Indiana basketball top recruits: Post-2010 had a lot of Hoosier hits – but they left
Tom Crean lost his job as the Indiana University men’s basketball coach for a number of reasons, but the inability to recruit top-level players was not one of them.
Crean restored the Hoosier program from its lowest moments by signing a number of players that ultimately wound up in the NBA.
“Tom Crean brought us through one of the most challenging periods in IU basketball history,” Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in March of 2017 upon firing Crean. “He led his players to many successes in the classroom and on the court and represented our university with class and integrity.
“While winning two outright Big Ten titles in five years and being named Big Ten Coach of the Year, Tom worked tirelessly to develop great young men and successful teams. However, ultimately, we seek more consistent, high levels of success, and we will not shy away from our expectations.”
With the Hoosiers seeking to finalize their 2018 recruiting class Monday with the (hopeful) signing of New Albany High School standout Romeo Langford, News-Sentinel.com college basketball reporter Tom Davis will take a daily look at the top 10 Indiana recruits of each decade (in no particular order).
Today’s Hoosier recruiting list: 2010 to present
Coming Tuesday: 2000 to 2009
Crean signed the three-star athlete out of the Washington, D.C.-area in the fall of 2010 and he made himself into an eventual NBA All-Star after three seasons in Bloomington.
The 6-foot-4 guard was a bit offensively challenged early in his career (he averaged less than eight points per game as a freshman), but by the time he turned pro in 2013, Oladipo was the National Player of the Year due to his phenomenal defensive ability and enough offensive ability to hurt an opponent.
He led the Big Ten in field goal percentage as a senior and shot nearly 60 percent for the season.
Oladipo was the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by Orlando.
The former Indiana Mr. Basketball was a heralded signee for Crean in the 2011 class and he didn’t disappoint.
The 6-foot-11 post started all 72 games of his career in his two seasons in Bloomington and averaged 16 points per game over the two seasons.
Zeller blocked 87 shots in 72 games and averaged nearly eight rebounds per game for his career.
He was an All-Big Ten performer (Freshman of the Year in 2012) and earned Second Team All-America honors.
Zeller was the fourth overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft by Charlotte.
The 6-foot-5 guard wasn’t spectacular in his collegiate years, but he was certainly solid.
He gradually improved over his four seasons from less than five points per game as a freshman to almost 12 points per game as a senior.
He was named as the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year as a junior and started all 31 games as a senior.
The Park Tudor High School star was one of the most heralded point guards in the country as a senior in high school and he showed throughout his collegiate career as to why.
The 6-foot athlete started every one of the 137 games in which he played at Indiana and graduated as the Hoosiers’ all-time assist leader and sixth overall scorer.
He averaged nearly eight points and over four assists per game as a freshman and increased those numbers to over 17 and nearly four as a sophomore.
Ferrell averaged 17 points and five assists per game over his final two seasons and was a First Team All-Big Ten selection as a senior and Second Team All-American.
He shot just a touch under 40 percent from 3-point range for his career and finished with 633 assists and 312 turnovers.
Ferrell went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft but has found his niche with the Dallas Mavericks and just competed in his second season.
Crean was able to sign some of the nation’s most sought-after recruits and one can argue the merit in that.
Vonleh fit that description.
The 6-foot-9 forward spent just 30 games with the Hoosiers (starting 29) before turning pro and being selected by Charlotte in the 2016 NBA Draft with the ninth overall pick.
Vonleh averaged nearly 12 points and nine rebounds in his lone season at Indiana and blocked 41 shots in 30 games.
He was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2016 and named Third Team All-Big Ten.
JAMES BLACKMON JR.
The Fort Wayne native committed early to the Hoosiers and had a very nice career.
Blackmon Jr. averaged over 15 points and five boards per game as a freshman and shot nearly 39 percent from 3-point range.
He started 75 of the 76 games in his career and was the sixth-best scorer among freshman in the country.
He was doing much the same as a sophomore until injuring his knee mid-season after 13 games.
He came back and averaged 17 points per game and five rebounds while shooting over 43 percent from 3-point range as a junior.
He elected not to return this past season for his final year of eligibility but was not selected in the NBA Draft.
He spent this past season playing the NBA G-League.
The 6-foot-7 forward was another early departure from the Hoosier program but has had marginal NBA success.
While with the Hoosiers, Williams blossomed from a seven-point per game freshman into a 13 point and seven rebound performer as a sophomore.
Williams started 94 of 99 games in his three seasons with the program and closed his career by averaging 13 points and five boards while shooting over 52 percent for his career.
He was a Third Team All-Big Ten selection as a junior before turning pro and not being drafted.
Johnson graduated this spring after having just a really good college career.
The shooter 118 times in 129 career games and finished as the 21st all-time leading scorer in Indiana history.
After averaging eight points per game as a freshman and sophomore, Johnson increased that production to 12 and 14, respectively in his final two seasons.
He was an honorable mention selection this past season and first-year Indiana coach Archie Miller often praised Johnson for his leadership and ability to defend the opposition’s most difficult offensive player.
Johnson made 239 3-pointers in his career and connected at nearly 39 percent.
Life Johnson, Morgan was a centerpiece to Miller’s first team in Bloomington and played very, very well this year.
The 6-foot-8 athlete started 50 games over the past two seasons as he has emerged from nowhere to somewhere.
After averaging just two points per game with no starts as a freshman, Morgan was one of the nation’s top players – at both ends of the floor – this past season.
He averaged 17 points and seven rebounds and was named Second Team All-Big Ten after having to defend post players over the Big Ten season due to an injury to Hoosier center De’Ron Davis.
Yet another of Crean’s top recruits, but they didn’t stay in Bloomington, so you can argue how valuable they really were.
The 6-foot-10 post player was very good through two seasons before turning pro and being chosen in the second round by Los Angeles.
Bryant was a two-time Third Team All-Big Ten selection and started all 69 games in his career.
He finished his career by averaging 12 points and six rebounds per game and blocked 84 shots.
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