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Indiana colleges fill holes on signing day

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Purdue won the in-state recruiting battle, while Indiana and Notre Dame both found help on the East Coast.

On Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period, Boilermakers coach Matt Painter looked like the big winner by signing four recruits, three from Indiana, and getting a top 20 ranking for the class from several national recruiting services.

"I've always said that it's important for us to recruit our backyard, and recruit kids hard in the state of Indiana and neighboring states," Painter said in a statement released by the athletic department. "We feel that we have enough players in this area to help us compete in the Big Ten, and we're going to continue to target them with our recruiting efforts."

Three of Purdue's recruits -- forwards Travis Carroll and Donnie Hale and guard Terone Johnson -- averaged at least 19 points per game last season. Carroll, a 6-foot-9 native of Danville, Ind., and the 6-8 Hale, from New Albany, Ind., also averaged at least 10 rebounds.

The fourth player in Purdue's class, Anthony Johnson, is a 6-2 guard from Chicago.

Painter called Carroll a "true post player" while Hale may be used in different spots. The two Johnsons are both considered 3-point shooters, though Terone Johnson, who plays at Indianapolis North Central which has produced three Mr. Basketball winners in the past 10 years, is considered the more physical player.

"I think it's a great class for our needs," Painter said. "We were able to add two big guys who are totally different from each other. Those two guys will complement each other well. Addressing the need to replace Keaton Grant and Chris Kramer in our backcourt was a must, and we feel like we did that by getting two all-around guards who can play at both ends of the court."

Indiana and Notre Dame, meanwhile, both found players in Maryland including one guard each from DeMatha High School near Washington.

The Hoosiers signed 6-4 guard Victor Oladipo, a defensive stalwart who led the traditional prep powerhouse to a 29-3 record and the city league title. Oladipo had 14 points and seven rebounds in the city championship game.

"We feel Victor will provide athleticism and skill, but most importantly a toughness and will to compete that enhances our program from the moment he steps on campus," coach Tom Crean said. "We feel that defensive mindset, along with his ever-improving offensive skills, will help him have a very strong career at Indiana."

Notre Dame also picked up two Maryland recruits -- Eric Atkins, a 6-1 point guard from Mount St. Joseph High in Bowie, and Jerian Grant, a 6-5 guard who played with Oladipo at DeMatha. Grant, who just turned 17, is the son of former Oklahoma star Harvey Grant and averaged 7.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and six assists last season.

The Fighting Irish also signed 6-6 shooting guard Alex Dragicevich from Glenbrook North (Ill.) High.

Irish coach Mike Brey said Atkins, who averaged 23.4 points, 6 assists and 5.1 rebounds, could start next season and all three could get meaningful minutes.

"They come from cities where the lights have been bright and they've played big high school games and played competitive AAU games and they've played against college guys at the rec center, so I feel they are going to be ready as freshmen," Brey said.

Indiana State also went outside the state for recruits. It signed 6-2 point guard Steve McWhorter from Racine, Wis., and forward Myles Walker, a 6-8 junior college transfer from South Plains College in Texas.

IUPUI, however, did better inside Indiana. It added 6-5 guard P.J. Hubert, who grew up in Fortville, Ind., and plays at Mount Vernon High School, and 6-9 forward Mitchell Patton, who played at South Knox High School in Vincennes, Ind.

The Purdue women signed two players -- Courtney Moses of Sweetser, Ind., and Dee Dee Williams from Indianapolis Ben Davis. Moses averaged 18.4 points and 6.3 assists and is Oak Hill's career scoring leader with 1,195 points. Williams, a 6-foot forward, played on Ben Davis' undefeated state championship team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation. She averaged 7.6 points and 4.0 assists last season.

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