Over the weekend, Indiana's basketball program added a fourth player to its 2014 recruiting class. Joining Robert Johnson, James Blackmon Jr. and Max Hoetzel is center Jeremiah April.
The 7-footer from Westwind Prep Academy in Phoenix chose Indiana over Arizona State, Marquette and Washington State. He flew under the radar and isn't a highly rated prospect, but Indiana will be more than happy to have him for the upcoming season.
Because of the departures of Luke Fischer and Noah Vonleh from the program, Indiana's frontcourt was quite thin. Before April's commitment, the options at head coach Tom Crean's disposal were Devin Davis, Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin.
Davis showed promise in his freshman season, but at only 6'7", he isn't truly a low-post player. He is certainly capable of playing as a power forward, but it would be asking a lot of Davis to be the sole guy down low.
Mosquera-Perea has been up and down through his two years at IU, but he should be a serviceable big going forward. He showed a lot of promise this season against Ohio State. His eight points and five rebounds were the catalyst for IU's victory.
Jurkin has barely played in two seasons. During his time in Bloomington the 7-footer from South Sudan has seen the floor in just 11 games for a total of 18 minutes or 1.6 minutes per game. Until he shows otherwise, he isn't a legitimate option for Crean.
So, while April may not be projected to be the next Cody Zeller, he provides Indiana with depth in the post it desperately needed.
After watching tape of April, it's clear he is athletic and pretty confident with his back to the basket. He also has a solid jump shot from about 15 feet.
As far as defense is concerned, he isn't too shabby either. He has a good feel for blocking and altering shots, something IU will need going forward.
During his one season at Westwind, he averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds per game. His season highlights included a 31-point game against Pima Community College and 28 points versus Scottsdale Community College. So, while he may be a project, April has tremendous upside.
Will he be the Hoosiers' starting center when the 2014-15 season begins? Maybe.
He certainly has the size and athletic ability you want in a big man, but the jump from high school to college can be rough, especially on post players. April needs to set up shop in the weight room this summer. He may be listed at 230 pounds, but he needs all the muscle he can get.
How good April will be in his freshman season is yet to be seen, but regardless, he brings a big body to the roster and should be on the floor in some capacity, whether starting or off the bench, to help replace Vonleh.
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