Miller comments on IU’s 4 signees

Indiana received signed National Letters of Intent from all four of its 2018 commits on Wednesday, officially welcoming point guard Robert Phinisee, wing Damezi Anderson and forwards Jerome Hunter and Jake Forrester to the IU basketball family.

Wednesday marked the first day of the early signing period, which runs through Nov. 15. The Hoosiers’ 2018 class is ranked No. 12 nationally by 247 Sports and No. 15 by Rivals.com.

“We feel this class will lay the foundation for future Hoosiers for years to come and be building blocks for future great Indiana basketball teams,” IU coach Archie Miller said in a statement.

Hunter, a 6-foot-7 athlete who excels in transition, is the highest-rated four-star prospect of the bunch, per 247 Sports. Considered the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio, Hunter has been on Miller’s radar for more than two years, dating to the coach’s tenure at Dayton.

“I have known Jerome and his family since his sophomore year of high school,” Miller said. “I have watched him grow as a player and person. He is an extremely versatile wing who has great size for his position. He loves being in the gym and is constantly looking for ways to improve. Jerome’s ability to play both on the perimeter and inside will make him a great addition to our team.”

Anderson, a 6-foot-7 shooter, is the first IU scholarship signee from South Bend since Tom Abernethy. Per the 247 Sports database, Anderson is the No. 3 overall prospect from the Hoosier state. He was an Indiana Junior All-Star last summer after averaging 24 points and 7.6 rebounds for South Bend Riley.

“Damezi is an excellent addition to our program,” Miller said. “He is a big wing who has a knack for scoring the basketball. His ability to shoot the basketball with great range has stood out from the first time I watched him play. Damezi and his family are very excited that he is the first scholarship basketball player from South Bend that has signed with IU in almost 45 years.”

In Phinisee, Miller also has his point guard of the future. Although Indiana continues to pursue five-star point guard Darius Garland for next season, Phinisee projects as a four-year player who will have his opportunity to guide the IU offense in the years to come.

Considered the No. 4 overall player in the state of Indiana, Phinisee was an Indiana Junior All-Star last summer after averaging 21.7 points, 6.8 assists, 5.9 rebounds and three steals for McCutcheon.

The 5-foot-11 Phinisee is the first IU scholarship recruit from Lafayette since 1948, when Indiana Mr. Basketball Bob Masters and Charlie Vaughn left Lafayette Jeff for Bloomington.

“Rob is a name that came up on my first day on the job,” Miller said. “We immediately identified him as a priority and began developing a relationship with him and his family. Rob is a throwback point guard who cares only about running the team and winning. His teammates love playing with him and he makes the game easier for everyone around him. We are proud that Rob is the first scholarship basketball player to play for Indiana from Lafayette in almost 70 years.”

Forrester is Indiana’s most recent commit, having delivered a verbal pledge to Miller shortly after an official visit to Bloomington in September. The 6-foot-8 forward is considered the No. 3 overall prospect from Pennsylvania, where he averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds as a junior for the Westtown School.

“Jake is a versatile front court player who has only scratched the surface of his basketball ability,” Miller said. “He has a tremendous work ethic and seems to improve daily. He comes from a basketball family and is coached by Seth Berger at Westtown School, which has produced many high-level college basketball players. Jake can play multiple positions on offense and guard multiple positions on defense. His best basketball is ahead of him and the sky is the limit for who he can become as a player.”

Both 247 Sports and Rivals rank IU’s current class as fourth-best in the Big Ten.

But the Hoosiers are not yet done.

Indiana has one more available scholarship for next season and continues to pursue both Garland and five-star New Albany guard Romeo Langford.

21 comments

      1. Oh im sorry yes a bunch of small forwards only deron davis is a true center clifton moore is 6’10 210 and said himself he’s more of a stretch 4 so again i say they need more size bangers is that clear enough for you…good

        1. I understand, but I disagree. It would be nice to have 6’10 and above gifted basketball players. But that is what Moore is! I expect that by November of 2018, that will be what Forrester will be. Race Thompson is a 6’8-9 gifted “banger”. Juwan Morgan is a 6’7-8 gifted frontcourt player with hops. I really like next season’s roster!

        2. Bomber – would you say basketball is trending towards more big bangers, or away from them and towards a more skill, shooting, athletic wing type game?

          1. Might be trending toward the latter, but I can’t get enough of watching Cousins and Davis on the Pelicans…..

            Wings belong on birds and menstrual pads.

            The 3-pt. line continues to influence the game more than anything else. Easy points….even for bigs who are parking beyond the arc more and more. If it was around during Wilt Chamberlain’s heyday, ‘The Stilt” would have taken more 3-pt shots than women he lured to his waterbed mirror cube.

            Hoosiers will suffer without true perimeter threats.

          2. They depending on what you emphasize can be recruited i get it be able to switch all pick and rolls like golden state great but just look at the title game gonzaga and unc had front court players his brother at arizona usually has atleast 3 guys 6’9 or taller on his squad

  1. Talented size is a rare commodity. Especially in the 2018 recruiting class. On top of that morgan and Davis will be senior and a junior and that’s a tough sell for playing time. Although I agree there is need for the 4 and 5 spot it’s not an easy spot to fill. With 347 division 1 teams many
    times you see a 4 play the 5.
    With only having 13 available scholarships available, 8 of the scholarships are filled with 6-6 or bigger. In all actuality top notch guard play is what we need. Crean went from guard crazy to arguably having the best stretch of 4 and 5’s in the number of years he was at IU. Seller, Vonleh, and Bryant were all-American bigs. Basketball is becoming postionless and a 7-8 man rotation. I’m sure Miller has a plan.

  2. Vonleh was not a dominant inside player….Thomas Bryant was all over the curve and demonstrated a level of immaturity(in emotion and skill sets) that one would never see in a premier post player at places like UK, Duke, or UNC.
    Zeller was over-hyped. He was the guy that was going to bring banners. Speed, length, and tenacity on a Syracuse team unveiled all the overkill. The only thing ‘Seller’ really brought was more extensions for a subpar coach who should have been bumbling around at a place like Ball State …or Fort Wayne.

    I don’t care if we average 6-5 in our front court. The skill sets will be higher under Miller. The controlled speed will be as different as night and day. The defense will actually be expected rather than an afterthought or a process. The communication will be better. The rotation patterns won’t sabotage the product via simply putting “chosen one” NBA diamonds in the rough needed as the only highlight on a Crean resume.

    Archie will do the most with what’s left. But we really can’t judge the product until he has all his own recruits….Hopefully, Archie can restore some of the statewide Indiana recruiting channels/relationships that were decimated under Crean.

    1. I never said the bigs were developed very well under Crean, but he definitely had some of the better potential bigs. Indiana really hasn’t had many “true” talented centers. Zeller or Seller (thanks to my auto correct and lack of an edit option) was really a power forward. Most big men in the NCAA are power forwards, but play the 5 as default. Recruiting big men just because they are tall is ridiculous (see: Jobe, April, Priller, Jurkin, Bawa). Vonleh had A LOT of potential. Had he stayed 4 years he would of been a top 3 All time IU rebounder. Seller (lol) would of probably won a banner had him and Oladipo stayed, but they didn’t. One thing I will say about Tom Crean that was probably his greatest accomplishment was sending kids to the NBA In 2-3 years WITH A DIPLOMA. Ive noticed Indiana fans are a little behind the times and old school when it comes to current day NCAA culture. Like it or not, leaving college for the NBA is the 100% correct choice. No ands ifs or buts and any other thoughts about it are just fans being selfish. “According to the U.S. Department of Education. In 2012, the nationwide average salary for young adults with a bachelor’s degree was about $47,000”. “Rookie or not, no player in the NBA makes less than $490,180 per season. Many rookies make more, depending on their positions in the draft. The earlier they are taken in the draft, the higher the salary for their rookie seasons, according to a set scale, will be.” 3 years in the NBA equals 10 years in the real world on average…and you can always go back to school. Another misconception by iu fans is that an ATHLETIC scholarship is a 4 year deal…an ATHLETIC scholarship is renewable yearly. IU fans need to get that through their head. Times have changed. Coaches don’t make big bucks to loose. Fan bases can’t complain that their team isn’t successful but still want a Grant Gelon to have a free 4 year ride. Think about it. The days of Robbie Eggers are virtually over (priller squeeked by). Another misconception by IU fans is we need to get every play from Indiana. Not true. This is not true. We need to do VERY well recruiting the best talent in the state there is no doubt about that, but guys like Isaiah Thomas (Illinois), Quinn Buckner (Illinois ), Scott May (Ohio), Eric Anderson (Illinois), AJ Guyton (illinois), Kirk Haston (Tennessee), Kyle Hornsby (Tennessee), Dane Fife (Michigan) played significant roles in IU success without being from Indiana. Stealing recruits from other states (especially in big ten country) can be just as valuable as keeping kids in state because you weaken your competition. Also, as a fan, please be open minded about alternate uniforms. I absolutely love the indiana uniform, but I can see where young talent may want to wear something more stylish. I personally own complete home and away along with warm up apparel, but just be open minded. We as a fan base are stuck in 1993 and it’s honestly time to move on. I know we all want to raise a 6th banner in candy stripes and graduate all our 4 or 5 year seniors, but times they are a changin’.

      1. I would normally give them all that pass, but they came in the backdrop of witch hunts and all of Crean’s “It’s Indiana” BS. They had their little private press conferences in tiny Washington H.S. gymnasium….and the “Hoosier Rising” videos…and Zellerpalooza.
        BACK IT UP….or shut up. I don’t care if they all got two degrees. Indiana University Basketball had zero Elite appearances during the last nine years of ridiculous blow and hype. Nine other Midwestern programs went to a collective 23 Elite Eights ….and many Final Fours.
        A handful will have their NBA riches but they have nothing to their names regarding the pretenses and the implied mission to take Indiana far beyond a Sweet 16.
        They could have been Indiana legends….Instead, they fell miserably short of the mission statements and hype. They legitimized the buffoon image Crean will never shed. There was more passion to chase around Jeff Meyer and Bobby Knight than to bring a banner back home to Indiana.

        1. Kids these days are divas and that’s part of the changing landscape. Not my choice, but it’s a reality. You either adapt to the reality or you don’t compete. I personally never liked the Tom Crean hire at all. Tried to support it, but just couldn’t buy in. The man added fuel to a burning fire. You are 100% correct about that Harvard. Sampson was no where near as bad if you really look at the facts, but not everything Crean did was the apocalypse. It’s hard to please the old school iu fan base. Weather you like it or not IU fans genuinely care that players have a degree and I personally love that. I know your a big Knight supporter and I respect that as well, but times are changing. Being an Indiana legend is great and all but it’s all about money. Everything is. Had Zeller come back for his Junior year and got hurt would it pay the same? Would being the kid took iu to the elite 8 pay the same as the #4 pick in the draft? No it wouldn’t and that’s probably why he was the valedictorian of his class. I got Damon baileys autograph at the milk barn in Anderson Indiana…he took iu to the final 4…im sure being an NBA draft pick would of paid more than the milk barn gig.

          1. Weather you like it or not IU fans genuinely care that players have a degree

            Never liked the weather under Crean…..Too, too cold.

          2. I do recall a lot of reunion parties at Assembly Hall over the last nine seasons….40 year anniversary of the undefeated ’75 team….40 year anniversary reunion of the ’76 national championship…35 year reunion of the ’81 national championship team…25 year anniversary of the ’87 national championship team. Am I missing any? Sure was a lot of effort spent staring at a lot of old gray Hoosier dinosaurs who made the brand allowing for the modern “diva” strut.

            I take it all back ….Crean’s recruits were always part of national championship celebrations. They just won’t be part of any in thirty years. Maybe in 2045 Cody’s bank will have a 30 year reunion party for his first 20 million dollar deposit. Two farts in his recliner will be in attendance.

          3. There is a very high cost in entering the NBA early. The cost is in college experiences you’ll never get back. The cost is stunting maturity and turning yourself into a commodity rather than an individual. The cost is having everything before you’ve experienced anything. The cost is a callous dunk into a callous world where hearts are never broken. You have it all. At 19-years-old, you already believe you’ve earned it all. Nothing better than cold green cash….All the fires the green shall smother on the mysteries you once stood. Every game becomes a scrimmage at a port for fattened kings rather than the joy of crossing an ocean of unknowns with one jersey to sail on a ship of brotherhood.

            The money talks a big talk…but it really is the anchor to young man’s heart. Throw it at target like a dart to kill the end of a race before it can barely start. Own the passions of the naive. Own them with the money like the cufflinks on your sleeve. Own the end of all failures and all suffering long before any zest and refinements meet payoffs born of a palette in many colors.
            You never made the game into art. You never took your teammates to the finish line sold on all the reasons you came to the start. You never found the final turn in a race to a title because it failed to meet the volumes of cash and greed tattooed on your #1 heart. You are an Elvis on felt. You never owned the game…It merely owned you.

  3. To me, major difference will be the energy and talent channeled into the Archie Way image….something that was lacking because the play and program would go every which way without focus, direction, and discipline. IU men’s basketball was an ADHD program that either did not take its med school or when it did, would OD and get wild and crazy.

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