Bloomington – IU Coach Tom Crean is headed to Birmingham, Ala., Tuesday to visit with his top priority for the 2009 class, Christian Watford.
Watford's father, Ernest, confirmed that Crean is coming to town Tuesday and will likely head to Shades Valley Technical Academy to watch the 6'8", 215-pound small forward workout. It's the first day that college coaches can go back out on the road after an extended dead period, and Watford remains the jewel that Crean is hoping to add to his '09 class.
Indications are that there's a very good chance of that happening. Ernest Watford confirmed that Indiana has risen to the top from a heavyweight recruiting field that once included IU, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis and Alabama.
"We're still between Memphis and Indiana, that's who I believe are (Christian's) heartfelt ones, with Indiana making a very strong push to the top I think," Ernest said.
The Watfords recently family trip to Bloomington went a long way towards moving IU to the head of the recruiting class. It gave the family a chance to get a feel for not only the ride from Birmingham to Bloomington, but also to spend some extended time with the IU coaching staff and around campus.
"After my family and I went with Christian to the elite camp, we got a chance to visit the campus and talk with Coach Crean and his staff, it seemed to be a pretty good fit for him as we talked," Ernest said.
The family shared their thoughts on the IU program on the drive back to Birmingham, the consensus was that IU would be a very good opportunity for Christian.
"We talked about Coach Crean, his honesty and his integrity and how he related to us as a family and related to Christian," Ernest said. "Also, we talked about IU basketball and the excitement around it. We talked about Isiah Thomas being there, D.J. White having a chance to sit down and talk to him about the university."
With so much going for Indiana, it would seen that a commitment could be a possibility while Crean was in town. Ernest didn't rule it out, but did say it was unlikely. Kentucky has been in contact with him recently about coming by the school this week as well, and he's been having conversations with Memphis about scheduling an official to Coach John Calipari's program.
"We don't think (he'd commit), not that day," Ernest said. "We want to see the university again and talk to some academic people, which we weren't able to do the last time. So right now I don't know that it would be a possible."
Hoosiers Make "Push to the Top" with Watford
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