On the afternoon of Halloween this past Wednesday, reports started to come out that Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers are no longer recruiting 2013 big man BeeJay Anya.
The 6’8 270-pounder from Maryland has been thought of throughout the past year or two as the final and very vital piece of the 2013 IU recruiting class. Somebody needs to fill the shoes of Cody Zeller once the Player of the Year candidate (most likely) leaves for the draft after his sophomore season.
To me, the most disappointing aspect of this situation is that IU is letting down Anya, who’s a very good, well-rounded kid. Since the news broke that IU is out on him, he’s expressed lots of disappointment on his Twitter account.
But you have to remember that college basketball, like all other major sports in our country, is indeed a business, and some decisions will be unpopular. With IU climbing back up the ranks of the sport, situations like this are going to become the new normal. It will begin to happen time and time again.
From a basketball standpoint, the Hoosiers’ future isn’t any less bright. There are many reasons for Hoosier Nation to still be just as optimistic as they were when they woke up yesterday thinking Anya would likely be in an IU uniform next November.
The Hoosiers will be deep next year even if Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo, and Will Sheehey are all gone, which of course is not likely to happen. I’d expect at least two of those guys (Oladipo and Sheehey) to be leading the 2013-2014 Hoosiers. But, specifically, the team will have a lot of big men even without Anya.
If Cody Zeller is back for his junior season, there are no worries for the team in the paint. That’s a given. But let’s say he’s not … the team will still have Peter Jurkin and Hanner Perea (barring eligibility issues), who will have a year of experience learning from the coaching staff and Zeller under their belt, to go a long with the 6’10 Wisconsin native Luke Fischer, a 3-star recruit who will join the Hoosiers next season.
So on paper, there will be enough big men. And we haven’t even discussed the main reason IU pulled out on BeeJay Anya: the 7th overall ranked 2013 recruit Noah Vonleh.
Vonleh is rumored to be leaning toward choosing the Hoosiers since he reclassified from the 2014 class to 2013. He’s a 6’9 forward with as much athleticism as you’ll find in a youngster who can do it all on the basketball court.
Like we already laid out, the Hoosiers would be fine even if they don’t land Vonleh. Heck, they may even go after someone else … a backup recruit, if you will.
The moral of the story is this: the Hoosiers have plenty of talent for the upcoming seasons. In addition to the big men we’ve mentioned, they’ll still have the likes of Remy Abell, Yogi Ferrell, Jeremy Hollowell, and possibly guys like Maurice Creek, Oladipo, and Sheehey.
Although hearing that IU is out on BeeJay Anya at first sounds like a negative, you have to look at it as a message – a message from Tom Crean that the program may have underestimated the recruits that will be coming to Bloomington.
After all, you’ve got to let go of a 48th ranked prospect like Anya when it’s looking like the #7 guy may be headed your way.
It’s the Bobby Capobianco effect. Well, kind of.
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