Bloomington – Tom Crean is headed to Birmingham, Ala., today and he's hoping to get some good news from 6-7 ½, 215-pound forward Christian Watford.
College coaches can go back on the road today with the start of the Contact Period, which runs through Oct. 5. Crean's first stop is Shades Valley Technical Academy, where he'll see Watford for the first time since he and his family were in Bloomington two weeks ago for IU's Elite Camp.
Crean's agenda will likely include a trip to the school to see Watford work out after school lets out, a sit down meeting with the Watford family in the evening, and if all goes well a verbal commitment from Scout.com's 72nd ranked recruit in the 2009 class.
Indiana has zeroed in on the long and athletic Watford as their top remaining recruiting priority for the 2009 class for months, and it's helped the Hoosiers emerge as the clear frontrunner. Watford's "top priority" status has resonated with Watford and well as his father, Ernest, who has counseled his son throughout the recruiting process.
"(The Hoosier coaching staff) says he's the next level player that they're going after," Ernest Watford said. "He's the guy they want. They say Christian's character make-up is what they're looking for at Indiana."
It's more than Watford's character that IU is after. Watford is an athletic inside-outside forward who has range out to the 3-point line and the length to play on the interior when necessary. Labeled as a "match-up problem" by Crean and his staff, Watford averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds as a junior at Shades Valley Technical Academy.
"They like his versatility, and Coach Crean think he hasn't even scratched the surface of what he can be," Ernest said. "He thinks he can get all of that out of him."
The addition of Watford would make an already very good '09 class one of the nation's best. Watford would become the fourth top-100 player in IU's class, joining Maurice Creek (No. 45), Jordan Hulls (No. 80) and Derek Elston (No. 90).
HoosierNation.com will have more on Watford later today.
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