Etheringtons Talk About IU Unofficial

Bloomington – Thanks to a break in the AAU schedule, Austin Etherington made unofficial visits to Butler, Indiana and Xavier over the weekend. Austin's father, Brett, talks about what they did and how things went on Saturday's stop-off in Bloomington...

Bloomington – According to Brett Etherington, his son Austin knows what he wants.

It's not that the 6'6", 190-pound Hamilton Heights (Ind.) H.S. sophomore made any decisions following a weekend of unofficial visits to Butler (Friday), Indiana (Saturday) and Xavier (Sunday). Far from it. But the elder Etherington says his son already has a good feel for what his priorities are going to be when he makes his college choice.

Number one on Etherington's list is going to be the relationship he can build with the coaching staff, including the head coach. Secondly, he's looking for a situation where he can play in front of as many fans as possible, and be a part of what's happening on the floor.

"He wants to be a part of it - not just sitting there on the bench for 2-3 years to play," Brett said. "He's not the type that says if he doesn't start his first year he's not going to go, but he wants to be able to make an impact and be a part of the big picture."

It's a good bet that wherever Etherington winds up, he'll be a big part of any coach's plans. A gifted 3-point shooter, Etherington also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, and he's big enough to play a variety of spots on the floor.

Those are traits that have already earned him a scholarship offer from Xavier, and significant interest from Indiana, Butler, Ohio State and Northwestern, among others. That's an impressive list of schools for a player who has played only half of one high school season because he missed all of his freshman year and half of his sophomore campaign following microfracture knee surgery.

While Indiana didn't extend a scholarship offer Saturday, IU Coach Tom Crean continues to convey how much he likes Etherington's game. Crean and IU assistant Tim Buckley have both been up to Hamilton Heights H.S. to watch him workout, and Crean has been keeping very close tabs on him.

"Whether an offer (from IU) is imminent, I don't know," Brett said. "It's hard to know everyone they are looking at…I think he knows Austin can play there. It just depends on whether it's the right fit and how many kids he gets coming in there."

Etherington's ability to shoot the ball might be what catches the most people's attention, but his versatility, competitiveness and savvy are three things that Crean has taken notice of as well, according to Brett.

"He has a very high basketball IQ, which I know is a phrase that probably gets thrown around a little bit too much," Brett said. "But with Austin it's no joke – that's probably his greatest strength and Coach Crean has referenced that."

During Saturday's IU visit, Brett said the family met with Assistant Athletic Director Chris Reynolds, toured the campus, met with the coaching staff, and saw video presentations of the facility upgrades that are in progress. They also watched game film of Crean's former teams, and Crean talked about Etherington filling a role similar to the one once held by former Marquette great Steve Novak.

Crean also offered up some advice about things he thinks Etherington can work on to make himself an even better player.

"Austin is like a sponge – he's very coachable and he soaked all of that up," Brett said.

With those three unofficial visits under his belt, Austin is expected to make unofficial stops at Ohio State and Northwestern in the coming weeks if there's a break in his AAU schedule. What comes after that is very much up in the air.

While the odds are Etherington will wait a while to make a college decision so more coaches can get a look at him, his father said his son isn't averse to making an early decision if the right opportunity presents itself.

"It's still early for Austin since he didn't play last summer, so we haven't really scratched the surface as far as getting in front of coaches," Brett said.

"But if the situation is right, after he and I and his high school coach and some other coaches that I know…talk and do some research he's not against making an (early) decision." Top Stories