Scruggs keeping eye on IU #iubb

FISHERS — Paul Scruggs is approaching the April evaluation period like a series of job interviews.

Each game on this month’s Under Armour Association circuit is a chance for the four-star Southport combo guard to impress the bevy of high-major college coaches watching his games. To solidify his status as a top-tier talent in the class of 2017, Scruggs knows what he must do.

“The thing he’s got to do if he’s going to play at a high level with high talent is he’s got to be able to distribute the ball and run a team,” Southport coach Kyle Simpson said. “I think he’s learning that.”

Especially this spring, while playing alongside five-star wing Kris Wilkes on a loaded Indy Hoosiers squad that also features Hamilton Southeastern forward Zach Gunn and Cloverdale guard — and Butler commit — Cooper Neese.

Scruggs and Wilkes are both priority targets for Indiana, and their team drew a visit from coach Tom Crean during Friday’s weekend-opener at the Best Choice Fieldhouse before assistant Tim Buckley followed up on Saturday morning.

In Scruggs’ case, IU is one of a handful of schools in heavy pursuit entering his senior year. Michigan State, Louisville and Xavier have also made the athletic 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard a priority. Spartans coach Tom Izzo visited Scruggs within the last week, while the Musketeers sent representatives a week prior.

Indiana, with its style of play and emphasis on offense under Crean, also stands in good position with Scruggs.

“They let their point guards go and let them dictate the tempo of the game,” Scruggs said of the Hoosiers. “They have fun with the game.”

For Scruggs, this spring and summer aren’t necessarily about fun. They’re about diversifying his game on both ends of the floor.

“There are things he’s got to work on still, things defensively,” Simpson said. “Sometimes he gets too aggressive and then he wants to get it back immediately and I’m like, ‘You gotta understand that you gotta play the next play.’ He’s learning to do that against good competition.”

Led by Scruggs and senior Joey Brunk, a Butler signee, Southport rolled through the second half of the high school season, winning 15 consecutive games until falling to New Albany and sophomore sensation Romeo Langford in the semistate.

Scruggs averaged 19 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

“His jump shot is still continuing to get better,” Simpson said. “He shot better this season than he had the previous two years.”

While his offensive profile continues to grow, Scruggs already appears to be a great fit for what Indiana does on that end of the floor. He can score in myriad ways in traffic and on the perimeter, earning a place among the elite guards in his class. According to the 247 Sports Composite, Scruggs is one of the top 30 players in the country, and he’s considered the No. 4 ranked point guard nationally.

And Indiana remains firmly on his radar.

“Being 45 minutes to the south would be great,” Simpson said. “Like I told him, if you’re an Indiana Hoosier, when you die, that’s in your obituary — former player, former Hoosier. That’s what they talk about.”