Bloomington – Everyone involved appears to be on the same page with what will happen with Bawa Muniru next week.
Of course, most aren't privy to exactly what page that is.
With the start of the early signing period now only eight days away, everyone expects Bobby Capobianco, Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek, Derek Elston and Christian Watford will sign national letters of intent to play at IU beginning next fall. But there's very little clarity about what IU's sixth commit – 6'11", 250-pound center Bawa Muniru – will do.
Muniru verbally committed to Indiana in late September, but some doubt was raised about the just how solid his pledge was after he took an official visit to Oklahoma State last month. Shortly after his visit to Stillwater Muniru re-affirmed his commitment to Indiana, but there's very little clarity about whether or not he'll sign next week or instead wait until the spring.
On Monday, Muniru's AAU coach Kerry Johnson said there's still no decision on whether or not Muniru will sign with IU next week.
"Everything remains the same as it was," Johnson said. "We haven't made any further decisions on it right now."
The issue with Muniru doesn't appear to be any degree of doubt on either party's part about the other, but rather a preference that Muniru's academic situation gets on better footing before he signs, according to Johnson.
"What we're all focusing on is making sure he gets all of his academic qualifications together so that he'll be ready to play next year," Johnson said. "That's really the issue, and his focus right now. Everyone has the same thought – we want the best for Bawa and Indiana, making sure he's ready to go."
Muniru recently transferred to Mt. Zion Academy in North Carolina because the NCAA announced it would not accept grades from his former school, Charis Prep, when determining a player's initial eligibility. Muniru has a series of courses that he'll need to take at Mt. Zion to meet the NCAA's eligibility requirements, but Johnson has said that he will be able to fulfill those obligations.
"Everything is going well in that regard (at Mt. Zion)," Johnson said.
If Muniru does sign early, he'd be the sixth member of IU's 2009 recruiting class, and he would represent the 14th scholarship player slated to be on next year's roster. That's one over the NCAA limit of 13, meaning one person scheduled to be on a scholarship next season wouldn't have one by the time next fall arrived.
The early signing period runs Nov. 12-19, so a decision will have to be made soon about whether or not Muniru will sign early. But according to Johnson, he isn't aware of a timetable for making that call.
"I'm not really sure right now (when we'll decide when he'll sign)," Johnson said. "It's open for discussion."
Before Indiana turns all of its attention to future recruiting classes, don't be surprised if Coach Tom Crean's staff takes one last look back at the 2008 class.
Arizona has been not only hemorrhaging recruits, but it has also lost at least one player from its current roster. After having former commits Emmanuel Negedu ('08), Abdul Gaddy ('09), Mike Moser ('09), Solomon Hill ('09) and Greg Smith ('09) all back out of their commitments, the Wildcats also recently received word that current freshman center Jeff Withey plans to transfer.
The 6'11", 215-pounder from San Diego, Cal., was the 35th-ranked recruit nationally according to Scout.com, so he figures to be a target of any program that is in search of a big man. Indiana falls into that category, so it's a good bet that IU at least puts out a feeler to find out if Withey would have interest in IU.
The biggest question about Withey could be whether or not he'd be interested in playing in the Midwest. Before signing with Arizona, Withey had verbally committed to play at Louisville, and had also considered Notre Dame as well. But when he decommitted from Louisville last summer and later pledged to Arizona, he cited a desire to play closer to home.
That could very well be the case again, but expect Indiana's coaching staff to find out.
Withey averaged 20.8 points, 13 rebounds and 7.3 blocks per game as a senior at San Diego's Horizon H.S.
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