More on Max Hoetzel

Indiana coach Tom Crean only had to watch Max Hoetzel shoot once to know that he wanted him on the roster, and Hoetzel only needed to step on the Assembly Hall floor once to know that Indiana was where he wanted to go.

That was how the player who struggled until his senior year to get the attention he wanted and the coach who has struggled to secure commitments in the strangest recruiting campaign of his Indiana tenure came together quickly. The Hoosiers have been recruiting Hoetzel for little over a month, but after his official visit this weekend, the 6-foot-7, 210-pound sharpshooting swingman from Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts verbally committed to the Hoosiers on Sunday and is expected to sign a letter of intent as part of Indiana’s Class of 2014 during the early signing period from Nov. 13-20.

“When Coach Crean came in here, he really liked me from the start,” Hoetzel said by phone Monday. “He looked at me as one of those players that no one really knew about, that was under the radar like how Will (Sheehey) and Victor (Oladipo) were. He saw aspects of them in my game, and I came out there and it was a no-brainer. … I came in there. I loved Assembly Hall, the atmosphere and everything, and it was definitely a place I could see myself playing.”

Before he got to Wilbraham and Monson, playing at a historical powerhouse like Indiana in a major conference seemed much less likely. Hoetzel is actually from Calabasas, Calif., and even though he starred at Calabasas High School, he wasn’t drawing much attention, and almost all of his offers heading into his senior year were coming from West Coast mid-majors. His lone major conference offer came from Utah and the others were from Cal Poly, Loyola Marymount, Pacific, and San Diego.

Over the summer, Hoetzel decided that he needed to go to prep school, first to become a better player and then to draw the additional recruiting attention

“Out West I wasn’t getting the exposure that I needed and I also knew I was not working as hard as I could have out here,” he said. “I knew that going to a prep school would really take me to another level, getting up 6 am., working out twice or three times a day and being exposed to all of these coaches and players on my team that are being recruited. I needed the right help and needed to be surrounded by the right people.”

Hoetzel already had a reputation as an outstanding shooter, both in catch-and-shoot situations and off the dribble, but even in a few months at Wilbraham and Monson, he’s become significantly stronger and that’s helped him develop as a defender. He hasn’t played a game at his new school yet, but W&M coach Chris Sparks sees potential.

“I think he’s terrific,” Sparks said. “He’s one of those kids where you shoots and it leaves his hands you think it’s going to go in every time. He’s definitely a knock down shooter. I think the other thing he does really well is he sets his shot up really well creates for himself off the ball. … He’s a tough kid who really knows how to play. He has a high basketball IQ and he can score in a number of ways. He’s good off the catch, good off the dribble. His game will lend itself well to the way Indiana plays.”

Crean decided that the first time he saw him taking jumpers during an open gym with one of the W&M coaches rebounding. Crean was visiting the school while recruiting center Goodluck Okonoboh, a longtime Indiana target who eventually committed to UNLV. He saw Hoetzel’s form and his footwork and cared not that he doesn’t even have a Rivals.com rating. Afterward, he told Hoetzel’s coaches he would be back to watch him again. Shortly thereafter, Hoetzel had an offer and his official visit had been scheduled.

As it turned out, Crean got in on Hoetzel just in time. He starred in a tournament in New York City earlier this fall. St. John’s offered. Boston College, Kansas and West Virginia all got in contact.

But when Hoetzel walked into Assembly Hall, he was sold.

“It’s a special feeling,” Hoetzel said. “First you drive in to Bloomington and see all the farm towns when you’re driving to the college campus, Then seeing the logo on signs and then the football field. When I walked into Assembly Hall walking through that tunnel was amazing. Then I took that first shot (after IU’s practice) and it was a magical feeling.”

Hoetzel is Indiana’s second commitment for the Class of 2014, joining Robert Johnson of Benedictine High School in Virginia.

10 comments

  1. I just don’t get this commitment. Why over recruit Hartman and Etherington? Hoetzel may be a good player, but can he defend big ten wings, small forwards? Send two players to the NBA top five picks. Can’t get any recruiting momentum. What gives.

  2. 2015 class better have a couple or three high 4 (87 or higher) and at least one 5 star pick in it plus hopefully a couple of being from Indiana.

    It seems like Tre Lyles situation started this and it has snow balled into where is the love and desire for Indiana BB….hopefully, it will be corrected with a surprise successful season this year….we will see.

  3. I think this is a good fit. Closely resembling all the Q?’s being made about WS and VO after there recruitment and commitments.

  4. I disagree with the early comments here. I really like this commitment. I think some of you are missing the big picture about this kid. Other major programs were just starting to get involved. Just because he was under the radar does not mean he can’t play at a high level. Have we not learned that in recent years? And he fits well. We have great slashers but few shooters on our roster looking forward 2-3 years. As for the comment about over-recruiting Etherington and Hartman, game on, earn your time! How is it different for any other position? Should we have passed on Fischer in light of Jurkin and Perea? How can you not ‘over-recruit’ with 13 scholarships and only 5 positions?

    Welcome Max! Know that you need to prove yourself. That would have been true even if you were a five star. But also know that many of us are very excited about your future at IU.

  5. I think we’re missing the big picture that we’re building a team & program with complimentary pieces and not a glorified NBDL team like they have in Lexington.

  6. It just cracks me up with the fans who post comments like they know ANYTHING about recruiting and about whether Max will be a player for Indiana. Just displaying complete ignorance.

    Coach Crean has proven that he has a great eye for talent–even when a player is not highly rated by the recruiting rankings.

    We need shooters. He is a shooter. And he is tall.

    I like it.

    After watching the Southern Indiana exhibition, a deadeye shooter is exactly what we need.

  7. I agree with Hoosier 4 Life;;the kid will be a steal. HE KNEW he had to add competitiveness to his program.Showed the maturity to move across country.he KNOWS he has things to work on,thats why he moved.ToCTC and staff: to IMPROVE his shooting….send him 80 miles to northwest to Lebanon…Let Rick Mount discuss shooting with him.Ive been an IU fan all my 63 yrs but Mount is the GREATEST shooter I ever witnessed

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