Length and athleticism on the wings has proven to be an early point of emphasis for IU head coach Mike Woodson.
Above all, the Hoosiers head coach values those attributes for the way they allow him to play on the defensive end.
Georgia based 6-foot-4 class of 2025 guard Akai Fleming has known IU assistant coach Yasir Rosemond since doing workouts with him before he joined the IU staff.
When Rosemond circled back and watch Fleming this spring and summer, it was his play on the defensive end that led IU to offer.
“They (Indiana) like that I play defense, that I play both ends of the court, I can shoot the three, and I make winning plays,” Fleming told The Daily Hoosier after an Adidas 3SSB game in High Point, S.C. last week. “Really defense, that’s what I’m big on.”
It isn’t common for players as young as Fleming to place such an emphasis on defense. What makes it so important to him?
“Defense wins games, and it wins championships,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to play defense to make it to the next level.”
But make no mistake, Fleming is a two-way player. On the offensive end he makes jumpers from the mid-range and three, is difficult to stay in front of off the bounce, and Fleming is a crafty and athletic finisher at the rim.
Fleming, who hails from the Powder Springs, Georgia area, said he knows Indiana is a good school and basketball program, but he doesn’t know much else about them as this this point. Just a rising sophomore, Fleming has a long way to go before he really starts digging deep into his recruitment.
“I’m really just focused on my game right now, and trying to get better,” he said.
So far, Alabama, Kansas State and Kennesaw State have joined IU with early offers for the Osborne H.S. and Atlanta Celtics AAU product. Although he isn’t really thinking much about recruiting right now, Fleming has some early thoughts on what factors will matter when the time comes to pick a school.
“I look at how they run plays, their system, and the school, and what I can major in,” he said.
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