slew of big names and has yet to cut down his list. But he does have a long-time relationship with new IU assistant coach Roshown McLeod, and he told HoosierNation.com that the Hoosiers will definitely be one of his finalists.
Cheek said he doesn't have a timetable for naming his other front-runners, but he does have a couple of items that will be most important to him when he eventually makes his college choice.
"I want to find a school that has good academics, and a coach that can get me to the next level," Cheek said. "Also, a team that has a chance to make a run to a championship is important to me."