Arizona center commits to Indiana

Jeremiah April, a 6-foot-10 center from Tolleson, Ariz., announced on Twitter that he has committed to Indiana. Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall confirmed the commitment.

This is April’s 247Sports.com page. 

More to come, hopefully.

UPDATE: YouTube highlights

UPDATE: April had offers from Northern Arizona and Cal State Northridge and not much of a national profile when he graduated from Joy Christian High School in Arizona last year. Jai Steadman, the new coach at Westwind Prep in Phoenix, convinced him to take a prep school year to improve his game and get more attention.

“I said, ‘Give me a chance,'” Steadman said. “‘I’ll scholarship you. I’ll make you bigger stronger and better. I’m not going to promise you that we’ll get you to an Indiana or Duke level, but we can get you close.’ We got it done.”

In one year at Westwind, April, now 7-feet tall, bulked up from 220 pounds to 235. According to Steadman, over a 68-game post grad season playing against junior colleges and other prep schools in the area, April averaged about 19 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots and four assists a game. He also shot 53 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free throw line, according to Steadman.

“He got bigger and stronger,” Steadman said. “He gained muscle and he just started pushing kids around.”

Though April’s name didn’t find much traction on national recruiting websites, Steadman said April was getting attention from Marquette, Washington State and Arizona State. He also said that Indiana assistant coach Steve McClain had been on him for months, and Tom Crean met with April for the first time on Friday. The Hoosiers were in desperate need of a big man in the 2014 class after freshman center Luke Fischer transferred in December and freshman Noah Vonleh opted to leave for the NBA draft, leaving Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin as the only centers in the program. The Hoosiers had made several attempts to acquire other big men, including Temple transfer Anthony Lee, but were unsuccessful until Friday.

“I really think Indiana got a good one today,” Steadman said.

58 comments

  1. Listed as 7-0 and 230 on nbadraft.net’s page. Also, a video is on that page that shows a good turnaround jumper, an elbow jumper, and pretty good athleticism. Is he a 5th year player? Looks like he spent a 5th year at Westwind Prep after graduation.

  2. Welcome to Hoosier Nation JA! At IU you’ll have a chance to come in and be like Victor Oladipo – virtual unknown to 1st Rd NBA draft pick if you put in the hard work and dedication.

  3. Welcome to IU, Jeremiah. Good decision. You look like you have hones some smooth shooting skills. Keep up the hard work.

    And congrats to McClain and Crean for obtaining a seven footer. Coupled with our current players, our new recruits who can shoot, and Perea accelerating his development this summer, I look forward to the play of our Hoosiers this fall. Go Hoosiers! Go!

  4. Jeremiah appears to have a pretty good stroke for a seven footer. Even though I didn’t see any real competition in the film clip, he has some skills. Jeremiah looked to be a lot better than the two star rating he was/is sporting. Hope he makes a believer out of me. He definitely has potential and I hope he works himself into the starting lineup. Welcome to Indiana University Jeremiah. Make your time at Indiana about the name on the front of your uniform. Go Hoosiers!

  5. Here’s the leaked details of Crean’s final phone conversation with Jeremiah moments before April committed.

    “I’ve been thinking about you very much” was softly uttered from Tom Crean on this Good Friday while a forty-five, spinning on the turntable, provided the “down Pat” background for hook, line, and sinker. It’s all about product placement.

  6. Whie H4H has his usual sarcasm going about everything IU. I must admit, after viewing the video, April appears to be very athletic and well coordinated. While I am sure the competition he played against is not great, he looks to have great potential. After all, you can’t teach 7 foot. He put on 15 lbs. this past year getting him up to 235 lbs., that is impressive in itself! It would be easy to assume that he could put on another 10 or 15 lbs. working with the IU weight coach. With his athletisum, we may have something here? That is a really nice looking jump shot for a 7 footer with impressive range. H4H, it would be a real shame if you had to eat your words next year.

  7. I’m not seeing the athleticism nor very little quickness. He has a touch…But when the release and footwork is slow as molasses, the truly talented forwards and post players of Big 10 Division-1 basketball will destroy any repertoire of highly anticipated basic moves. And I’m not alone in my “sarcasm.” The senior ScoopTalk resident HT journalist(smirk not included) offered up some lovely Friday night sarcastic chuckles. Price could hardly contain himself.

    He does have a lot of time to improve. I would give Crean another 4-year extension for finding a “body.” Guy-Marc, Jurkin, Bawa, Tijan, and Hanner…Bodies everywhere..Four more years for each body equals a twenty year contract for Crean! Get her done, Fred. Get her done…for I fear by the time I’m 80-years-old, I will have dined on many words.

    Not to mention that Zeller(the savior “big” from just down the dirt road) will go down in history as the biggest flop lottery pick in the history of the NBA game. And Dipo won’t be far behind…”Can’t shoot the ball” will be his final going home party. Defender are beginning to give him tons of space.

  8. Ummmm, Zeller is already better than Anthony Bennett (the 1st pick), so there goes that theory. And considering that Dipo went for 14/4/4 as a rookie and will definitely finish in the top 2 for ROY I guess you’re just a stinking moron. Honest to god, go be a fan of some other team.

  9. IF Crean is going to survive next year; HMP and this yung man will HAVE TO improve,both of them or Indiana will be a 3 man team against 5 and CTC will keep telling everyone “I have to look at the film” and They are young and need to grow

  10. I’ll tell you what I did notice about this kid. When Steadman talked about this kid coming out of high school, he was 6’10”, 220 lbs. He is now 7’0″, 235 lbs. That’s a growth of two inches and fifteen lbs. in about nine months (if everyone involved here from Coach Steadman, the kid, Coach McClain, CTC, IU Sports Information and Dustin all told the truth about his measurements).

    The weight gain would seem to indicate he is still growing. Maybe, in two years we’ll have a 7’4″ …who would rather shoot 3-pt jump shots than play in the paint. Fits really well into Creans concept of full-rotation offense, allowing the kid to play as a #2, or slide over to the #1…allowing Yogi to bruise around as a #5 in the low post. Why not? Why pre-determine a human beings destiny based on physical attributes…this is America!

    Besides, after all of the moaning and groaning this year, we get a seven footer named April in April… maybe it is all pre-ordained to give Harvard a new story line to add to his book on “Hoosier Roundball: Legends and Myths”.

  11. Just watched the highlights film for Mr. April. One thing I did notice is that with his back to the backboard he’s already better than Cody Z. And, he does have one hell of a jump shot…watch his wrist, looks like a flamingo looking for food.

    I went to the video looking to be unimpressed. Came away puckering my lips. He is smooth, can face the bucket and play with his back to it, turns well and, in the only two fast breaks on the video, he got there ahead of the ball.

    Two comments, Comment 1- It’s evident CTC will be on the bench all of next year. Isn’t it time we recognize that we are first Hoosier fans and second, critics of how he shakes his butt up and down the sidelines. There’s more ‘basketball related phenomena’ for us to comment about than how CTC holds his bottle of water…

    Hoosiers first!..or we’ll have a tough time digging our Crimson and Cream out of the hole we’re putting our Hoosiers in, regardless of what the outcome is with CTC. There’s got to be some common sense and judgment. It’s not about whether we are right or not about CTC; it’s about us getting it right for IU to be one of the legendary programs.

  12. Congratulations to the coaching staff for a job well done. The addition of Jeremiah April is a step in the right direction. Adding Josh Cunningham and ONE MORE post player would give IU a punchers chance in the Big Ten next year.

  13. It is desperation. Then again, the enormous hype around Zeller was desperation. The Movement was a desperation slogan. Chasing 19 F’s for six years was desperation. Remy was desperation. Hanging the success of your program on the fact you put a couple guys in NBA uniforms is desperation. Hiring carnival salesmen to run your athletic programs is desperation. Reunions of our last teams to win anything worth a hill of beans is desperation. Clinging to the propaganda of faith sold like a 6-pack of pop while pumping out empty blow like “because it’s Indiana” when the banners have 30 years of dust is desperation. Hiring Mork of Mork & Mindy as your basketball coach is desperation. Men have built careers on desperation. Integrity, competence, and honesty war with desperation. But who’s to know? Desperation is a preoccupation. It satisfies the cravings of low self-worth. It fills the gut. It’s infectious to the hungry heart. It’s confused with love. It’s eaten with the hands rather than the manners of refinement. It’s oily and confused. It’s gobbledygook and endless amounts of press conferences to fill the buckets with phrases instead of quiet results. Desperation is everywhere. It’s cable TV. It’s casinos on Sunday. It’s everything from the selling a keister to 365 days of mega churches for Easter. It’s America in your desperation nutshell. It’s guzzling gas for the last 40 years to satisfy our egos. It’s driving to the store for a gallon of milk in a SUV rivaling the size of a Mack truck. It’s super-sizing your syrupy drink at the drive-thru. It’s pumping yourself with performance enhancers so you can pound out more RBI’s. It’s putting shame on kids for dressing up as devils and ghouls for one night of fun to go trick or treating for candy with friends. What isn’t desperation in this land desperate empty “stinking morons” anymore?

  14. PRIVATE DETECTIVE VAN ARSDALE:Come Down off the ledge and get yourself some help. There are some very good antidepressants available these days. Try not to despise everyone who doesn’t walk, talk, think and act exactly like you do.

  15. I don’t despise them. I just think they’re stinking morons(e.g. Some stinking dweeb in Maine who’s constantly name-dropping and thinks he’s stinking god’s gift to the stinking lobster breath world because he plays pick-up games with washed up wannabees that couldn’t break onto a stinking Hoosier roster in our most stinking stinking era of Bloomington hoops). It takes a lot of stinking nerve to call someone a stinking moron when you can’t stop slathering yourself by means of shoulders you stinking bump into. I mean, really? This person needs to look in the stinking mirror for the definition of a stinking narcissistic moron. They need the antidepressants….or maybe just some ED meds.

  16. Welcome to IU, Jeremiah. Didn’t come away from this clip drooling, but I was impressed with his shooting stroke. Looks like he just needs to add strength and explosiveness, and we’ve got one of the best in the business for that.

    There’s a fine line between desperation and filling a need. We had a 3-player gap in our roster, and a gaping hole in the middle. We addressed that with the best available. It doesn’t make us immediate FF contenders, but so what? Who were we going to get that would? He looks like he could be a solid player for us in 2-3 years, and at least give us serviceable depth in the immediate future. Maybe more. It’s a low risk signing with the potential for a high return on investment. At this point in the game, what’s to dislike about it?

  17. Glad to see that you did take down that hideous post about IUD’s(IU’s Defense). Wow…Some people sure know how to unveil their closet full of Florsheim shoes, wool argyle socks, and last tweed sport coat purchased from Marshall Fields in 1975. Yikes. That was one scary post. Now I understand why highly respected city newspapers find any means possible to send some dinosaurs into early retirement. Sometimes they prance around on here with all the pompous sophistication in the world…Suddenly, the closet door opens, they flash you a hideous glimpse of the naked staleness, and offer you up some Boone’s Farm wine.

  18. How would you define Peter Jurkin on the bench? Is that “desperation” or “filling a need?” Jobe? Guy-Marc? Bawa? Hanner? How much scholarship return on those investments? And what real return on investment comes about from the bragging rights of guys leaving quickly for the NBA? Why would we have three available roster spots if simply showing you can pick one or two rising stocks is the key to landing top talent investing in Indiana? Don’t you need to prove that you can manage an entire portfolio? Once the big returns of cashing in the Zeller fades, the losses quickly overwhelmed. Investor confidence would climb if we could just get Bobby Knight to believe in us again.

  19. Quickness/explosiveness is the skill set most innate. The mind can catch up to the body. I’s far more difficult for the body to catch up to the mind. Quickness was one of the first traits John Wooden looked for in a recruit. Guys like Hanner, Jobe, Guy-Marc, Jurkin….are operating in a much lower gear. I’m afraid this young man looks cut from the same mold. The nice jump shot is rack and pinion steering in a Model T.

    “Quickness under control is the most valuable physical aspect of any sport, … I wanted more strengthening of the long, supple muscles. I wasn’t just looking for strength.” John Wooden

  20. Fair enough, Dustin. I do think it’s a bit insulting to not wipe out his entire post. To replace his vulgar name-calling with “stinking” is rather weak. Let’s continue to pretend that anyone on this blog is the epitome of a perfect fan. For all the digs he’s given various Hoosiers, I could easily be an arrogant jerk and call him the same vulgar names and tell him to go cheer for a different team.

    We’ve all had harsh concerning coaches and players. “VJ SUCKS!” “Watford’s ship has sailed”…”Mike Davis found the school to match his talent level”….etc, etc, etc, etc.

  21. I wouldn’t define Jurkin as either desperation or filling a need. He was adding size/potential at a time when the cupboard was already pretty well-stocked. We already had size and skill on the roster and more coming in and could afford to take chances on a long-term project. Or so we thought. Obviously circumstances have changed dramatically since then, and Jurkin’s health and development isn’t anywhere near where we hoped it could be (and at the moment need it to be.)

    I was overseas during the Tijan /Bawa era and rarely got to see them play, so I can’t speak to them.

    You can spend your time bemoaning where we are and how we got there, or you can try and move forward. I’m not convinced Crean fully understands how to learn from past mistakes, but he’s not wasting time dwelling on them either. This doesn’t appear to be a program-changing addition right now, and based on the limited information we have there’s nothing to suggest he will ever be. It just looks like we addressed a need with what was out there (and potentially more coming,) with the possibility of having a dependable big man for years. We’re not always going to have a Cody or Noah. But having a Todd Lindemann-type post player– if that’s what he ends up being– isn’t a bad thing so long as we keep trying to add pieces. No need to read any more into than that.

  22. Punjab-

    I like your style. Were you really that impressed with Noah?
    I personally believe way too much was left on the table(and it’s not entirely Crean’s fault). I wanted more outward demonstrations of enthusiasm and fire. I wanted more Rocky Balboa. He had a bunch of skills mixed into all the intimidation of a gymnast. When he stubbed his toe, he was all about protecting his interest. I wanted to see a bit more reckless abandon in his game. I want some edge…

    Noah had what I would call a pretty game. Never felt he was punishing any opposing inside player.

  23. Last night, I got a call from a buddy saying that Indiana signed an interesting recruit. I was looking forward to hearing from everyone how they felt about this kid. I got a kick out of his YouTube highlights, in that it doesn’t seem like he played against anyone taller than 5’9″. Heh.

    However, he could turn out to be a nice surprise. Given that we have 3 scholarships open, it might be worth a try to pick up a 7-footer with a nice shot who, crazily, shoots almost 80% from the FT line. His coach says he has a great work ethic and looks like the results are showing. I don’t see how anyone could assume that we’re going to end up with the next Shaq this late in the game, so given what’s out there, certainly an interesting recruit.

  24. I was impressed with Noah’s potential, Harv. Physically, he was an athletic freak (especially for his age) with a sweet stroke and a great knack for the rebound. His post game needs maturing and I thought he got way too rushed sometimes– as evidenced by some silly turnovers. There were also times I thought he a looked little lost and/or left some out on the floor. He should grow out of that. He just chose to grow out of it while making millions of dollars rather chase a banner for his school. C’est la vie.

    On a side note, I find it curiously funny that we have no verifiable stats for April. He averaged around 19 points per game? Did Westwind Prep spend all its money on uniforms and not have enough left over for stat books? It’s just odd. Is that a conspiracy I smell?

  25. Punjab,

    Justin Albers story said that April played in 68 games last year. He made a point of emphasis to say that 68 wasn’t a typo. Prep league basketball is about rapid development and maximizing reps. In some games, they’ll have kids working exclusively on areas of weakness to keep getting better. Stats are secondary. Sort of like extended spring training in baseball.

  26. Interesting. Thanks for the clarification, DD.

    Another random thought: I say this every year, but I don’t know why I always wait until April to start watching hockey. Thursday’s Blues-Blackhawks game was a classic. Today’s is pretty fun. NHL playoffs > NBA playoffs.

  27. At least there was one highlight clip available April. I’ll always remember how absolutely zero footage could be found when Guy-Marc Michel was brought on the stagecoach following McClain(even though he played in France and at Northern Idaho college for 2 years). I never did witness Guy-Marc shoot a single jumper or grab a single rebound. I remember an entire year of him sitting on the bench in gray hoodie and gray sweatpants.

    I’d still try to land the graduate transfer from San Diego State(James Johnson). It would only be a one year commitment and he has a nice wide and mature body. Not many highlights but the jumper has nice range. Just a hunch…Nothing but a hunch…Blue collar sorta guy that may have some other tricks up his sleeve.

  28. “The hard thing was just getting him (academically) cleared,” said Pamela Nailing, Jeremiah’s mother. “It was definitely a journey. Indiana came out of nowhere. We don’t know how they got his name. God did it.”

    Nailing, a devout Christian, said she went on a 40-day fast, searching for answers on her son’s basketball recruiting.

    “We’re so fortunate Indiana came first,” Nailing said. “They wanted him. They were heading off to San Diego, but it’s a done deal. We’ll fly there next week for a visit and sign the letter.”

    A 40 day fast..on her son’s recruiting? “They were heading off to San Diego..” San Diego to offer a scholly to James Johnson?
    Wow…Was I that close? Guess we’ll never know.

  29. On this holiest of holy days for most of the IU basketball team, and Christians around he world– not to mention out of respect for my own Catholic wife– I’ll refrain from commenting further. But I’ll tell you what, Harv, you would’ve really enjoyed the conversation I just had with my half-Catholic/half-Jehovah’s Witness/half agnostic, broken English-speaking Puerto Rican neighbor about religion. Enlightening and entertaining, it was something to be cherished . To people of all faiths: Happy Easter.

  30. Thanks Jeremy for providing in-game video. What I saw is a game that plays much slower then he will ever see in Big10 …..even in practice.ALOT of Unskilled players on both sides,reminds me of Church League basketball. Noticed he gets beat down the floor ,esp on defense, quite often.Needs to learn to “put back” with authority not just soft”layups” from rebounds….Good Luck CTC …you’re going to need it

  31. TJ, I usually enjoy your posts even if I don’t happen to agree with all of them. But I have to wonder if you see the rest of the world through the same negative prism you see– or at least portray yourself to see– IU basketball.

    If the “stats” and what DD said is correct, then there’s probably a lot more to be seen from April than this singular footage. If he truly averaged 19 and 11–albeit against inferior competition– than this clearly was far below his average game. I haven’t watched it. Probably won’t watch it. And I have no doubt I’d find things that might concern me if I did. I’ll remain cautiously optimistic while accepting that the realist side of me should temper expectations. (Especially at first. We’ve been spoiled with immediate impact big men lately.) But you come across as having viewed it with intent on finding flaws and something with which to fault Crean. Was it really that bad, or is ugliness in the eye of the beholder?

  32. Seeing how we’re the Hurryin’ Hoosiers again, I think Jeremiah’s mom should respect the candy stripes and the holiest of basketball lands by learning how to lead a “fast” break….Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Happy Easter everyone! And to the bunnies of Hugh Hefner, I wish you a Happy Keister! May you one day spread Easter joy by hopping to my door instead of a Jehovah’s Witness.

  33. Goeff-

    Don’t be angry so much. I don’t really care if you call me names. I’ve been called far worse. My own sister secretly cut me out of power of attorney duties when my father was in severely declining health. She went into a nursing home with a lawyer and got him to sign/alter the document, remove my name from having any say in the application/disbursement of property/wishes stipulated in his will(which included my late mother’s wishes to have my name as one with power of attorney)only days before he died. Be thankful you have family that loves you.

    Hope you have a nice Easter with your wife and son. I just finished up on an Easter basket for my all grown up kid. The days they’re little go by in a flash.

  34. Happy Easter, guys.

    I live among predominantly Mormons (most call themselves “Sunday Mormons” as that’s the only day they really abide by the ‘rules’) in Vallecito. I’ve never met a collection of people so ready to poke fun at themselves and their own religion.

    It’s refreshing.

    Enjoy the day. It’s also our 29th wedding anniversary. Woo hoo.

  35. It’s not about a religion, it’s about a relationship. Enjoy the day.

    Jeremiah, welcome to IU. The first time you run out onto the court with Assembly Hall full of Hoosiers will be an experience you will never forget. You’ll be playing in front of the best college basketball fans in the world. Now get busy gaining ten more pounds of muscle.

  36. It appears an automatic redirect is occurring when attempting to access Tom Crean’s twitter page today.

    My “relationship” is now stronger and renewed.

  37. Ben-

    Thanks for asking…She’s doing slightly better. I actually managed to find a canned dog food product that she likes and have nursed her back to somewhat more regular eating habits. Nothing near normal, but it’s something positive. She’s been diabetic for years(has lost all her sight)and it’s a battle to keep her eating with all the complications and weight loss.

    I’m not sure how much longer she has, but she sure has a strong constitution. I’ll be devastated when I lose her.

    Anyway, hope you had a nice Easter. And thanks again for asking about my best friend.

    Harvard

  38. Appreciate the full game video. April looks like another one of CTC’s projects to me. I would like to see some video of him playing against some good competition, if he ever did.

  39. Vallecito, CA??? I thought Chet lived in the Smokies, where he cycled. I have some property, including a house near Bold Mt….that’s not the Vallecito (east of Stockton and Sacramento) you are talking about, is it? A pretty conservative area (for CA)…., naaah, not Chet. Anyway, good for him. (Are you sure it’s Chet and not some usurper?)

  40. Harvard- Been a while since I checked in. I’ll second Ben’s sentiments. Nothing like the bond between owner and pet; completely unlike any other. Unmarred by words or biological impulses.

    Hope she has many more happy days ahead of her.

  41. @ PDVA – I would back off of that gymnast thing if I were you. Having spent the better part of my life in that sport and graduating IU with a bench press bigger than all of basketball team by at least 20lbs – you might be suprised at what us little guys can do. Oh – and at 5’7, I could grab the rim with both hands back then. Sure, at my advanced age I am a walking arthritic joint and barely can do 10 pull-ups – but us gymnasts are well known for packing the most punch, even at our diminutive size. My buddy Vitali Sherbo from Belarus could get 12 ft of clear air with nothing more than muscle and timing.

  42. Harvard, Vallecito borders the Weminuche Wilderness northeast of Durango, Colorado. In fact, my house is about 300 yards from where the roads end at the Wilderness, just north of Vallecito Reservoir. It’s more an area than a town. There’s no post office, the mailing address is Bayfield.

    I still love Asheville and we kept out house there…just in case. It was just time to do something different. We’d lived there for 29 years. It became too easy, if you get what I mean. I just spent the most beautiful, peaceful winter of my life. Snow shoeing under that big blue Colorado sky. Nothing quite like it.

    It’s really spectacularly beautiful here. I can see 14,000 foot snow capped peaks from the yard. Vallecito Creek (which is bigger than most western rivers) is in my back yard. I even get salmon in there.

    Anyway, it’s good to hear that your pup is doing better. I’m very attached to mine, also. It’s so hard to say good-bye. She’ll let you know when it’s time, I hope. Don’t cling too hard. If you don’t know the story of ‘the bridge’ where our dogs go when it’s their time then look it up. It might help ease your hurt getting through this.

    You all take care. Don’t take this stuff too seriously.

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