Stanford Robinson didn’t have time for questions or celebrating. Never mind that he and his Findlay Prep (Nev.) teammates had just knocked off Montverde (Fla.) in dramatic fashion during Monday’s Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. The former Paul VI star had one thing on his mind.
“I’ve got to go talk to (Indiana) Coach (Tom) Crean,” the senior guard said to reporters and tournament officials as he made a beeline to his future coach waiting down the hallway.
The scene paints a picture that’s become familiar within the recruiting ranks of late — Indiana’s pipeline within the D.C. area has quickly grown in step with the Hoosiers’ return to prominence. Along with Robinson, who committed to Indiana last May, there’s current Hoosier and DeMatha alum Victor Oladipo as well as sophomore prospects in Paul VI forward Marcus Derrickson and Gonzaga guard Bryant Crawford – both of whom have already drawn offers from Crean.
So what makes for Crean’s affinity for DMV basketball talent?
“There’s a year-round toughness there that doesn’t just come up in big games, but shows up in players whenever they step on the court” Crean told me during a conversation at the Hoophall Classic. “Not only are there ongoing camps and clinics, but those guys are well-coached. The type of talent that comes out of that area is just unbelievable.”
Crean went on to cite Oladipo as someone who embodies the toughness and potential lying within many of the region’s players. That’s why the Hoosiers coach makes a point to visit the area any time his schedule allows, as was the case last month when he and his entire staff attended the Team Takeover Hoops Festival at DeMatha.
It also doesn’t hurt that former Team Takeover assistant coach Kenny Johnson is now on the Indiana coaching staff. All of the players mentioned in this post, along with current Hoosier Maurice Creek have Takeover ties, and there’s plenty more on Indiana’s radar.
I often have people ask me why the local colleges have recently failed to land much of the talent in their own backyard. Well, it’s certainly not due to a lack of effort. AAU affiliations mean a lot more than they did 10 or 20 years ago, so if you mix a well-connected assistant like Johnson with an Indiana program that held the No. 1 ranking at times this season, the result is a strong pipeline.
And that doesn’t stop with top-ranked recruits. Good Counsel senior guard Andrew Calomeris was offered — and accepted — a walk-on spot by the Hoosiers despite being sidelined with injuries during key recruiting periods last summer. Check back here later for a Q&A with Calomeris by fellow Post sports reporter Eric Detweiler.
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