It’s official: Jobe a Hoosier

Mike Burris, the coach at Olney Central, first spoke with Indiana assistant coach Tim Buckley about two weeks ago. Buckley had heard about one of Burris’ players named Tijan Jobe, a 7-footer who has been in the United States only four years and played under 20 minutes a game last season.

Buckley wanted to know about Jobe’s upside. Could he play like Ousmane Barro, a 6-10 inside player that spent the last few years at Marquette, screening to make room for Crean’s offense and providing solid defense on the other end?

Burris told him that he thought Jobe, who averaged about four points and four rebounds per game, would excel at the Division I level. He’d be able to play more physically and avoid getting into foul trouble, as he did in the always up-and-down JUCO game.

Buckley requested tape of Jobe. He liked what he saw. He told Tom Crean he needed to watch the tape. Crean eventually did. They invited Jobe, who actually has spent plenty of time in Bloomington with local AAU coach Mark Adams, for a visit. Jobe came on Saturday, but Crean wasn’t in town. So Jobe came back today, and Crean offered him a scholarship.

“Obviously he jumped right on it,” Burris said. “He knows the town, he’s got friends there, he knows about Indiana basketball.”

Since then, Burris’ phone has been ringing non-stop with reporters trying to figure out whatever they can about the newest Hoosier. Burris nows what the fans are thinking: they’re worried that this is a desperation signing; that Crean is looking to sign a big body for the sake of signing a big body.

“Coach Crean’s not going to take a guy who can’t come in a help,” Burris said. “He fills the need for a front-court player who can come in and be a defensive presence and help out on offense.”

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