Recruits are ready to sign at IU, Purdue

Ex-Luers star Blackmon set to join Hoosiers.

No, the sky isn’t falling just because Purdue isn’t set to get an in-state basketball recruit for the Class of 2014.

The Boilers have commitments from a pair of Ohio players, 6-foot-7 forward Vince Edwards and 6-foot-4 guard Dakota Mathies, plus Massachusetts center Jacquil Taylor. Edwards is rated as the class’s No. 122 prospect by Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service. Mathies is No. 141. The 6-foot-9, 215-pound Taylor is not rated.

Wednesday is the start of the November early signing period. Coaches can’t comment on recruits until they have received their national letter of intent.

Yes, the Boilers missed out on such heralded in-state prospects as No. 8 Trey Lyles (Kentucky), No. 22 Jaquan Lyle (undecided), No. 23 James Blackmon (Indiana) and No. 45 Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), but coach Matt Painter has more than held his own with in-state players over the years.

“You need to be consumed with the people you sign, and not those you didn’t sign,” Painter said. “That’s a very important piece in the process. If you always look at it like, if we had gotten this guy or that guy – you can’t do that.

“It’s brought back to you by the media. They’re just doing their jobs because they like trading baseball cards. They like figuring things out – what would have happened if he had come. That’s hypothetical. That’s not the real world. You have to stay in the now and be consumed with what you have and not what you don’t have.”

For the record, 12 of Purdue’s 15 roster players are from the state of Indiana. Two are from Fort Wayne – freshman Bryson Scott and sophomore Rapheal Davis. Both have key roles.

Also for the record, 10 Boilers are freshmen or sophomores, and that kind of youth can turn off prospects seeking playing-time opportunities. Most of Purdue’s players, such as Scott, Davis, Terone Johnson, Ronnie Johnson and A.J. Hammons, were highly rated coming out of high school.

Indiana, meanwhile, has one in-state commitment in the sharp-shooting Blackmon, the former Bishop Luers standout who is finishing his high school career in Marion. The Hoosiers also have commitments from 6-foot-7 forward Max Hoetzel of Massachusetts and 6-foot-3 guard Robert Johnson of Virginia. Johnson is rated No. 42 in the class. Hoetzel is not rated.

All three players can shoot – a skill coach Tom Crean made a top priority.

The IU class is rated No. 19 nationally by Scout.com, another national Internet recruiting service. It’s No. 3 in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (No. 3 nationally) and Illinois (No. 18 nationally).

Another recruiting possibility is Evansville’s Lyle, who has IU among his favorites along with Memphis and Connecticut. He had de-committed from Louisville, and the Cardinals are still in the mix. He might not sign until spring.

Recruiting has changed over the years, and one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century, Painter said, is the advance of technology and recruit exposure.

“It’s the attention that the actual recruiting gets,” he said. “There are people now who just cover recruiting. That’s it. And it’s across the country. Whether it’s the Internet or newspapers or another publication, that’s their job.

“There used to be just a handful of people across the country who did it as national guys. Maybe a couple local guys who sent out news letters in each state. Now there’s so much attention. That’s the biggest change.”

That attention, Painter added, is not always good.

“Too many kids, and the people around them, are consumed with their recruitment,” he said. “Not enough are consumed with the opportunity they have to get an education and how this will help in the real world.

“If I had a dollar for every time someone told me this kid will be a pro, I’d be a millionaire. Somebody is 15 and he gets told, you’re going to play 10 years in the NBA. He doesn’t have his driver’s license yet. How is that kid supposed to react? He might believe it. Then he shows up on a college campus and realizes there are a lot of good players at that school and in that conference.

“I’m not talking about the exceptions like the Dwight Howards and Tracy McGradys who can jump right to the NBA. I’m talking about the other 99 percent. It’s a tough thing for a kid. It can be a recipe for disaster.”

Disaster can include a sense of entitlement and ego. Commitments don’t always guarantee a player comes to your school.

“You’ve got to recruit them, and then you almost have to re-recruit them,” Painter said. “They have to know they’re lucky to be at this institution and have this opportunity. The school isn’t lucky to have them.

“Every blue moon there’s a reverse of that and after four years you see what that kid did for the school, and maybe the school is lucky.”

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio on Twitter at pdiprimio.


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