Robert Phinisee spurned his hometown school to come to Bloomington. Damezi Anderson was the first kid from South Bend to commit to IU since the early 70’s.
Jerome Hunter, the #2 ranked player in Ohio chose IU over the Buckeyes. Jake Forrester comes from the Philadelphia area perhaps the least heralded, but also the most likely to surprise folks with his huge upside. Race Thompson is the top 100 player that everyone is forgetting about, at least nationally.
And then there’s some guy named Romeo, the quiet assassin, already a legend.
Collectively, they create one of the more noteworthy incoming classes in Indiana basketball history — and they arrive on campus in Bloomington today. IU fans have seen this story before, and some of the more veteran observers have seen enough to have a healthy dose of skepticism.
Recruiting classes such as these should come with a warning label: “Recruiting rankings do not guarantee future results.” When you boil it down, these are still vey young men, or kids if you prefer — with all of the unpredictability that comes with their age. Moreover, the recruiting analysis business is far from scientific. We’ve all seen the top 100 turned busts, and the unheralded 3-stars that became sensations. Victor Oladipo, anyone?
Today we take a look back at some of the more memorable Indiana recruiting classes through the years. Some were busts, some got a little sideways, and some lived up to the hype. Irrespective of how things turned out — these are the IU recruiting classes that got Hoosier Nation buzzing:
Thomas Bryant, Juwan Morgan, OG Anunoby
The late addition of Bryant energized the IU fan base. Perhaps no recent IU class has been more successful in terms of all of its members panning out while wearing an IU uniform. Two players in the NBA, and one more that has a legitimate shot of making it next year.
Luke Fischer, Collin Hartman, Stanford Robinson, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, Devin Davis
This top 5 class would mark the pinnacle of a Tom Crean recruiting machine that looked like it could do no wrong at the time. Between transfers, early NBA exits, and off the court issues, the class’ production at Indiana didn’t live up to the hype.
Yogi Ferrell, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Jeremy Hollowell, Peter Jurkin, Ron Patterson
Ah, “The Movement”. It was a name that started out as signifying the future of Indiana basketball, and turned into a pejorative. Of course Ferrell became an IU legend, but as for the rest — not so much.
Neil Reed, Andrae Patterson, Charlie Miller, Michael Hermon, Rob Hodgson
McDonald’s All-Americans Reed and Patterson were the headliners of a class that was being compared to 1989. Unfortunately, the class marked the beginning of the end of an elite era of IU basketball, and ultimately the end of Bob Knight’s tenure as the IU head coach.
Damon Bailey, Pat Knight
Can such a small class really create that much excitement? You bet. Hoosier fans had been waiting for Bailey since he was in the 8th grade, and of course the son of Bob Knight only added additional intrigue to the mix.
Calbert Cheaney, Greg Graham, Chris Reynolds, Pat Graham, Todd Leary, Chris Lawson, Lawrence Funderburke
Coming in there was talk of it being the best recruiting class ever. While they didn’t all work out, this class formed the nucleus of a 1992 Final Four team, and one of the best IU teams to not win a national title in 1993.
Jay Edwards, Lyndon Jones, Mark Robinson
Edwards and Jones won three consecutive high school state championships from 1985-87, going 84-4 along the way. The duo had Hoosier fans dreaming of a repeat national championship.
Steve Alford, Daryl Thomas, Todd Meier, Marty Simmons
Alford was a legend before he ever stepped foot on the floor in Bloomington — and he lived up to the hype from day one.
Randy Wittman, Landon Turner, Ted Kitchel
A trio of in-state Indiana All-Stars that would go on to win a national championship together.
Quinn Buckner, Scott May, Bobby Wilkerson, Jim Crews, Tom Abernathy
Little needs to be said about this group. They would become the foundation of perfection.
George McGinnis, Steve Downing, John Ritter, Bootsie White
McGinnis didn’t stay long, but he was one of the most talented to ever play for IU. Downing became an IU Hall of Famer. The pair came in with a lot of fanfare after playing together and winning state at Indianapolis Washington.
Bobby Leonard, Dick Farley, Jim Deakyne, Sam Esposito, Charlie Krook, Lou Scott, Ron Taylor, Dick Swan, John Wood
This group became eligible to play in their sophomore season and were joined by freshman Don Schlundt in that 1951-52 season. Schlundt was allowed to play as a freshman, and that year of experience playing together would set them up for a 1953 championship.
Bill Menke, Paul “Curly” Armstrong, Herm Schaefer, Bob Dro
Recruited by Everett Dean, this group would join new coach Branch McCracken and team leader Marv Huffman, who was a year ahead of them, as the core of the 1940 championship team.
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier