McSwain committed to getting better at Indiana #iubb

The two hats resting neatly on the table in front of him represented two schools that Freddie McSwain once believed were beyond his reach.

Having only played serious, organized basketball since his junior year of high school, McSwain was left to take a different route to the Division I level. There he was in the Neosho County (Kan.) Community College gym on Sunday evening, staring at the hats. One for Kansas State. Another for Indiana.

After two years at the junior college level, McSwain is ready for the next step in his basketball life. So he picked up the red IU cap, placed it on his head and verbally committed to the Hoosiers.

In McSwain, Indiana has landed an athletic wing who could potentially fit — and replace — senior-to-be Troy Williams’ player profile in Bloomington next season. The 6-foot-6 prospect averaged 14.2 points and nine rebounds per game as a sophomore, helping Neosho County to a 30-win season. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

During a visit to IU’s campus early last week, McSwain found coach Tom Crean’s pitch for player development to be a huge selling point. Days later, he was ready to make their relationship official.

“I’m all about getting better, winning and having a winning program,” McSwain told The Herald-Times. “I like my teammates (at IU). They’re great guys. The campus, the vibe of the fans, I love it. I just trust coach Crean. He said he can’t wait to coach me. I just can’t wait to learn from him.”

Indeed, with only four years’ worth of organized experience in the game, McSwain is eager to continue learning. That’s what motivated him to leave his hometown of Hinesville, Ga. — located 45 miles southwest of Savannah — for junior college in Southeast Kansas.

Though there were some rough edges to his game, Neosho County Community College coach Jeremy Coombs took advantage of McSwain’s athleticism during his two years in the JUCO program. McSwain found his niche in transition, and Coombs said the team often ran lob plays for him to shine.

“He’s probably the most athletic kid in junior college basketball,” Coombs said.

With room to grow.

During his official visit, Crean told McSwain he could help him with his jump shot, showing him how he could get the ball out of his hands quicker. McSwain also had the opportunity to work out with the Hoosiers and was able to feel how IU staffers push players on the practice floor. It was another selling point for McSwain, who said he’s learned to love the gym out of necessity.

“In 11th grade, I just started getting into (playing), because I knew it was something I could do,” McSwain said. “I knew parts of my game had to get better. I didn’t grow up having a ball in my hands 24/7 like a couple guys have, but I knew if I worked hard I could be someone.

“… I had a lot of people back at home telling me, ‘You’re good enough to play. You have all the tools, you just have to keep working at it,’ and I worked hard. I go to the gym every day. When I’m home (in Georgia), I’ll barely be home. My mom will ask me, ‘Are you in the house?’ I just love the game and want to keep playing.”

McSwain’s commitment puts IU one over the NCAA scholarship limit of 13, but that may not be an issue for long. Williams declared for the NBA Draft earlier this month and is expected to receive an invitation to the NBA Draft combine in Chicago, which runs May 10-15. He’ll have until May 25 to decide whether he will hire an agent or return to school for his senior year.

Indiana coach Tom Crean likely wouldn’t have pursued McSwain if there wasn’t a possibility that Williams would declare — and ultimately turn pro.

On Sunday, Williams seemed excited for McSwain and his commitment to IU.

“Not only a great player, but a great person,” Williams tweeted. “Congrats bro!”

McSwain is the first junior college player to transfer to Indiana since Guy Marc-Michel in 2010. He’ll lend a hand to an IU frontcourt that could be the Big Ten’s best, featuring star sophomore center Thomas Bryant, incoming 6-foot-10 freshman forward De’Ron Davis, sophomores Juwan Morgan and OG Anunoby and senior Collin Hartman.

More than 20 schools extended scholarship offers to McSwain this spring, and by Sunday he was ready to realize a dream.

“I never thought K-State or Indiana would even have an interest in me,” McSwain said. “It’s just a blessing. I’m just glad I got to choose between those two great programs.”

14 comments

  1. I’m really excited about this kid. I feel he has a tremendous upside. Finishes extremely strong at the basket.

  2. Who is going to open a roster spot?.Could it be a player from Texas? what would happen if the NBA combine doesn’t go good for Troy? is Spike out of the I U equation?

  3. McSwain is an extremely athletic and talented basketball player and he’ll fit in nicely with the current roster and culture. I’m pretty sure this means TW is gonzo, but if he returns then Mr. Priller will soon be packing his bags and looking for a transfer opportunity that is in line with his mediocre skills. Tim Priller is a good kid, but he has absolutely no chance of contributing any meaningful minutes over the next 2 years if he remains in Bloomington.

  4. As I understand the IU Student Athlete Bill of Rights, Crean can’t boot Priller for not contributing to the team. So if Priller wants to stay, he can. If he really wants to play, he should go somewhere else.

  5. Tim Priller has done absolutely everything that Indiana University has ever asked of it’s student athletes: hard work and determination on the court and in the classroom. He violates no rules and is a great kid. Your comments naming him reveal a shallow and shameful character about yourself!

  6. Tim Priller unless his life is made miserable should just enjoy and reap all that Indiana University has to offer him….and get prepared for his next step in life. That being said if an opportunity for a nice warm winter climate vacation spot came about that might be something to think about. Actually, I forgot he was even in the program. Now, days I hear an unbalanced amount of comments regarding IU basketball recruits that this kid will be a good player someday, this kid as a lot of upside, this kid will get better and better, I like this kid and he will fit in nicely etc etc etc. It reminds me of what I always heard about football program.

  7. A question for those more informed than I: Would IU still be technically honoring the Student Athlete Bill of Rights if we provide a non-athletic scholarship (need-based, academic-based, achievement-based) to a current player? I understand that this would almost certainly mean that the player couldn’t participate in basketball, but if he was ok with leaving the team to get a scholly, would that break any rules?

  8. Obviously, a player does not have to be on an athletic scholarship to compete for a school. None of us know what kind of financial aid any of our walk on players may or may not have received.

    I’m sure the spirit of the SABOR intends for a player to receive his athletic scholarship for 4 years.

    Now, if a former athletic scholarship athlete abruptly becomes an academic or need based scholarship recipient while remaining on the team the NCAA would raise an eyebrow (at least).

    Non-revenue athletes fluctuate between partial athletic scholarships, need based scholarships, and academic scholarships every year. My kids never new what, if anything, they would be receiving, and from where, until they got their financial aid packet every spring.

  9. We all know Priller was a desperation move by Crean. This kid never had major D1 ability and should be playing at a much smaller program. The key word is “playing”! Does Priller want to play or is he happy riding the bench at a program where he will never play? If he had any any basketball motivation he would transfer to another school. Otherwise, looks like Crean will be stuck with his poor decision.

  10. Tim Priller doesn’t need talent since he’s the unofficial team mascot. If they need another scholarship, they should just give him a full ride as the new “Hurryin’ Hoosier” mascot. I’d love to see him take down Purdue Pete.

  11. LOL…BeatPurdue, get off your high horse and your feigned outrage. I’m simply telling it like it is. If TW decides to return to IU, why don’t you go ahead and tell me how this is all going to shake out. There have been plenty of college athletes that have shown up for practice and not been arrested for DWI, etc., but they still understand when it’s time to leave a program after their end of season review. I’m sure CC has made it clear to Tim Priller that he appreciates all his hard work and dedication, but that he has not seen enough improvement in his game over the past 2 years to suggest he will be given any additional playing time (especially given the expected roster for 2016 – 2017). I’m not saying that Tim Priller HAS to leave, I’m say that Tim Priller SHOULD leave if he truly wants to be a student ATHLETE.

  12. Bobby the K is going to speak at the big Trump rally in Indy.

    Hey Harv! Penny for your thoughts.

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