Sunday, October 31, 2010
Updated: November 2, 8:28 AM ET
Indiana creating Elite pipeline
By Dave Telep
Most programs, especially those who recruit regionally, typically have a feeder program it can count on to provide a player or two each year. The Atlanta Celtics support Georgia Tech, Duke and Kansas State plucked their share from D.C. Assault, and UCLA mines talent from Pump 'n Run. Last year, Ohio State signed four players from All-Ohio Red.
But those all take a backseat to the pipeline Tom Crean and Indiana are building with the Indiana Elite. Even under Bobby Knight, the Hoosier has an AAU farm team, but nothing like this. On Sunday, junior Hanner Perea (LaPorte, Ind./La Lumiere) committed to the Hoosiers. By the time he enrolls at Indiana in the fall of 2012, he'll be at least the eighth member of the Indiana Elite program to lace them up for the Hoosiers under Crean's watch.
"Back in the day when Knight had it going, it was Bloomington Red (feeding the program)," Indiana Elite coach Mark Adams said. "Indiana kids used to want to stay in Indiana and that feeling left. Now I think Coach Crean has turned it around the kids want to stay."
Indiana Elite's relationship is so strong with the Hoosiers that in addition to Perea, traveling teammates Peter Jurkin (Charlotte, N.C./United Faith) and Ron Patterson (Indianapolis/Broad Ripple) are also committed juniors.
"When you're the best summer program in the state and the best college in the state, I guess that goes hand in hand," Adams said.
But wait, there's more. IU's top 2011 target is Cody Zeller (Washington, Ind./Washington) and guess who he plays summer ball for? That's correct, he's a teammate of future Hoosier Austin Etherington (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights); both started for Indiana Elite last season.
It's possible IU's entire 2012 recruiting class will consist entirely of Indiana Elite players. Kevin Ferrell (Greenfield, Ind./Park Tudor) is a point guard and major target. If he picks Indiana, he'll succeed Jordan Hulls, an Indiana Elite alum, at the position.
In case you're wondering, Indiana Elite is a winning machine. Since 2008, when the pipeline essentially began with guard Matt Roth, the program has been regarded among the best in the country. The program -- three age groups included -- boasts wins from major events like the Tournament of Champions, Hensley Memorial, adidas May Classic, Super 64, Kentucky Hoopfest and adidas It Takes 5.
Indiana signed most of the guys it wanted from the team but that's not to say they didn't miss a few along like way. Two of the three Plumlee brothers -- Mason and Marshall -- ran with Indiana Elite (Miles played with Blessed IGN) and every one of the brothers picked Duke. Tyler Zeller skipped out of state and is now starting for North Carolina.
The Hoosiers ties with Indiana Elite run in the family. Adams is the coach of the squad and his son Drew is a former Elite coach and current video coordinator under Crean. Mike Barnett is on the board of directors for Indiana Elite and his son Kory is a walk-on forward for the Hoosiers. Remember that Bloomington Red team that fed Knight's IU program? Well, one of the coaches was Criss Beyers who is a board member for the Indiana Elite squad. Bob Pryor, the former head coach of Bloomington Red, skippers one of Indiana Elite's younger teams.
Perea hails from Choco, Colombia, and his circle of friends revolves around Elite's program. It surprised no one when he picked the Hoosiers over Baylor. He's an athletic specimen who finishes everything around the rim.
"I've been around IU and I know a lot about it," Perea said. "I like the coach and the players. We all know each other and if we go to the same college we're going to be great."
No one knows how many games this group is going to win together but chemistry certainly won't be an issue.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.