Hoosier Hoops Recruiting Notebook

In the latest edition of "Hoosier Hoops Recruiting Notebook" we get an update on Angus Brandt (pictured) and the choices IU must make with the '09 class; we take a look at the rise of Maurice Creek in the national rankings; we hear about the latest on the recruitment with Evan Gordon; and much, much more...

Bloomington – A couple of months ago IU Coach Tom Crean was trying to figure out who he could possibly get to fill out the 2008-09 roster. Now, he has some tough choices to make when it comes to filling the final available slot in IU's '09 recruiting class.

With five players already pledged for the '09 class, Crean has one more available slot at his disposal. The Indiana staff continues to court at least four players – Dominic Cheek, Angus Brandt, Bawa Maniru and Chris Braswell – knowing that they may have to drop out of the running if one of the others is ready to commit.

Until that happens, the staff appears to be full speed ahead on all of them. Crean was joined by assistant coaches Roshown McLeod and Bennie Seltzer for a visit with Maniru Monday, and Maniru said he'll make his official visit to IU this weekend. Crean and McLeod, meanwhile, reportedly spent three hours with Cheek Wednesday and appear to have strengthened IU's chances of getting one of Cheek's final two official visits.

Braswell is also scheduled to visit IU in the coming weeks as well, although there's conflicting information on whether that trip will be Sept. 27 or if it's been pushed back to Hoosier Hysteria on Oct. 16.

The final possibility appears to be Brandt, the 6'11", 220-pound Australian import who has quickly climbed to No. 86 in Scout.com's rankings. Brandt is a polished post player who probably could have tried to go D-I this season, but he will instead spend the upcoming season playing at Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy and be a part of the 2009 class.

Steve Pratt has been helping train Brandt since he came to the U.S. in the summer, and he said Indiana has been trying to get him to come down for an official visit. But Brandt hasn't gone on any officials or scheduled any trips to date, according to Pratt.

"I think he's still kind of collecting information and meeting people and see where everything is at," Pratt said.

Pratt said Brandt is waiting to receive his transcripts from Australia as well, something college programs will want to see to make sure there won't be any issues with initial eligibility requirements. But Brandt has taken the ACT and scored a 23, suggesting eligibility shouldn't be an issue.

Besides Indiana, other schools that continue to show interest include Arizona, Oregon State, Washington State, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and UCLA.


No matter who Indiana winds up getting with its final scholarship, it figures have one of the nation's best classes. It's already a five-player class that includes four players ranked in the nation's top 100, and if IU adds either Cheek (ranked No. 15 nationally) or Brandt (No. 86), it would result in a fifth top-100 talent.

According to Scout.com's rankings, the best of the bunch remains Maurice Creek, the 6-4, 185-pound shooting guard from Hargrave Military Academy. Since committing to IU back in May, Creek jumped from No. 76 to No. 45 in Scout.com's post-summer rankings. Recognized by many early on only for his perimeter shooting stroke, Creek showed off a lot more to his game during a very strong second half of the AAU season.

"I think what gets lost with a lot of kids games is if you make shots form the outside, people consider you a shooter," said Hargrave Military Academy Coach Kevin Keatts. "In Maurice's case, what people don't know is he's able to put the ball on the deck and get to the rim, he can get out and get fast break baskets. We all know he can shoot from the perimeter, but he's a really good athlete who can be a really good defender."

Crean recognized those attributes a year ago when he was at Marquette, and once he came to IU he quickly made Creek the second member of IU's class after Bobby Capobianco. He has a long wing span and the versatility to play a couple of different spots on the court, attributes that Crean looks for when recruiting guards.

"He has the whole package as far as being able to score and some other things," Keatts said.


While Keatts has Creek and IU recruiting target Chris Braswell on his Hargrave Military Academy roster, he also has a third player that IU fans have plenty of interest in – Evan Gordon. The younger brother of former Hoosier Eric Gordon, Evan transferred from Indianapolis' North Central H.S. to Hargrave to try to attract more recruiting attention.

While the season has yet to get underway, the strategy appears to be working. Keatts said Penn State, Ohio University, Western Kentucky and Detroit had either been in to see him play or were coming soon. Penn State came out to Hargrave to watch Gordon on the first day coaches could be back on the road, and they were scheduled to come out again this week.

The 6'0", 190-pound Gordon averaged 12.4 points, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals as a junior at North Central H.S. At Hargrave, one of Gordon's primary goals is to spend his time working on his point guard skills.

"Evan has done a great job for us," Keatts said. "In high school he was more of a combo guard, but here we want him to be a point guard. We're excited about him. He's worked his butt off, and he's one of the strongest guys we have on the team."


Eric Gordon was only in Bloomington for one (tumultuous) season, but the presence of an NBA Lottery pick has an impact on recruits, no matter where they're from. Class of 2010 shooting guard Tracey Poole said one of the reasons he has a level of familiarity with the Hoosier program is because of the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

"I enjoyed watching them play this last year, because I really liked watching Eric Gordon a lot," the Jacksonville, Fla., product said.

Poole is the nation's 62nd ranked recruit in the 2010 class according to Scout.com and someone IU offered shortly after the AAU season came to a close this summer.

"I know Indiana has been a good program for years," Poole said. "So I know a little about them. It's a good school."


Indiana's recruiting competition might be trying to dissuade recruits from going IU because of the pending NCAA ruling, but that advise isn't always heeded.

Take Muncie, Ind., point guard Jeremiah Davis, for example. A top Class of 2011 recruit who already has offers from IU, Purdue, Kentucky and Ball State, Davis said the NCAA case has little impact on him when he thinks about his college options.

"I'm not concerned about that at all," Davis said. "It wasn't (Crean), so I don't think the violations will be that rough in the future."

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