PG Harrison Niego commits to Indiana as preferred walk-on #iubb

As an eighth-grader, Harrison Niego remembers watching Nick Zeisloft lead Lyons Township High School to back-to-back regional championships in Illinois.

Now, the two are set to become teammates at Indiana.

Niego, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Zeisloft’s alma mater, committed to IU on Friday night as a preferred walk-on for the 2015-16 season. He, like Zeisloft, will add another knockdown shooter to Indiana’s bench.

“This team has a lot of potential to make a great run this year,” Niego said. “(I liked) the culture of winning, and it starts from the top and goes all the way to the bottom. It was irresistible and it’s how I work, too. That was really attractive.”

Niego’s father, Joe, a former fourth-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets in 1987, said Indiana has shown interest since his son’s sophomore season. North Dakota State, Illinois-Chicago and Northern Illinois each offered Niego, who was also considering Ivy League schools Yale, Dartmouth and Cornell.

IU coach Tom Crean and assistant Tim Buckley were both involved in Niego’s recruitment. Peegs.com’s Jeff Rabjohns was first to report Niego’s commitment.

“Harrison got the call from coach Crean asking us to come to campus and to visit with the coaches again,” Joe Niego said. “We sat down and looked at film, and coach laid down his plan on how he saw Harrison fitting in. We got there, and after talking to coach Crean and the players and seeing the history there and what they’re continuing to build on, he just got excited for the opportunity. He came home and we did the pros and the cons of the other opportunities.”

Niego joins an IU roster that currently has only four guards, including Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson, James Blackmon Jr. and Zeisloft. That supporting cast, along with a deep backcourt, made it an easy sell.

“He’s a guy that shoots the ball extremely well,” Niego’s father said. “He has a real high basketball IQ. One thing he’s never really had a chance to do in his basketball career is really play with athletic players around him. He’s a guy that feels he can use the talent around him and there’s a lot of athleticism there that he’s excited to get going with.”

He’s excited to team with Zeisloft, too. As Niego weighed his college options and considered the possibilities of accepting a basketball scholarship at a mid-major, playing in the Ivy League or walking on at Indiana, he leaned on Zeisloft for advice.

Those conversations, and all the other factors, including the chance to play for a Big Ten championship contender, led Niego to Bloomington.

“I’ve been in contact with Nick a lot over this recruiting process as Indiana became more and more one of the possibilities for me in walking on,” Niego said. “Nick’s a great guy. He’s been awesome to me. I grew up watching him. It’s really cool to now be on the same team as him.”

5 comments

  1. I watched a youtube video of this kid and…wow! I am thrilled to get this kid. He gets his shot off quickly and moves well without the ball. He can get to the basket…what a steal!

  2. This young man will be an excellent addition to the Indiana team. I was really impressed by the interview video. Nice job, Coach Crean!

  3. Where are Crean’s critics on this good news? When will they begin arguing that Crean is exploiting this fine, young, innocent and helpless young man? Where’s the outrage and cynicism? I mean, can’t Crean’s critics see how exploitive it is for Crean to invite Niego to join the team without even giving him a scholarship? By the way, is it more exploitive to give April a scholarship and then encourage him to transfer after a year, or invite a player to join the team as a “preferred walk-on”?

    “As Niego weighed his college options and considered the possibilities of accepting a basketball scholarship at a mid-major, playing in the Ivy League or walking on at Indiana, he leaned on Zeisloft for advice. Those conversations, and all the other factors, including the chance to play for a Big Ten championship contender, led Niego to Bloomington.” Obviously this young man has been brainwashed and is the latest victim of Crean’s evil ability to control the minds of impressionable young men.

  4. This is a very good pick-up for the Hoosiers in 2015-16. Probably a mistake for the kid as Yale, with his addition, could win the Ivies and play in the tournament, plus their degree is very valuable!

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