Free for all: Our Pritchard story

Here’s the story I wrote on Indiana’s newest basketball recruit Tom Pritchard, a forward from St. Edwards in Lakewood, Ohio.

As you probably already know, you have to be a subscriber — either to the paper or to the web site exclusively, which isn’t expensive at $6 a month — to read our stories. Usually. Every now and then, I do this.

Our video and audio content is free, though. For instance, you can hear the entire audio of recent press conferences with Kelvin Sampson, Bill Lynch and Kellen Lewis on our site right now.

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By Chris Korman

331-4353 | ckorman@heraldt.com

Kelvin Sampson wanted to know who he was watching, and he got the wrong answer.

The Indiana’s men’s basketball coach was in Las Vegas, watching as the summer basketball recruiting period culminated in a bonanza befitting of such a glitzy town. Thousands of players descend at the end of each July for at least three different tournaments which send them sprawling across the region to often far-flung gyms. College coaches are left to chase them.Thanks to HoosierNation.com and Scout.com for allowing us to use this picture.
This might explain why for about the first 10 minutes of the time that Sampson was enamored with Tom Pritchard, he thought Pritchard was a player named Kenny Frease.

Sampson was watching the Ohio-based King of the Court team play, and noticing a powerful player in the blocks. He was told it was Frease, a highly ranked center in the class of 2008 who committed to Xavier in March. So Sampson was under the impression he was simply enjoying the solid play of a guy headed to another school.

But then he and his assistant coach Rob Senderoff noticed that the player they were watching kept shooting left-handed.

That helped them figure out they were, in fact, watching Pritchard, a forward who to that point had generated only mild interest. They began recruiting him that day, and on Monday received a verbal commitment from the 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward to join the class of 2008.

“I just felt comfortable with coach Sampson from the beginning,” Pritchard said on Wednesday. “He really liked the way I played.”

There’s a reason Pritchard wasn’t as well known as Frease. This was the first summer since he started high school that he chose to compete in AAU basketball instead of summer baseball.

So even the two other schools he seriously considered – basketball lightweights Penn State and Miami (Ohio) — only started pushing hard for him this summer when they got a chance to watch him play against top-tier talent.

That allowed Sampson and Indiana to catch up quickly. Pritchard came for an official visit in mid-August and was in Bloomington last weekend for an official visit. He met with academic advisors, university President Michael McRobbie and, of course, coaches and players from the basketball team on Friday. On Saturday he watched the football game and shot around with his future teammates.

By Sunday, he was ready to make his decision and on Monday he called Sampson.

“Just the whole atmosphere was right,” Pritchard said. “I wanted to see what I felt was the best fit, and I found it.”

Pritchard described himself as a consistent player, saying he doesn’t “have many ups and downs.” Sampson recruited him for the same reason he has recruited so many of the players he’s brought to Indiana in two seasons: for his basketball IQ and intangibles.

“He likes my passing and my post defense,” Pritchard said. “Passing isn’t something you can really teach. It just has to come naturally.”

Pritchard is the fourth member of what has become a well-rounded class. He joins dynamic guard Bud Mackey, scoring wing Devin Ebanks and shooter Matt Roth in planning to sign with the Hoosiers in November.

Indiana’s current top target in the class, Washington, Ind., center Tyler Zeller, is taking an official visit to Bloomington this weekend.

6 comments

  1. Thanks for opening up the content, if even a little. It is especially nice to see sports content released in this way.

    I hope the HT gets inspired by the NY Times move to stop charging.

  2. i agree with kevin, charging is not right,papers such as the indy star do not charge for web content. come on guys!

  3. There was an article yesterday or the day before saying more and more papers are no longer charging to read their online content.

  4. how can you call miami a lightweight? two years ago they beat purdue. last year lost to UK in rupp at the end of the game, lost on a buzzer beater to illinois, and took #3 seed Oregon to the end of the game and lost by 3 in the NCAA tournament. hardly a basketball lightweight when you look at their tradition as well.

  5. I agree with Mike…how can you call a team that is coming off three straight post-season berths (2 NIT, 1 NCAA) a “lightweight” program? Obviously not on the same level as IU as far as conference affilitation, money, facilities, etc…but hardly a team that can be considered lightweight.

    Love Pritchard though…sounds like he can help us right away! Thanks for the info.

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