Indiana finally put a commitment back up on the board for the Class of 2014 last week when Robert Johnson, a shooting guard from Benedictine High School in Richmond, Va., verbally pledged to join the Hoosiers. In about another week, Indiana will learn if it has found Johnson a backcourt mate.
Lourawls “Tum-Tum” Nairn, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound point guard from Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan. and the No. 61 player in the Class of 2014, took an official visit to Indiana this past weekend and is now in decision mode. He has taken official visits to IU, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Michigan State. Kyle Linsted, his coach at Sunrise Christian, said he expects Nairn to announce his decision early next week.
Linsted said its likely that coaches from all four schools will be in Kansas to visit Nairn this week. Michigan State was there Monday night, Oklahoma will be there today and Minnesota is coming in Wednesday morning. Linsted said he had missed a call from IU coach Tom Crean and expected Indiana would set up a meeting as well. After those meetings, he said, Nairn will bunker down with his mother, Linsted and Matt Suther, his coach with the Mo-Kan Elite summer travel program to weigh his options.
“We’re going to talk to (the college coaches) and then take this weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and maybe Monday, and just isolate ourselves,” Linsted said. “Quit answering the coaches’ calls, quit answering the reporters’ calls. … The four of us will really just put our heads together and dig deep and see where we stand. Hopefully by Monday, he’ll know.”
Nairn’s visit to Bloomington this weekend apparently went well, and he saw most of what he was hoping to see from IU and the Hoosiers.
“He really enjoyed his time there,” Linsted said. “I think he’s got that personality that really fits in good with people, so he’d be comfortable anywhere, but I think he and Coach Crean believed it was someplace he would fit. … I think their skill development really impressed him. I think he considers that a strength in what they have to offer. They know how to get guys to the next level who aren’t exactly shoe-ins for the next level.”
Nairn saw an example of that in guard Victor Oladipo, who enrolled at Indiana as the No. 144 recruit in the Class of 2010 and left this summer as the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft. Nairn also sees a mirror image of himself on the current squad in 6-foot sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell, also a speedy ball-handler to whom Nairn could serve as an understudy early in his career.
Those qualities have kept Indiana in the game, but Linsted said each of Nairn’s four finalists have a unique draw.
“For Minnesota, he’s been their No. 1 guy,” Linsted said. “They pushed really hard since the day they laid eyes on him. He’s their No. 1 priority. Then OU, his best friend (guard Buddy Hield) goes there. Coach (Lon) Kruger has recruited him really well. They have a great relationship, and their campus is only three hours from Wichita. It’s family for lack of a better word. They push the ball and play his style. Michigan State is a great fit for his personality with his style and their toughness. The recruiting occurred late and both of them kind of split ways and came back together. Playing for Coach (Tom) Izzo and playing for one of the top programs in the country appeals to him and he’s got a chance to be the guy from Day 1 with the ball in his hands. Then Indiana, they recruited him for three yeas and they recruited him hard for three years. (Assistant coach Tim) Buckley has been great. Indiana, they’re as good as it gets right now in college basketball. The skill development is there.”
Linsted said he’s not certain whether or not Nairn would hold some form of press conference to make his announcement.
“We haven’t gotten that far yet,” he said.
The Hoosiers have two scholarships available with Johnson taking one of them, but they are likely to oversign. Along with Nairn, they are also in heavy pursuit of Marion guard and former commitment James Blackmon Jr., Virginia swingman Devin Robinson and Massachusetts center Goodluck Okonoboh.