Jeremy Hollowell, a 6-foot-7, Super 60 small forward from Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, committed to the Hoosiers on Thursday after considering Ohio State and Cincinnati.
"I know there are better players in the country, individually," said Central coach J.R. Shelt. "But, Jeremy is the piece to the puzzle that all these schools need. He's that missing link. He's a team player through and through. He's a basketball junkie. He went to as many college guys as any recruit I've been around. A lot of what played into his decision is the recruiting process. IU came on late but they came on very strong."
Shelt said Hoosiers coach Tom Crean stood out during the recruitment in more ways than one. He made Hollowell a priority and it was the little touches he put on Hollowell's recruitment that made a significant difference.
"Tom walks in the gym and he always make sure that Jeremy knows where he is. He stands by the exit the whole game. Jeremy always knows where he is. The little things like that mean something. When you're dealing with a 16-year-old kid, he wants to go with who loves him," Shelt said. "When you go to an Indiana football game and the whole stadium is chanting your name, that's hard to overlook."
Hollowell could have selected a program more ready to win but that's not his style. Lawrence Central was in build mode when Hollowell arrived and now the program is headed in the proper direction, thanks to his 20 points per game and selflessness as a teammate. In the Hoosiers, Hollowell saw the same type of example for the program he went through with Shelt.
"He likes the challenge of building something. When he first came here at L.C. we weren't even average," Shelt said. "We're fighting to get to a level of respect. It's not that he's afraid to go to a higher-ranked school; he wants to put a stamp on his own school. The third reason is the guys he's going to school with."
Howell, who is the No. 38 overall player in 2012, joins a Hoosiers class that already has four commits, including two fellow Super 60 prospects in PG Kevin Ferrell (Greenfield, Ind./Park Tudor) and PF Hanner Perea (La Porte, Ind./La Lumiere School). However, Hollowell is the glue to the class; at least that's how his high school coach envisions him.
"He's a multifaceted player," Shelt said. "He rebounds, scores in the paint and shoots the 3 very well. Last year, we had a conversation after he shot 28 percent from the 3-point line. I told him they play guys who shoot like that in the post. He comes back this year and he shoots 43 percent from the 3-point line. He accepts challenges very well."
The challenge at Indiana is to bring respectability and honor back to the candy striped warm-ups the Hoosiers sport. With a Hollowell and his crew on the way in 2012, it's a challenge Crean intends to meet head on.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.