Bloomington – Tom Crean appears to have an answer to the question people have long been asking.
How exactly do you fit a square peg into a round hole?
Proof of that comes in IU's interest in potentially adding Arizona transfer Jeff Withey, who has designs on enrolling at a new Division I school second semester. While Kansas and Texas appear to be the frontrunners to add Scout.com's eighth-ranked center in the 2008 class, Withey has confirmed some interest in the Hoosiers as well.
Sources close to the situation have told HoosierNation.com that IU's staff intends to make contact with Withey and his family now that he's concluded first semester final exams at Arizona. If Withey is in fact seriously interested in the Hoosier program, IU would look to get him on campus for an official visit as soon as possible.
An official visit would obviously give Withey an opportunity to see IU's campus and meet with the Hoosier staff. But it would also present IU's staff with a chance to have some of the members of the Hoosiers' highly-ranked 2009 recruiting class come to campus to try to sway Withey as well.
Crean couldn't comment specifically on Withey's recruitment, but he didn't put a halt to speculation that IU would be open to adding a transfer for second semester.
"We're recruiting everyday," Crean said Thursday. "There's not a day that we don't pay attention to what's going on in the recruiting world…all I'll say is you better be aware of what's going on in the recruiting world everyday."
Withey is one of two mid-year transfers who has been linked with the IU program in recent weeks. The other is UNLV's Beas Hamga, a 7'0" center from Cameroon who came to the United States as part of Bloomington resident Mark Adams' AHOPE Foundation. The interest in Hamga, though, doesn't appear to be as strong as that in the San Diego, Cal., native Withey.
So how does Indiana make this work? That's the question everyone is trying to sort out.
Indiana has eight non-seniors on scholarship right now, and six signed national letters of intent from the top-10 recruiting class it announced last month. That puts the Hoosiers at 14 scholarship players for the 2009-10 season, one over the NCAA limit of 13. Big Ten rules allow conference teams to "oversign" by one, but IU must get down to the NCAA limit by next fall.
If IU was successful in adding Withey, that would seemingly push IU to 15 spoken for scholarships for 2009-10, and it's unclear how that works with the current make-up of the Hoosier roster.
It's a question that is moot if the Hoosiers are unsuccessful in adding Withey at semester, but the fact IU is actively recruiting him suggests Crean has a way to make it work if he's successful in this latest recruiting endeavor.
Of course, Crean isn't about to show his hand before he's required to do so.
"That's a hypothetical," Crean said about the scholarship numbers. "it's really not relevant to where we're sitting today. I'm just saying we recruit every day."
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IU Has a Way to Make It Work with Withey
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