Hoosier Hoops Recruiting Notebook

Bloomington – There are a handful of players that remain possibilities for the Hoosiers' 2009 recruiting class, but only two spots remaining. So what's the Hoosiers' pecking order? Is good news coming on Christian Watford soon? HoosierNation.com has the answers, plus the latest on Angus Brandt, Daniel Bejarano, Spencer Turner and more...

Bloomington – There are a handful of players that remain possibilities for the Hoosiers' 2009 recruiting class, but only one or two spots remaining. So what's the Hoosiers' pecking order?

1. Christian Watford – Things are looking very good for IU with the 6'8", 215-pound forward from Birmingham, Ala., who was in Bloomington two weekends ago for the Elite Camp. Scout.com's 72nd ranked player in the '09 class continues to list Memphis, Louisville, Kentucky and Alabama as his other possibilities, but all indications are that the Hoosiers are clearly in the driver's seat.

With that in mind, expect Coach Tom Crean makes every effort to lock up a commitment pretty quickly once he's able to get back out on the road and start making in-home visits again. The NCAA's quiet period runs from Aug. 1-Sept. 8, so next Tuesday is the first day the IU staff can get back on the road and start seeing kids face-to-face again. Crean has made it clear that Watford is his No. 1 remaining priority for the '09 class, so it would only make sense that his home would be Crean's first stop Tuesday.

2. Angus Brandt – This is probably a little bit against the mainstream since Dominic Cheek is a top-15 player in the '09 class and clearly one of the best perimeter players in the nation. But Crean would also like to add a true post presence and if he wants to do that, then Brandt is would appear to be priority No. 2.

The 6'9", 220-pounder from Australia dazzled on-lookers with his skills during the latter half of the AAU season, and he's already climbed to No. 86 in Scout.com's national rankings. Indiana has been all over him ever since he appeared on the circuit, as have other programs such as Arizona and Gonzaga. Arizona wanted him to come to town last month for their elite camp, but Brandt instead came to Bloominton for Crean's. The issue with him, though, might be whether or not he'll sign in November or wait until the spring. He's head to Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy this season, and his handler told us earlier this summer that Brandt wants to take the process slowly and weigh out all of his options. That could mean he'll pass on signing in November and instead wait until April, which could throw a wrinkle into IU's recruiting approach.

3. Dominic Cheek – Cheek's listing at No. 3 has nothing to do with his skills – he's special talent who fits right in with some of the other top-flight wings that Crean has coached such as Dwyane Wade and most recently Jerel McNeal. He'd also certainly come in and be an immediate factor if he wound up in an IU uniform, and he'd be just the second top-20 recruit the Hoosiers had signed in the last five years (along with Eric Gordon in 2007).

But he is at a position that isn't as desperate a need as the frontcourt. Indiana already has a high-scoring wing in the class in Maurice Creek, while Nick Williams and Malik Story are current IU freshmen who will also play the wing once bigger bodies such as Bobby Capobianco and Derek Elston arrive on campus next fall. The bottom line is IU would love to have him, but it wouldn't be lost without him.

4. Bawa Maniru – An official visit might actually be in the works for Maniru, a 6-11, 250-pound forward from Madison (Ala.) Academy. Maniru came to the U.S. five years ago from Ghana and started to attract a lot of recruiting interest this summer after a solid performance with the SE Elite AAU squad at the Kentucky Hoopfest. His offensive game needs some polishing, but he's a very good athlete, a good shot blocker and a very hard worker who runs the floor well. He's Scout.com's 32nd ranked center in the 2009 class.

5. Chris Braswell – Braswell's prep school coach told Scout.com's Dave Telep that he'll be headed to Bloomington for an official visit Sept. 27, the third of five official visits. He's also slated to go to Xavier (Sept. 12), Maryland (Sept. 20), Virginia Tech (Oct. 4) and Charlotte (Oct. 11). An AAU teammate of IU commit Maurice Creek, Braswell is a big body at 6'8" and 260 pounds, and clearly addresses a need that IU has in the post. IU's issue could be whether or not it wants to wait on Brandt if he's looking to wait until the spring and then potentially pass on either Maniru or Braswell.

Other Notes:
Class of 2011 target Spencer Turner from Bloomington (Ind.) South H.S. made an unofficial visit to Purdue Wednesday, moving it up from Saturday so he could play open gym with some of the current Boilermaker players. He's still looking to schedule an unofficial visit to IU soon, and Hoosier assistant coach Tim Buckley is expected to watch him play at Bloomington South's open gym next week…IU's commitment from Class of 2011 guard Matt Carlino two weeks ago was a big one for the Hoosiers, but it probably won't help them a great deal in their efforts with top-25 Class of 2010 guard Daniel Bejarano. Both are rivals from the Phoenix area and have gone head-to-head in the past, and Bejarano said IU has probably dropped a little in his eyes since the Carlino commitment…as we reported earlier in the week, Derek Elston is expected to resume practicing in about two weeks, and he's hopeful to be fully cleared by the end of the month following knee surgery in the spring. He has been free of his knee brace now for a month.

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