Bloomington – Spencer Turner couldn't help but be familiar with IU's basketball tradition considering his Bloomington roots. But it was the speech from a legendary Hoosier that taught him what the Hoosier program is all about.
The Bloomington South sophomore and elite Class of 2011 recruit was among approximately 90 players who participated in IU's Elite camp last weekend. While Turner enjoyed the chance to go through the series of drills set up by the IU coaching staff and then team up with fellow recruiting target Angus Brandt during the afternoon scrimmages, it was the speech from Isiah Thomas that might have been the day's highlight.
The chance to listen to one of the all-time basketball greats was exciting enough, but Thomas' message about the Indiana program left an impression on Turner.
"He talked about what Coach (Tom) Crean is working on, and that's getting a good group of kids at IU," Turner said. "Isiah was saying bad kids, bad players, bad students don't ever win championships. It's the good players, the good kids that don't party all night, those are the kids that win championships."
Turner is one of those kids that Crean and his staff are already targeting to help them win championships in the future. His original plans of making an unofficial visit last weekend didn't materialize since the IU staff was tied up with Christian Watford and Matt Carlino, but Turner said the IU staff wants him to stay in contact and set up a weekend this fall when he can come to campus and spend the weekend around the program.
While he wasn't able to make an unofficial visit, he said he was able to do enough other things while he was on campus to make it feel as if he was on an unofficial visit. One of those things was taking a walk with high school teammate Jordan Hulls, IU Assistant Coach Tim Buckley, and former Hoosier standout John Laskowski from Assembly Hall to the HPER after lunch.
Turner's family used to be neighbors with Laskowski, and he said he learned a lot about the campus during to walk.
"He was talking about where the old stadium used to be, and it was almost like a tour on an unofficial visit," Turner said. "I learned a lot about the history of the school and the history. That really showed me what Indiana has and it opened my eyes a lot."
As helpful as Laskowski's tour might have been, Turner said he does plan on returning for an unofficial in the coming weeks. He's scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Purdue to weekend of Sept. 6, and is also planning to take a trip to Michigan State as well. There's also a chance he could add stops to Illinois and Ohio State this fall, but if those don't work out he said he'll move those unofficials to later in the year when he can go and see a basketball game.
Those trips will give Turner a chance to get more familiar with some of his other options, but his stopover at Assembly Hall last weekend gave him a chance to learn more about the IU program – including some things that aren't necessarily evident to the naked eye.
Isiah Thomas' words helped Turner understand that.
"It cleared things up for me," Turner said. "He was saying how it's one of the top programs in the nation, and Isiah is one of the best IU players ever. So coming from him, everyone was listening.
"It helped me realize what Indiana is all about."
Turner Has Eye-Opening Experience At IU Camp
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