As Noah Vonleh continues to blow up this season, as evidenced by being as high as #8 in NBA Mock Drafts, the Hoosier faithful are starting to wonder what type of size might be in Bloomington next year. With newly minted McDonald's All American James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson coming in next year, the shooting will be in full force. Many would argue that is all the current roster is missing from being at least a B1G Title contender again, if not a national title contender. Before Christmas Break, the obvious answer was Luke Fischer. Fischer had tons of potential and showed that during the final few games before Christmas. However, as we all know, he decided to transfer closer to home and landed at Marquette. At this point of the season, it is hard to believe Vonleh will return for his sophomore year which would leave the Hoosiers with only Hanner Mosquera Perea and Peter Jurkin down low. Obviously, those options are not going to be a long term answer for the center position unless Coach Crean can really work some magic in the offseason.
If Vonleh does leave, the Hoosiers would have one open scholarship position for next year which they would almost certainly use on a big man. The problem is - there are not a lot of big men available. All of the obvious options have signed in the early period, so the Hoosiers will have to rely on finding one of the late bloomers or rely on snagging a coveted 5th year transfer this summer similar to how Evan Gordon became a Hoosier before this season. In addition, there are always coaching changes that could shake up some current recruiting classes. Here are a couple of the options available to Indiana right now and where they currently stand in the recruiting process:
Matt Cimino (6'10" 215 pounds) - #143 in 247Sports Composite Index - Cimino comes out of Worcester, MA, and is the only Top 150 player that potentially could have some Hoosier interest at this point. There have been recent reports that Coach Crean has been making some inquiries into the status of Cimino's recruitment which appears to be wide open at this point in time. He currently has known offers from George Washington, Boston College, Kansas State, Tulsa, and Virginia. He has also stated he will wait until the end of his high school season to make any official visits, so this is not a recruitment that is likely to end anytime soon. He has played very well recently, including in the Hoop Hall Classic, where he shot 9 of 12 from the field and ended with 22 points and 8 boards. This was in front of a number of recruiting analysts, so his stock could continue to rise. It is way too early to tell if the Hoosiers are a viable option here, but there is at least a minimal level of interest being shown.
Ruben Guerrero (6'10" 230 pounds) - Not Ranked - Guerrero comes out of Spain and is part of the Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas. That program should sound familiar to Indiana fans as it also produced Lourawls Nairn ("Tum Tum") who the Hoosiers flirted with last fall before he eventually committed to Michigan State. There are several other potential Division 1 athletes on the team, so Ruben is playing around a lot of talent. Corey Evans of the Roundball Report noted today that Indiana has officially offered Guerrero. Most reports (and there are not many) have stated he has a very good jump shot and is also a very mobile big man which would certainly fit the Tom Crean system. Given the lack of press around Guerrero to date, there is not any other news on other offers outstanding and it is certainly possible Indiana could be the only one at this point as Coach Crean tries to find yet another diamond in the rough.
There will certainly be other options that pop up in the coming months, and it may be more likely that Indiana lands a 5th year transfer than a freshman recruit. In addition, Vonleh could shock everyone and decide to come back. He does have a lot to improve offensively, but it would be really hard to turn down the potential of being a Top 10 pick in what is a very loaded draft. If the Hoosiers can retain Vonleh's services or land a serviceable big man for the 2014-2015 season, it should be another very special year in Bloomington given the talent at the guard and forward positions.