Class of 2024 wing Kanon Catchings got a chance to briefly meet IU head coach Mike Woodson a couple weeks ago at the program’s team camp in Bloomington.
He’s coming back this week for an unofficial visit.
“He’s cool,” Catchings said of his initial brief impression of Woodson when we caught up with him briefly on Saturday following the IBCA top-100 camp.
“I’ll meet him more this week. I’m excited to get back out there on Wednesday.”
Catchings was performing on Saturday at his home school — Brownsburg H.S. in the northwest Indianapolis suburbs. As a sophomore at Brownsburg, he averaged 11.6 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 42 percent from 3-point range.
The 6-foot-7 and likely still growing Catchings is taking the opportunity this summer to visit multiple high major programs. He’ll be at Illinois on Monday before coming to IU, and he’s already been to Purdue.
Catchings’ combination of great length and perimeter ability has the attention of IU, Purdue, Illinois, Xavier, Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and others, he said. He wants to learn how those programs are going to help him reach his immense potential.
“How they are going to develop me into a better player, get me stronger, and make me the player that I want to be in a few years,” Catchings said of what he’s focused on when he is taking visits.
Who does he want to be?
“I want to be stronger, hopefully I grow more, which I think I will. I’d say players I look up to are Jabari Smith, Jr., Kevin Durant, Andrew Wiggins, players like that,” he said.
At the IU team camp, Catchings was a menace on the defensive end for the Bulldogs, using his size and plus-wingspan to block shots, and get steals and deflections. His high school coach Steve Lynch, who worked for 13 seasons under IU legend Steve Alford, has helped him buy-in on that end of the floor.
“You can’t win without defense,” Catchings said. “Coach Lynch takes defense pretty seriously. If you can’t play defense you won’t play.”
Part of what makes Catchings’ potential so fascinating is his elite bloodlines. His aunt is former Tennessee and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings, his grandfather former NBA player Harvey Catchings, and his mother Tauja played at the University of Illinois.
Although the Illini matter in his recruitment and he’ll be there on Monday, Kanon was born and raised in Indiana, and he said he didn’t really grow up an Illinois fan.
His mother is encouraging him to forge his own path.
“She said it’s my decision,” he said of his mother’s influence on his recruitment.
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