Crean building on relationship with signee De’Ron Davis #iubb

Not long after his Hoosiers turned away Illinois last week, Tom Crean’s focus shifted to Colorado.

As in Aurora, Colo. — the home of one of his prized recruits.

The Indiana coach flew west to catch 2016 signee De’Ron Davis play for his Overland High School team last Wednesday, continuing the commitment he made to Davis dating back to his eighth-grade year.

“It was a long trip, but glad I made it,” Crean said this week on his radio show.

That trip — and so many more — meant a lot to the folks at Overland, who have watched Davis’ relationship with Indiana University grow over the last four years. When Davis, a four-star forward, announced his commitment to IU in November, he said the biggest deciding factor was the relationships Crean and his assistants established with him years ago.

Since Davis signed and made his commitment official, Crean hasn’t backed off.

“It’s really a bit surprising for me,” said Danny Fisher, Davis’ coach at Overland. “Indiana has done such a good job since he was in the eighth grade, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s been really refreshing for me to see the follow-up work that they’re doing and the concern that they have. They’ve switched their focus from trying to get De’Ron (to commit) to engaging with him and with me to bring him onto the campus and into the program in the best situation possible.”

Davis, who chose IU over a late push from Mississippi State, is expected to challenge for immediate minutes next season, bolstering the Hoosiers’ frontcourt with his reported 6-foot-10, 235-pound frame.

He’ll be joined in Bloomington next season by fellow signees Curtis Jones, a four-star combo guard from Huntington (W. Va.) Prep, and Grant Gelon, a three-star shooting guard from Crown Point.

New York combo guard Devonte Green, a three-star prospect and the brother of San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green, is also verbally committed to IU’s 2016 recruiting class.

On his latest trip to see Davis in Colorado, Crean offered his future big man a list of things to work on. Crean instructed him to work more on his left hand and continue building good habits, like posting up in the center of the key to avoid double teams.

For Davis, this season has been more about polishing his game rather than adding new dimensions, but Fisher said he took Crean’s tips and put them into practice the next day.

“He’s so versatile and there’s so much he’s capable of doing,” Fisher said. “We’re stretching him out more. He’s shooting more jump shots and he’s handing the ball a little more.”

Fisher is also trying to get Davis more experience guarding smaller players on the perimeter.

“Just watching Indiana play — and watching the high-level college bigs play — the guys that are really good are able to switch screens and guard multiple people. That’s something we’ve done quite a bit this season.”

Davis starred for Overland in last month’s Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, scoring the game-winner with four seconds remaining in regulation to lift his team to a championship victory over local power Bishop Gorman.

For the season, Davis is averaging 17 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks.

“He’s getting bigger, he’s getting stronger and he’s extremely well-coached,” Crean said. “He’s one of those year-round, well-coached guys, which I love. Bottom line is there’s a lot of upside. He’s got a good touch, he rebounds the ball and I enjoyed seeing him play.”

12 comments

  1. This is good but I would be more confident and comfortable if he was building solid relationships with Indiana HS coaches. That would be a base for the future.

  2. HC, your comment implies that Crean is not building relationships with Indiana High School coaches. Do you know that to be true? I assume, given Crean’s success in recruiting, that while he has the relationships, he may not always find the type of talent that he prefers within the state.

  3. I’ve never heard TC say a negative word about any high school coach. If there is something going on behind the scenes, you would think it would come out in today’s social media.

  4. Indy’s Morning Sports List – Top 8 things that need to change for IU Basketball to become successful
    by Kent Sterling
    December 22, 2015

    1 – Rebuild fractured relationships with Indiana high school coaches. As I talk to high school coaches, I always ask off the record about Tom Crean. Some are politically correct and deflect. Others are quite honest, and those reports are very instructive as to the level of respect with which they hold Crean compared to Purdue’s Matt Painter and Butler’s Chris Holtmann. Being out-respected has made it very difficult for Crean to recruit the state’s best talent. If Indiana needs to rely on Boo Williams to steer kids toward Indiana, the Hoosiers will be what fans have seen the past two-plus years. Recruit elite talent in Indiana, and there is a chance to win championships.

    Sterling claims he “talks” to high school coaches…Not sure how many and who…They probably preferred to remain anonymous. HT used to provide links in Hoosier Morning’s to Sterling’s stories. Not so much anymore.

  5. Sounds like Kent Sterling is a member of your club. His comment is pure trash for so many reasons. Does he consider himself a journalist? Crean may be deficient in many ways, but recruiting is not one of them.

  6. Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon, Colin Hartman, Ryan Burton, Quentin Taylor and Jackson Tharp are the only kids from Indiana on the roster. The last 3 are walk-ons.

    Anyway, all the top high school players in Indiana are now choosing to play elsewhere. Harv, wanna break out the list again? You’ve posted it here numerous times. There were zero in this class and none in the next coming in (I think).

    I have it on anonymous authority that Crean does not have good relationships with Indiana High School coaches anymore. That’s purely subjective and the lack of identifiable sources is not something I would expect anyone here to change their mind on because it is unverifiable. However, I do think the results are in. Kids from Indiana are not coming to play at Indiana. Crean is getting in all his players from out of state now.

  7. Why do you think that is? Seriously.

    He can obviously recruit. Indiana has a way out of proportion to its population number of outstanding high school players. Lots of those players come from homes where IU tradition runs deep. It’s convenient for their parents to come to games. It’s a great university.

    For the average Hoosier kid it seems like a no brainer.

    Crean has shown at least adequate skill as a ‘closer’. Sometimes we don’t quite get why he signs some kids but they pan out as often as not.

    So, why do you think he does not go for, what should be, the low hanging fruit of Indiana high school basketball?

  8. Chet,

    I don’t know. Indiana might be relevant to these kids parents, but our program hasn’t really mattered in a meaningful way in any of their lifetimes. In the modern age, some folks might think these kids are flaky and have no respect for tradition. I think that’s a terrible way to excuse mediocrity. Travel is easier and you can pretty much watch any game, so regional influences have less of an impact than they used to. Top recruits are going to places where they can 1) win national championship and 2) get ready to play in the NBA. Indiana prints up t-shirts for the Sweet 16. If you’re a 5-star, you just have to laugh at that.

    My speculation is that “The Movement” class killed Crean’s relationship with in the state. All of those kids were Indiana kids sans Jurkin and only Yogi is left. How much of that is on Crean versus the kids themselves has been discussed ad infinitum on here by smarter and more informed folks than me. Ultimately though, it is on Crean regardless of the particulars. Regardless, the results are in. Since the demise of that class, the Indiana well has run dry.

  9. Chet; I think a part of the problem IS the “twitterverse” and social media coupled with “perception”. IF Crean is perceived NOT to be a good X’s and O’s coach (which has been said about him) then you get Kids and coaches chatting with each other ….perception can become a reality. THAT perception can become difficult to overcome because it is fed by “the grapevine”

  10. DD,
    Sure, I get why they’d go to MSU or Kentucky or Louisville but what about places like Xavier or, to a lesser extent, Purdue who have never been of any consequence in anyone’s lifetime?

    Sure, Colin turned out to be a serviceable player but was he the guy we should have targeted out of all of Indiana? Let’s not even count the A-Hope debacles.

    Make no mistake, RMK did not, by any stretch of the imagination, get the cream of the crop out of Indiana but he did seem to have more native sons than any coach since. While there certainly needs to be players from across the spectrum I would think the simplest recruiting philosophy would be ‘Indiana first’.

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