Class of 2019 Guard Armaan Franklin. Photo Credit - Prep Hoops

With Carton Off the Board, Where Indiana Turns its Focus For 2019 Guards

It was no secret that the Indiana University basketball coaching staff wanted D.J. Carton in a big way.  It is also no secret that in high-level recruiting wars you miss more times than you hit.  It is time to move on.

With up to a four player recruiting class for 2019, IU is most likely looking to sign at least two guards in the group.  Despite having a true point in the 2018 class, Archie Miller seems intent on adding another to the 2019 class.  That doesn’t reflect any concerns about Rob Phinisee.  He is going to be a key player for multiple years in Bloomington.

We saw during the 2017-18 season how things can get sideways without high-end point guard play.  A former point guard himself, Miller seems laser focused on not allowing that to happen again going forward.  Adding another point guard in the 2019 class will provide depth, better ball handling and floor leadership.

So where do the Hoosiers turn their focus now?  Let’s take a look at the top targets still on the board that Indiana has been connected to.  In an ideal world, Indiana is looking to add both a point guard and a shooting guard in the class.

TRUE POINT GUARDS

Anthony Harris – Harris is more in the mold of an old-school point guard than most of the others here.  He grinds on defense, he leads, and he can score when needed.  His Nike EYBL stats won’t wow you, but that is in part due to him playing on a stacked team — Team Takeover — the Nike EYBL Peach Jam champions.  An old-school IU name like Chris Reynolds comes to mind, although Harris, with an improving perimeter shot, has the potential to be a better offensive threat.

Harris has said recently that he is planning to visit Indiana.

Status – Warm

Tre Mann – Mann reopened his recruitment.  He had originally narrowed to three schools and did not include Indiana.  There is no reason at this point to expect that the Hoosiers have a shot here.  The likely story is that Mann’s high level play of late has led to inquiries from some other top schools that he may not have expected.

Status – Cool

SCORING POINT GUARDS/COMBO GUARDS

Armaan Franklin – Indiana is in a good place with Franklin, and the 4-star Indianapolis native helped his cause last week at the Peach Jam.  After a slow start in the spring, Franklin should have eliminated most doubters by now.  Look for IU to turn up the heat here.

Status – Warm

Kira Lewis – It hasn’t been total radio silence here as Lewis has said fairly recently that he would like to visit.  Actions speak louder than words, and this seems like a 5-star hell bent on getting a Kentucky offer.

Status – Cool

Samari Curtis – After decommiting from Xavier, Curtis visited IU last month.  The IU coaching staff watched him live last week.  He scores at a high level and wants to play point guard in college.  In a recent interview he indicated that IU was on his radar.  Stay tuned to see if Indiana offers.

Status – Warm

Jalen Lecque – Put Lecque in the same category as Mann for now.  He is a very high profile target with a number of top shelf suitors — and all has been quiet on the IU front.

Status – Cool

Jahmius Ramsey – Ramsey might be the toughest class of 2019 target to read.  He has said that he intends to drag out his recruitment all the way until next spring.  Where that will leave him is anyone’s guess.  He certainly helped his cause this past week with several high level performances at Peach Jam.  He has said that Indiana is staying in regular contact.

Status – Cool/Warm

Harlond Beverly – Likely a new name for some Hoosier fans, Beverly has been on the IU radar for a while.  Activity might pick up with him with Carton off the board.  He will be joining Brandon Newman at prep school in Montverde for his senior season.  Indiana has not offered the Michigan product at this time.

Status – Cool

TRUE SHOOTING GUARDS

Brandon Newman – Newman is a classic shooting guard who is deadly from 3-point range.  Indiana offered him last month and we see this one coming down to IU and Purdue, although his profile continues to rise.

Status – Warm

PLAN B – WAIT UNTIL 2020

Circling back to the notion of landing the next true point guard — Plan B would be to wait until the class of 2020 if it otherwise comes down to options that the staff is less than enthusiastic about.  Ultimately, scholarships could be left on the table.  Indiana should have Devonte Green, Al Durham, Jr. and Rob Phinisee all back for the 2019-2020 season.  There should be no crisis mode.

One reason why there might be a greater focus by the IU staff on finding a class of 2019 point guard is because IU isn’t well aligned with a lot of high end 2020 point guards thus far.  Admittedly, the situation with players at this age is still quite fluid.  But from an in-state perspective IU’s top targets are shooting guards.  As we saw with Carton, pursuing high end out of state talent can be more challenging.

The Hoosiers first offer in the 2020 class was Pennsylvania point guard Ethan Morton.  If Miller can land his fellow Pittsburgh area native, then IU should still be in good shape at the position long term, irrespective of how 2019 pans out.


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