Bloomington – Sometimes coming in last isn't such a bad thing when it comes to recruiting.
Indiana is hoping that's the case with Sagemont (Fla.) Upper School wing Will Sheehey. The Hoosiers have only recently popped up on Sheehey's radar, with a scholarship offer extended late last week. Now, IU Coach Tom Crean will welcome the 6'6", 190-pound high school senior to campus for an official visit Nov. 6-8, making them the fifth and final visit currently on Sheehey's calendar.
Earlier this fall Sheehey took officials to Stanford and George Washington, and he was on Miami (Fla.)'s campus yesterday for an unofficial visit. Next up is an official visit to Vanderbilt this weekend, followed by next week's trip to Bloomington.
In most cases, recruiting is all about building relationships with players and parents early on and then cultivating that over a period of months, if not years. But Indiana has clearly established itself as a front-runner with Sheehey with a minimal amount of time remaining on the recruiting clock.
"Coach Crean has been tremendous so far," Sheehey said. "He really seems like a guy that cares a lot about basketball. He's a great coach but also a good person. We're developing a fast friendship in a matter of just a couple of days."
While Indiana's basketball tradition and Crean's reputation have played a big part in IU's position with Sheehey, so has the fact that most college programs knew very little about him until recently. Sheehey didn't play AAU basketball until this past summer, which kept him as a bit of a secret.
"Playing AAU was huge for me. I've gone from a small amount of offers to a dozen," Sheehey said. "I was shocked how important it was. I didn't know about the recruiting services and the national tournaments.
"I think it will all work out in the end, but I do wish I'd played (AAU) as a freshman and sophomore."
With limited name recognition, Sheehey said Sagemont Upper School Coach Adam Ross took it upon himself to get in contact with a handful of programs that he thought Sheehey would be a good fit. One of those programs was Indiana, since Crean has developed a reputation for developing and utilizing versatile wings during his previous coaching stop at Marquette.
That phone call prompted the entire IU staff to travel to Florida to get a first-hand look at Sheehey, and the scholarship offer came immediately.
"They were looking for a big wing, so I guess my length and my dimensions fit well for them," Sheehey said. "They need someone to stretch the floor and attack the rim, and those are things I've shown I can do."
Sheehey did that on the AAU circuit this past summer with the Florida Rams, and he did it last season while averaging 24.4 points and 10.0 rebounds at South Fork H.S. He's since transferred to powerhouse Sagemont Upper School, and he's no longer a player that no one knows about.
"Getting all of this interest has been good – it's kind of overwhelming, but I enjoy it," Sheehey said. "Having coaches in the gym is a good thing."
Sheehey said his original plans were to sign with a program this fall, and that would still be his preference. But he's not ruling out the possibility of waiting until the spring if he's unsure about what school is the right fit by the time the early signing period ends next month.
Indiana will get a chance to show that it's the right fit for Sheehey next weekend when he comes along with his father and Ross for his official visit to Bloomington.
"I want to see if it's a good fit academically and athletically. I want to see a good mix. I want to see students in action and things like that," Sheehey said. "From a basketball standpoint, I'm looking for a place that spreads the floor, gets it up and down the floor quick and attacks. I think that fits my game best."
Three Visits Down, Two To Go For Sheehey
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