Consider what the Boilers and Hoosiers can do for short term fixes for next season. In other words, will they go after fifth-year senior transfer? Should they?
“You wait and see who's available, and then everybody jumps on those guys and tries to recruit them,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
“It's not like free agency. It is free agency.”
Purdue currently has two fifth-year senior transfers with forward Errick Peck and guard Sterling Carter. Indiana has one with Evan Gordon.
How has it worked out? Peck averages 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds. Carter averages 4.5 points and 1.2 rebounds. Carter is third on the team with 15 steals.
For IU, Gordon averages 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds. He also ranks third on the team with 15 steals.
“They're the most highly recruited guys in the country,” Painter said. “You're recruiting a guy who has a college degree, who has experience, who's 22 years old. He's not 18. He's been through some adversity and tough times.
“They've been like a band aid for some programs. I don't know where we'd be without Sterling and Eric. They've been great for us.”
Added Crean: “It worked out with Evan. We were over-signed by three and then, all of a sudden, we're under signed by one. It just happens.
“You'd better know where they're at. I don't have much of a clue right now. It doesn't mean you're recruiting somebody. It doesn't mean that you won't. You just have to know.”
That won't happen until the spring.
“You hope you don't have to use all the late-game plays that you have,” Crean said, “but you'd better have them. It's the same with recruiting. We don't have any plans (to sign a fifth-year player) right now. We don't have a board for that like we do for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. We'll see what happens.”
As far as the state of Purdue and Indiana recruiting, here's an update:
Purdue has a four-player freshman class coming in next season with center Isaac Haas (ranked No. 64 by Rivals.com), forward Vince Edwards (No. 122), guard Dakota Mathias (No. 141) and center Jacquil Taylor (not ranked). This class No. 28 nationally by Rivals.com, and third in the Big Ten behind No. 8 Ohio State and No. 16 Indiana.
The Boilers have two scholarships available.
IU's Class of 2014 consists of guards James Blackmon (ranked No. 23) and Robert Johnson (No. 42), and forward Max Hoetzel (not ranked).
With freshman center Luke Fischer transferring to Marquette, the Hoosiers could use another big guy to help freshman Noah Vonleh.
Yes, they currently have no scholarships available for next year, but things have a way of opening up.
They just do.
The only top high school big man in the Class of 2014 still available is 6-11 Myles Turner of Texas. He's rated No. 6 in the class and has scholarship offers from nearly every powerhouse program in the country, including IU. He's taken only one official visit so far, to Ohio State.
While a junior college player is an option, if the Hoosiers want a quality big man for next year, a fifth-year senior transfer might be the best option.
As far as overall recruiting, Purdue has targeted such 2015 prospects as East Chicago Central guard Hyron Edwards (ranked No. 86 nationally in the class), La Lumiere School (out of LaPorte, Ind.) guard Jalen Coleman (No. 34) and Gary forward Davon Dillard (No. 112). A top Class of 2016 prospect is Indianapolis North Central guard Eron Gordon (ranked No. 32 nationally).
In the Class of 2015, IU is recruiting Edwards and Coleman, along with Las Vegas 7-foot center Stephen Zimmerman, rated the No. 2 prospect nationally, plus Las Vegas forward Chase Jeter (No. 21). In the Class of 2016 the Hoosiers are targeting guard Gordon, California 6-9 forward T.J. Leaf (No. 27) and Georgia 7-foot center Doral Moore (No. 38).
Meanwhile, Purdue and Indiana are both 10-5 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten. The Boilers host Nebraska on Sunday. The Hoosiers play at Penn State on Saturday.
As far as what both teams need to do to bounce back from the slow conference starts, Painter could have been speaking for Crean as well when he said, “We have a young group and we need to start showing some basketball maturity.”
Recruiting, you see, can only do so much.