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Indiana Moves Into Class of 2018 Top 10 as “Inside-Out” Strategy Works to Perfection

Admittedly, it sounded a little cliche when he said back in April of 2017.  It may have even been the same or similar to an expression used by Tom Crean when he was hired.

It is common sense when you think about.  As the head coach at Indiana University, recruiting starts in-state, and the failure to do so may have been what got Tom Crean fired.

This is what Archie Miller said last year on the topic:

“And they must feel like they are being dominated by Indiana University”.  “If we want them, we should have a great chance of getting them because of the commitment level that we are putting forth 24 hours a day at home”.

You can watch his full statement here:

It’s another cliche, but actions speak louder than words.  And the actions of the last six Indiana Mr. Basketball winners said they didn’t want to stay in-state.  No player that donned the number one jersey in the Indiana/Kentucky All-Star games had gone on to play at IU since Cody Zeller.  Truth be told, very few of any of the guys wearing those Indiana All-Star jerseys were coming to play in Bloomington.

Archie Miller just completed his first recruiting class as the head coach of Indiana — and the actions have spoken loud and clear.  This 2018 class is an unmitigated success.  If this is the model that Miller was speaking of from that podium last year then one thing is clear — IU basketball has a very bright future.

Take a look at the top ranked class of 2018 players from the state of Indiana according to the 247 Sports composite:

via 247 Sports

Three of the top four in the state of Indiana in year one is unreal when you consider how little time Miller and his staff had to build the relationships and scorch the Indiana earth.  It is even fair to argue that IU got the top three in the state when you consider that Tyger Campbell is a Tennessee kid that transferred in to play at La Lumiere.  The flip side there however is that La Lumiere produces great talent every year, and IU needs to do better.  See Isaiah Stewart as exhibit A.

What is even more impressive is where in Indiana these 2018 in-state commits hail from.  Anderson and Phinisee are from virtual IU basketball recruiting black holes in South Bend and Lafayette, respectively.  Even Langford is from an area that is just as much pro-Louisville and even Kentucky as it is Indiana.

And yes we realize that the Hoosiers may have benefited from the Rick Pitino firing at Louisville as it relates to Langford.  You have to catch a few breaks along the way.  But that is ancient history now.  Langford will wear the candy stripes this year, and the hearts and minds in Southern Indiana are already changing.

To be clear, this whole “inside out” in-state initiative is not some silly tribal instinct to have Indiana kids play for IU.  That mindset would be fatal for a school like Kentucky.  It just so happens that the state of Indiana produces the most per-capita NBA talent in the country, save for a couple one-off outliers.  Why wouldn’t you focus on it?

If you aren’t convinced, the results for the class of 2018 are in, and the Hoosiers are in the Top 10:

via 247 Sports

This is the model.  Indiana can consistently produce Top 10 recruiting classes by securing the state’s top talent and supplementing it with other regional players.  It doesn’t guarantee championships, but it does guarantee being in the championship conversation, which is really all you can ask for.

The other more subtle thing accomplished via “inside out” is the marginalization of our competition.  For every in-state star that comes to IU, that means one less at Kentucky, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, and the rest of the outlaws who have gotten more than a bit too comfortable within the friendly confines of the Hoosier State.

We’d be remiss to not highlight two points.  First, Archie Miller didn’t do this alone.  Virtually every top recruit that discusses why Indiana is in the mix mentions assistant coach Ed Schilling.  Miller certainly knew what he was doing with that hire, and the benefits are paying off in droves.  Schilling is one highly respected guy.

Second, all of this is merely on paper.  Recruiting is a guarantee of nothing.  Now Miller, Schilling, and the rest of the coaches and players have to start winning.  If not, inside-out could once again be on its way out.

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