Tom Crean’s dismissal has led a pair of signees to rethink their decisions.
Clifton Moore, a four-star forward from Philadelphia, and Al Durham, a three-star guard from Georgia, have asked to be released from their national letters of intent. Moore’s AAU coach informed The Herald-Times of the player’s decision on Monday night, while Durham announced his decision shortly thereafter through a message posted to Twitter.
Their decisions leave Indiana with a one-man signing class for next season. That lone signee is four-star Illinois wing Justin Smith. Viewed as the headliner of the class, Smith is “sorting things out and evaluating what to do,” his high school coach, Pat Ambrose, told The Herald-Times.
Moore verbally committed to IU shortly after taking an official visit to Bloomington in early October 2016. He, like Durham, signed his National Letter of Intent with the school in November.
The 6-foot-10 Moore saw his recruiting profile rise after a strong spring and summer playing for coach Jonathan Michels’ on the Hoopdreamz travel outfit. In September, Indiana offered a scholarship to Moore, who received additional offers from Northwestern, Ole Miss and Temple, among others, while 2016 NCAA Tournament Champion Villanova also expressed interest.
Since Crean was fired as IU’s coach on Thursday, Michels said schools have reached out to him to gauge Moore’s interest to an undefined situation in Bloomington.
“I said to him, ‘You need the release so you can look at options,'” Michels said. “Indiana may be one of those options. It may be the school if a new coach wants to recruit you.”
Durham had been connected to Indiana the longest, becoming the first member of IU’s 2017 class when he committed in October 2015.
“I want to thank the Hoosier program and everybody who has supported me throughout this process,” Durham wrote. “I have built a lot of love for Indiana and that a major part of why I was coming to Indiana was because of coach Crean and the rest of the coaching staff … but I have decided to ask for my release after a long thought process with my family. I will continue to keep all my options open, including Indiana, and with that I want to thank the coaching staff and Indiana community for everything they have done for me.”
The decisions of the two prospects means Indiana is no longer oversigned for next season, with additional scholarships potentially opening in the coming weeks.
James Blackmon Jr., OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant are expected to weigh whether the time is right for them to begin professional careers. Also, given the coaching change, others currently in the program may decide IU’s next coach is not suitable for them.
While IU continues its search for Crean’s successor, Moore and Durham aren’t wasting any time making sure their college destinations are the right fit.
“He’s seeing what opportunities there are,” Michels said of Moore. “Indiana may be one of them.”