Phinisee commits to Indiana

Robert Phinisee already knows what school will be like at McCutcheon this week.

The Lafayette native got a first taste on Saturday evening.

Shortly after announcing his verbal commitment to Indiana’s 2018 recruiting class, Phinisee’s phone lit up with playful jabs from friends. That’s because he’s now a Hoosier in enemy territory.

“I know I’ll get a lot of things Monday about it just because there’s so many Purdue fans (at school),” Phinisee said. “At the end of the day, I think they’ll support me.”

Indiana, meanwhile, will be eager to welcome the four-star point guard to Bloomington when he arrives on campus a year from now. Phinisee, a priority recruiting target of IU’s new coaching staff, was among the first in-state players to get a visit from Archie Miller shortly after his appointment as Indiana men’s basketball coach in March.

Now that he’s made his commitment, Phinisee is poised to step in and immediately influence IU’s roster for the 2018-19 season. Phinisee is considered the No. 17 point guard nationally and the fourth overall in-state player in the 2018 recruiting class, according to the 247 Sports Composite.

Indiana will graduate point guard Josh Newkirk after the upcoming season, and while Devonte Green and Al Durham will also return to IU’s backcourt in 2018, Phinisee appears to represent the purest point guard option of the bunch.

Getting to run the team from Day 1 was one of Miller’s selling points to Phinisee during the recruiting process, and it’s a perk Phinisee wants to take full advantage of next year.

“Just being a freshman and being able to come in and impact the game is a big thing,” Phinisee said.

Phinisee’s commitment represents the latest example of Miller’s priority for in-state recruiting. Phinisee is the third member of IU’s 2018 class and its second native Hoosier, joining South Bend Riley wing Damezi Anderson.

Anderson and Phinisee already have a good relationship, having played with each other on this year’s Indiana Junior All-Star core team in June. After Anderson committed to IU last month, he contacted Phinisee to discuss a possible future together in Bloomington.

Reached by The Herald-Times on Saturday, Anderson wrote in a text message that he was excited to learn the two will soon become college teammates.

“When I heard and seen, I was super happy,” Anderson said. “I’m glad he did commit, and I think it’s going to be a good year when we all go together.”

Phinisee also envisions a natural partnership with Anderson.

“It’ll be pretty fun,” he said. “I know he’s a scorer and I’m a pass-first poing guard, so I think we’ll jell well.”

Phinisee and Anderson are joined in Indiana’s 2018 class by top 100 wing Jerome Hunter of Ohio. Together, the three prospects give Indiana the No. 6 recruiting class in the nation, according to Rivals. That’s one spot behind Big ten foe Maryland and four behind No. 2 Michigan State. Arizona, coached by Miller’s brother, Sean, currently has the top-ranked recruiting class in the updated Rivals database.

It’s an impressive start to the Archie Miller era at Indiana — and it won’t stop with Phinisee.

In addition to losing Newkirk after this season, the Hoosiers will also graduate four others — Collin Hartman, Robert Johnson, Freddie McSwain and Tim Priller. That gives IU two more scholarships to utilize in the 2018 recruiting cycle. Of course, New Albany star shooting guard Romeo Langford is at the top of the wish list.

Already, Miller seems to have established a strong foundation for the years to come.

Phinisee, who chose IU over offers from the hometown Boilermakers, Ohio State and Virginia, among others, averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 assists, 5.9 rebounds and three steals for McCutcheon as a junior, leading the Mavericks to the Class 4A state final last year.

After the high school season ended, Phinisee ran the point for AAU outfit Indiana Elite, taking center stage for the Hoosiers on the recruiting circuit. Indiana coaches told Phinisee that they would attend each of his travel games in July. Phinisee said Saturday that Miller, assistant Bruiser Flint and the other members of IU’s new staff followed through on their promise.

Now, Phinisee intends to follow through on his commitment to Indiana, citing the relationship he built with IU staffers this spring.

“Coach Miller and Coach Flint really built a relationship right off the bat,” Phinisee said. “Right when they got there. They came to my school and showed me how they planned on turning the program around. I believed in it. We just really kept building a relationship.”


  1. Now that’s not so hard. Identify them, recruit them and you can get some of them to commit. Miller is the right guy.

  2. Getting solid instate kids again is a sign we have an opportunity to progress forward once again. Great job Coach Miller and congratulations Mr. Phinisse.

  3. Great but…what they’re not gettin is size, wheres the interest in big men u people wanna cry and about defense but playin bunch 6’7 guys theyre gonna get killed inside how is this any different oh… right theyre from in state so thats okay

    1. Morgan will be a Senior…Davis will be a Junior…Moore will be a sophomore. That’s a lot of size with experience when Phinisee comes in. Two spots left on the roster hopefully we get Langford and another big…could be a legit contender.

  4. T.C. recruited low 4 star recruits. This is not a high 4 star but he is a solid recruit. Yes, I 100% agree high 4 star to 5 star big guys needed (at least one or two). Also high 4 star guards with size needed that is if you are going to compete for national championship.

  5. Huh?4 stars is 4 stars they don’t do high 4 or low 4 not sure im following what you’re sayin sir

  6. On some ratings you will see 4 stars graded at for example 4 @ 81, another 4 @ 83, another 4 @ 89 etc. This recruit on espn rating or rivals grades out @ 81.
    5 stars 90 – 100
    4 stars 80 -89
    3 stars 70 -79
    So 81 is a little better than a high 3 star recruit.

  7. Small differential. Would not care to live on the difference. Also seriously doubt HC’s recruit or accept commitments based on such a slight contrast.

  8. The elites including Duke, Louisville, Kansas, Kentucky often get higher graded 4 stars. Phinisee is a very good solid recruit but if you look at his offers IU beat out some good schools but not the current elite. A recruit or 2 or 3 no difference but if it is a difference as in a whole team vs those who consistently get higher graded recruits within a 4 star category it becomes a difference. Provided competent coaching is a high level at each school it is the difference between good and elite programs.

    1. It is really a non- issue. If a HC covets a player he targets it matters very little where he falls in a *’s range. A HC’s evaluations encompasses a larger list of criteria than our sphere of *’s. A Non-issue.

  9. HC, great point in your last post. And let’s all remember, the kid being recruited has a vote. Certain kids may not want to attend/play for certain schools based on a variety of criteria, that they may or may not share with the coaches recruiting them.

    As for Archie and IU beating out schools currently considered elite, like Duke, KY, Kansas, etc., don’t expect that to happen too often for the next two or three seasons, or maybe even longer. The “tractor beams” those elite programs replay are very powerful, and it’s going to take a lot of time before IU can overcome them. But Archie is off to a great start.

    As for getting some bigs, brownbomber has a good point. Archie’s going to need some quality big men, and based on what I’m seeing, there are not any quality big men on his radar screen. 6’7″ forwards are not going to get it done in the paint against equally athletic guys who go 6’10 or above. I’m sure Archie is aware of that, but who is he targeting?

    1. Not a lot of bigs on the 2018 radar, but plenty for 2019. Here’s some names: Trayce Jackson-Davis (Center Grove), Matthew Hurt (AAU teammate of Race Thompson), James Wiseman (AAU teammate of Darius Garland), Isaiah Stewart (close with Thomas Bryant, transferring to LaLumiere), Kofi Cockburn (AAU coach Dana Dingle, who played for Flint/Schilling under Calipari at UMass), Francis Okoro (Normal, Ill.) and Aidan Igiehon (also plays AAU for Dingle).

  10. To target low 4 star players is fine and expected. To target a 3 star player is acceptable. Phinisee has great upside, will more than likely be in program full 4 years and be a great team stabilizer. However, a whole team of H.C. coveted low 4 stars and 3 stars at all positions will not win championships at elite level. Why? Their will always be something lacking once a certain level is reached. Yes, there is always exceptions but not consistent on an almost yearly basis. To say otherwise or it is non issue is to say you do not know what you are talking about.

    1. Now your premise has changed from just 4*’s and now includes 3*’s. But that is alright with me. I’ve always enjoyed nailing jelly to a wall. So make it up as you go.

  11. Thanks for proving point that stars and ranges within stars for a whole team does matter, makes a difference, and is an issue to be considered.

  12. No one here has a clue as to what all of the major ranking systems “mean by their ranking numbers. Rob Phinisee is a perfect example: his ranking goes from 121 to 81, 40 spots in the range, between 2 respected ranking organizations. I watched Rob play against Romeo as sophomores for a State Championship. Romeo was absolutely amazing, Rob was very very good. I would love both in Candy-Stripes!

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