IU Staff Putting Plenty of Focus on Freshmen

Indiana will have plenty of freshmen on the floor Sunday against Illinois - and plenty of others in the stands. A handful of the state's top high school freshmen are among those expected for the sold-out game against the Illini...

Indiana Coach Tom Crean will be taking advantage of the first sellout of the 2008-09 season.

A handful of elite basketball recruits are headed to Bloomington on Sunday for Indiana's basketball game with Illinois, the second big recruiting weekend that IU has put together in the last month. The Hoosiers also welcomed a plethora of talented youngsters for the Jan. 25 game against Minnesota, a contest that attracted 16,539 to Assembly Hall.

This time around, all 17,456 seats have been sold, and some very talented youngsters are expected to be on hand for the contest. Among those will be a handful of in-state high school freshmen that have already caught the eye of the Hoosier staff. It makes sense that Indiana is already working extremely hard on the 2012 class. After all, it's the class that should be big since it will eventually replace the crop of freshmen that IU currently has on its roster.

Among those freshmen who should be courtside:

Austin Burgett, Avon – The 6'8" freshman from the Indianapolis suburb was on hand for the Jan. 25 game as well and will be making a return trip. Indications are that IU assistant coach Tim Buckley has been keeping close tabs on the Class of 2012 prospect who has become a much bigger part of the Avon attack as the season has gone along. Burgett is averaging 17.3 points/game over his last three games.

A.J. Hammons, Carmel – This 6'10", 260-pound freshman arrived at Carmel in the fall after growing up in Gary and then spending time at a boarding school in Knightstown. He has a huge frame and a huge upside and is expected to blossom into a dominant post player during the next several years. He hasn't dominated the high school ranks yet – his 12-point effort against Zionsville last weekend was only his second-double digit effort of the season – but his time will come and IU appears to be getting in on him very early.

Brad Hartman, Union County – Another up-and-coming in-state center, Hartman is a 6'6" freshman who is starting to grab college coaches' attention. He plays for a Class 2A school from Liberty, Ind. (near Richmond), that has struggled to a 6-9 record this season. But Hartman is expected to help put the team on the map during the next several seasons.

Ron Patterson, Broad Ripple – The staff is hoping Patterson makes a return trip to Bloomington as well this weekend. The ultra-athletic wing has already been offered a scholarship by both Indiana and Purdue and figures to be an extremely high priority for both staffs during the next several seasons. He's been averaging 18 points per game over the last month and a half for Broad Ripple, which is 7-9 this season.

Michael Ramey, Perry Meridian – This 6'4", 175-pound freshman has already moved into the starting lineup for the Indianapolis school and is averaging 6.0 points/game this season.

Kellon Thomas, Southport – This 5'10", 160-pound freshman point guard is another one to keep an eye on, and he might be in attendance as well. Thomas is starting for a Southport team that has won four out of its last five, including an eight-point win over Broad Ripple H.S. on Thursday night when Thomas helped lead the way with 12 points. Thomas is averaging 10.0 points/game over the last five games.

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