Recruiting roundup: IU basketball news and notes from the first live period

For the first time in a long time, college coaches were able to travel to watch prospects in person over the weekend.

There were multiple events around the country, including action in Indianapolis, Orlando and Atlanta that IU coaches made their way to.

Below is a recap of some of the noteworthy reports pertaining to IU targets.

For a complete summary of Indiana’s 2023 through 2025 commits and prospects, GO HERE.

2023 5-star Kwame Evans, Jr. on Mike Woodson

As previously reported, class of 2023 Baltimore native and Montverde Academy product Kwame Evans, Jr. has narrowed his list two five schools — Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Auburn and UCLA.

Evans spoke with ZagsBlog over the weekend about his development and each of his remaining suitors, and the 6-foot-10 forward made an interesting comment about the message he is getting from IU.

“The system that they run for Trayce Jackson up there, it’s an NBA system. A lot of scouts go through there. Coach (Mike) Woodson, he can help a lot of people get to the league.”

Woodson’s time in the NBA is well documented, but Evans provides an interesting insight into a unique way the Indiana head coach is able to leverage that experience.  Does more NBA contacts mean more NBA eyeballs on the program?

Arrinten Page continues to emerge

You can always expect a wave of scholarship offers once the IU staff is able to see players in person, but they were a bit in front of the pack when they offered Georgia-based forward Arrinten Page last weekend following a breakout performance at the Team USA junior national minicamp in New Orleans.

On3’s Joe Tipton watched Page play with The Skills Factory down in Orlando at the Nike EYBL event, and had this to say about the 6-foot-9 bruiser.

“You can tell the big man is just starting to scratch the surface. He’s physically college-ready, has good hands, can catch and finish lobs, and has a nice touch around the rim. In the game I watched, Page finished with 17 points (7-11 FG) and seven rebounds.

Page is one of those dudes that’s criminally underrated, and many college coaches will regret not offering him.”

For what it’s worth, Indiana will go down as Page’s first high major offer.  Already others have followed including Georgia and Alabama, in what should turn out to be a highly competitive recruitment.

In-state big man breaks out

It is hard to hide 6-foot-9 and athletic, and that’s why the exploits of a relative unknown named Flory Bidunga in Kokomo, Ind. kept bubbling to the surface during the high school season.

Over the weekend, playing for Indiana Elite on the Adidas circuit, Bidunga fully emerged and left an impression on many including Rivals’ national recruiting analyst Travis Graf:

“Bidunga is extremely light on his feet and is explosive when leaving the floor. His finishing ability within five feet was the most advanced of any big man on display on Saturday, as he finished with both hands and showed off some big time dunks and hook shots with both hands. Defensively, he blocks everything coming his way.”

Bidunga entered the weekend with no offers, but On3’s Jamie Shaw reported that Purdue head coach Matt Painter was watching him on day three as the buzz continued to grow.

Former assistant coach Dane Fife watched Bidunga during the high school season.  With two years of high school basketball remaining, expect many twists and turns in this one.  It is worth noting that he just arrived in the U.S. from the Congo, and thus has no real deep ties to the state.

New names to know

Multiple reports had Indiana coaches watching some newer names on the radar including Illinois-based 2023 guard Asa Thomas, Georgia-based 2024 wing Ace Bailey, and Ohio-based 2024 guard Jonathan Powell.

We’ll have more on them and others.

2023 commits Newton and Cupps both in Indiana

The Adidas and Under Armour events brought a pair of IU commits who had never met before in person within 15 minutes of one another over the weekend.

2023 Georgia guard Jakai Newton was mic’d up while playing at Grand Park in Westfield.

He later would injure his ankle and missed some game action, but still made his way over to Noblesville to meet fellow class of 2023 verbal commit Gabe Cupps.

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