Miller signs 4 players in 1st Indiana recruiting class
By MICHAEL MAROT
Nov. 09, 2017
New Indiana coach Archie Miller stayed true to his promise with his first recruiting class.
He used the Hoosier State as his foundational base. He found talent in two other states he knows well, Ohio and Pennsylvania. And he already has a top-15 class with perhaps the biggest prize still to come.
Miller went big Wednesday in adding four new players — 6-foot-7 forwards Damezi Anderson and Jerome Hunter, 6-8 forward Jake Forrester and 5-11 point guard Rob Phinisee — on the first day 2018 could officially sign national letters-of-intent.
"As I have stated many times, the players, coaches and programs of the state of Indiana are of utmost importance to our staff and program," Miller said. "We were able to sign two players from parts of the state that it's been several years since someone from that area became a Hoosier."
Landing a third in-state recruit — Romeo Langford, the state's No. 1 senior — would be a major coup.
Miller got Anderson from South Bend Riley, Notre Dame's backyard, and Phinisee from Lafayette McCutcheon, Purdue's backyard. Both are ranked in the top 125 nationally and were Indiana Junior All-Stars.
The Hoosiers also snagged stole Hunter, the highest-rated player in their class from Pickerington North, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, that is not far from Ohio State. And he plucked Forrester from Westtown School, about 90 minutes west of the traditionally basketball-rich Philadelphia.
That's not bad.
But Indiana convinces Langford of New Albany, just across the river from Louisville and about an hour from the University of Kentucky, Miller could have one of the nation's best classes. The 6-5 shooting guard is widely regarded as the state's top recruit.
He's expected to trim his list from five schools to three this weekend though he may until April to sign.
NCAA rules prohibit coaches from talking about specific unsigned recruits.
Still, Miller's four-man class looks pretty darn good.
Hunter is the highest rated player of the four after averaging 20.6 points last season and a double-double as a sophomore. He's been on Miller's radar for nearly three years.
"He is an extremely versatile wing who has great size for his position," Miller said. "He loves being in the gym and is constantly looking for ways to improve. Jerome's ability to play both on the perimeter and inside will make him a great addition to our team."
Anderson averaged 24 points and 7.6 rebounds and becomes Indiana's first signee from the South Bend area since Tom Abernethy in the early 1970s. Abernethy was a senior on the Hoosiers' 1976 undefeated national championship team.
Phinisee finished his junior season with averages of 21.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists and was named The Journal & Courier's Big School City Player of the Year. He fills a huge void with guards Josh Newkirk and Robert Johnson graduating after this season.
"Rob is a throwback point guard who cares only about running the team and winning. His teammates love playing with him and he makes the game easier for everyone around him," Miller said. "We are proud that Rob is the first scholarship basketball player to play for Indiana from Lafayette in almost 70 years."
Forrester averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds for Westtown School, leading it to a 32-2 record and a Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association championship.