Ernest Watford saw the way his son, Christian, has been wooed by major college basketball programs all summer.
Ernest was there at Indianaâ€™s elite camp in late August to hear the Hoosiersâ€™ coaching gush about how much his son, a smooth 6-foot-7 wing, would bring to the program. He had the chance to talk to Isaih Thomas and D.J. White â€œat length about all things Indiana basketball.â€
Yet Ernest was not convinced that Indiana and its new coach would be right for his son.
So he called around.
â€œI wonâ€™t say who,â€ he said on Monday. â€œJust people who knew coach Crean before he was at Indiana. Parents who dealt with him, some other coaches. People whoâ€™d know.â€
â€œNothing but positive,â€ he said. â€œHeâ€™s a man of integrity and honor. And heâ€™s going to have faith in Christianâ€™s ability. Heâ€™s going to let him play, heâ€™s going to give him room.â€
With that, Ernest was convinced.
Later Tuesday, Crean will get a chance to convince Christian just how coveted he is.
College basketball coaches can return to the recruiting trail Tuesday, and Crean, direct as always, will not stray from trying to lure one of the players who has been at the top of his list.
Crean is expected to visit Shades Valley Technical Academy in Birmingham, Ala. in the afternoon to see Watford work out there.
Later, the Watfords will gather â€” probably at the dinner table â€” to discuss Christianâ€™s recruiting.
â€œWeâ€™ve never really put a schedule on the process,â€ Ernest Watford said. â€œWe just take it as it goes and talk about it every night. Weâ€™re just trying to figure whatâ€™s best for Christian.â€
Ernest does have one reservation with Indiana.
â€œIâ€™m kind of leery about what the NCAA is going to do,â€ he said. â€œBut I donâ€™t think anyone knows what will happen there.â€
IU owes the NCAA committee on infractions a response to the â€œfailure to monitorâ€ charge levied against its athletic department by Sept. 17. The committee is expected to then rule on the case against Indiana basketball, which includes a total of five major violations, in four to six weeks.
A Watford commitment would give Indianaâ€™s class of 2009 â€” which Rivals.com ranks the ninth-best in the country â€” a fifth player and its firstÂ versatile, bonafide scorer at the Division I level.
â€œThey talked about him being really a next level guy,â€ Ernest said about Indianaâ€™s coaching staff. â€œWith his length and athleticism heâ€™s a constant match-up problem and they think he can score.â€
Ernest Watford put no time-line on when his son would announce a decision but called Indiana â€œa high possibilityâ€ and â€œindisputably, hands-down one of the top three programs of all time.â€