Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

2022 Top-25 forward A.J. Casey continues to hear from Indiana as he turns focus to AAU and visits

Indiana has placed a heavy emphasis on the frontcourt with its offers in the class of 2022, and one of the first in the class to hear from the Hoosiers was Chicago product A.J. Casey.

Indiana offered Casey back in June of 2020, and since then assistant coach Kenya Hunter has transitioned to his primary point of contact.

Casey is a 4-star according to the 247Sports Composite.  In the class of 2022 he is currently ranked No. 21 nationally, the No. 5 power forward, and the No. 1 player in Illinois.  Although he hasn’t cut his list in any way, some of his top schools right now appear to be Illinois, Louisville, Michigan, Ohio State, Gonzaga, Indiana and Kansas.

The 6-foot-8 Casey hasn’t connected with new head Indiana coach Mike Woodson yet, but he is hearing from IU on a fairly regular basis.

“Coach Hunter, he hits me up every now and then.  They are definitely staying in contact with me,” Casey told The Daily Hoosier of his recent dialogue with IU.

When the opportunity comes to speak with Woodson, Casey sees value in his 25 years in the NBA as a coach.

“It tells me that he had that experience in the NBA, and he knows what it takes to get there,” Casey said of Woodson.  “That’s the big goal, to get to the NBA, so that definitely matters.”

Casey transferred to Whitney Young from Tinley Park for his junior season in Chicago.  He led Whitney Young to a 15-1 record while averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game while earning first-team all-state honors in Class 4A.

“My junior year went well,” Casey said.  “Even though we came up short in the big tournament, we were 15-1 so it doesn’t get much better than that.  But it was a weird season and we got to play, so that’s all that really matters.”

Casey has a complete game with the ability to score on the block, off the bounce and from the perimeter. Casey runs the floor well and protects the rim too. Basically, he has all of the tools that you would expect of a player in the top 25.

For AAU Casey plays for the Chicago based Meanstreets program on the Nike EYBL circuit where he is teammates with fellow IU target Jalen Washington.  While the pair is similar in size, they bring different strengths to the game.  Casey says he wouldn’t rule out continuing to play with Washington in college.

“I would definitely consider playing with Jalen,” Casey told The Daily Hoosier.  “He’s my boy, we’ve played since the seventh grade together.  I don’t see a problem with playing together in college.”

If the pair fit together at the next level it seems likely that Casey would be a hybrid three/four type while Washington is more of a hybrid four/five.  Casey said he wants to be able to show college coaches this spring and summer that he can be more than just a traditional power forward.

“I just want to show I’ve become better as an overall player,” Casey said. “I feel like have extended my shooting range and I am becoming more consistent with my shooting and my ball handling skills.”

Casey played well over the weekend in Louisville at the Grassroots Showcase, but more than anything, he was just happy to see high level competition again after seeing very little of it over the last year.

“It felt good.  The competition was great,” Casey said of facing EYBL teams over the last few weeks.  “The high intensity, it just felt good to be back out there.  Nothing compares to that competition level.”

The NCAA recently ruled that the recruiting dead period will end on June 1, and that means Casey and his family can hit the road and start to see some of his college options in person for the first time in more than a year.

“I want to get to as many schools as possible and get those official visits in,” Casey said.  “We are definitely going to get out to all of the schools.”

With the Indiana staff changes since the program first started to recruit him, it is reasonable to wonder if Casey still wants to be recruited by the Hoosiers.

“Definitely,” he said.  “I am giving all of the schools (that are recruiting him) serious consideration.  There are no leaders or anything like that right now.”

When will he start to narrow things down?

“I really don’t know right now,” Casey said.  “Once we start going to the college campuses, that’s when things will probably start getting cut and wrapped up.”


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