Bloomington – If Tom Crean wants the keep the best in-state players in the 2012 class from going out of state, he can't stop at just Ron Patterson and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera.
He'll also need to get Bowman Academy freshman DeJuan Marrero.
The 6'5" Gary, Ind., product was in town this weekend for the Adidas May Classic, and it's quickly evident why Crean was the first high major coach to offer Marrero a scholarship. Marrero might be just a freshman, but he also has a college build and a game that can be put to good use inside or out.
That's something Crean has seen first hand, and IU's coach is already convinced Marrero can be a big part of leading the Hoosiers' program back to the forefront of college basketball landscape.
"He's trying to keep the best players in the 2012 class together, make all the local players not go out and keep them at Indiana," Marrero said. "He wants to get another national championship there."
On his high school team, Marrero averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks while playing primarily at center. But on the Spiece Indy Heat 15-and-under AAU squad, Marrero showed off an ability to step outside and shoot from the perimeter and to attack off the dribble.
The presence of 6'9", 270-pound Carmel H.S. freshman A.J. Hammons allowed Marrero to step away from the paint, an opportunity he relishes since he sees himself as a ‘3' at the next level.
"I'm happy I can roam around, shoot the jump shots now," Marrero said shortly after his team bowed out of the 15-and-under field in the quarterfinals.
As Marrero continues to show off that ability to play inside and out, the interest in him figures to expand rapidly. He already has offers from Indiana and Valparaiso, while Ohio State, Illinois, Purdue, Wake Forest, Oregon State and Miami (Fla.) have been expressing interest as well.
Illinois is the lone campus that Marrero has visited for a basketball game, although he did make a trip to Bloomington for IU's team camp last summer. The requests for unofficial visits figure to pile up in the not-too-distant future now that more are finding out about Marrero's abilities, but he is in no hurry to begin zeroing in on any college destination at this point in his high school career.
"It's cool – I'm keeping my mind open and focused on the (AAU) team," Marrero said. "I'm not really paying attention to it, since I'm a freshman. I'm open minded and looking around now."
Marrero Another Special Talent in 2012 Class
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