Illinois based point guard Jeremy Fears, Jr. has been on the Indiana radar for over a year, and the the long-term familiarity runs both ways.
Intrigued by the IU program, Fears, Jr. is planning to visit Bloomington on June 9 as part of three stops over the first nine days of the month as in person recruiting finally opens back up.
“We just like Indiana, just in general, just the brand, and the name and the program,” Fears, Jr.’s father Jeremy Fears, Sr. told The Daily Hoosier. “The Big Ten, it’s close to home, the atmosphere is electric, especially when they are having a ton of success, just the history behind it, the tradition and everything. To be honest we just kind of liked Indiana from the jump, even before they started recruiting us.”
Fears, Jr. had conversations with Archie Miller prior to the coaching change at IU, and the family has been reaching out to IU assistant coach Dane Fife since he arrived along with support staff who have remained a constant throughout. Relationships are important to Fears, Sr., and he has been impressed with Indiana’s approach.
“The communication that we’ve had has been great, and the way they believe in my son,” Fears, Sr. said. “We just looked at Indiana as a possible option in general, and then when coach Woodson got there, it was even sweeter.”
Both Fears, Jr. and Sr. have spoken to Mike Woodson since he became the new head coach in late March.
“Jeremy has spoken to Coach Woodson probably twice, and I’ve talked to him three times. It was a great conversation, he even knows about my son (Jeremiah) right after Jeremy,” Fears, Sr. said. “I love what he’s about and what he wants to do and the direction he wants to head in, so in the back of my mind I’m thinking Indiana could be a sweet option.”
Fears, Jr. would be a sweet recruiting win for Woodson if he can land him. The class of 2023 rankings aren’t well developed to this point, but 247Sports has Fears, Jr. slotted in as the No. 23 overall player in the class and the No. 7 point guard. As it stands, Indiana is not scheduled to have point guard depth on its 2023-24 roster, meaning the position will be important in the 2023 class.
Fears, Jr. originally wanted to be committed by his junior year of high school, meaning by the end of this summer. But changes on the college basketball landscape have impacted his thinking. In essence, attractive roster projections like Indiana’s 2023 point guard situation aren’t as easy to predict anymore.
“Now with the transfer portal and all the rule changes, I don’t know if that’s (an early commitment) going to necessarily be the case right now. Rosters are probably going to change every year like crazy,” Fears, Sr. said.
Fears, Jr. is also visiting Illinois on June 1 and Auburn on June 4, and a trip to Gonzaga is also in the works. His 247Sports profile page says he has 16 offers, so these visits do seem to suggest some degree of early prioritizing of a large group of suitors that includes other high majors like Iowa, Maryland, Iowa State, Kansas State, Creighton, Missouri, Nebraska and Ole Miss.
Only just finishing his freshman season of basketball when the pandemic shut everything down, the visits will mark the first time Fears, Jr. has had a chance to see much in person or meet the coaching staffs who are recruiting him live. So what is he hoping to get out of these early visits?
“Just the visual,” Fears, Sr. said. “My son has never really been on a campus. He’s never had a chance to go in any facilities or anything. He has no visual of what anything looks like or what it is supposed to be like, or what the intensity feels like. So we just want to go and get a feel for the coaches, get a feel for the environment, the campus and the overall situation. That early relationship is very important to us.”
With awareness from each side the goes back a long way, and the world finally opening back up, the Indiana visit seems like something that is long overdue. And everyone involved is looking forward to June 9.
“Everybody is excited on both ends (the Fears family and IU) to meet and build the relationship,” Fears, Sr. said.
For more background on Fears, read our “Names to Know” profile from April.
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