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The Hoosier basketball world is not falling. Trey Lyles opening up his commitment is not like the second coming of a Kelvin Sampson recruiting fiasco.
Yes, the power forward out of Indianapolis Tech is rated No. 9 in the Class of 2014. He might move into the top five by his senior season. He's thrived on the Canadian Junior National team that includes Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 superstar in the Class of 2014. He has the look of a future pro, even if his height is a moving target (he's listed anywhere from 6-8 to 6-10).
Two years of apparent Cream and Crimson committed certainty are over, although if you follow recruiting, you know nothing is sure until a player signs.
And, in this era of transfers, sometimes not even then.
Sure, it could end up like Kentucky power forward Derek Willis and Purdue. Willis committed to the Boilers early, had a monster travel-ball season, reopened his recruiting and wound up committing to Kentucky in the Class of 2013.
For now the Hoosiers are still in the mix, and you can bet coach Tom Crean won't concede.
Official word broke Tuesday afternoon when Lyles' high school coach, Jason Delaney, tweeted that, “Trey Lyles has decided to open his recruitment. He loves IU and it is still No. 1, but he would like to have something to compare it to.”
This is smart. Lyles is a smart guy, smart enough that even Ivy League schools (consider Harvard, now a ranked force under coach Tommy Amaker) figure to take a shot.
He should explore all options, see what fits the best and then decide. And if it leaves IU hanging, well, consider it part of the price for recruiting so young.
Speaking of young, Bishop Luers' guard James Blackmon joined Lyles as a committed Hoosier before beginning his high school freshman year. He is, by all accounts, still firm in his decision out of the Class of 2014. A phone call Tuesday night went unanswered.
We live in an instant-gratification world where nobody wants to wait. Coaches offer eighth-graders, and some take the offer before they really know what they want and whether the program is the best fit.
Seriously, how could a 14-year-old know what's the best college for him? It's too big a decision to make without some maturity and experience.
Can you imagine being that young and picking your future spouse? Sure, some do and it works out, but for most, what you want at that age is not the same thing as it is in four years, 10 years and beyond.
For every Damon Bailey picking IU early and having a four-year standout career, there's Luke Recker, who also picked the Hoosiers early and wound up transferring after two seasons, first to Arizona, then to Iowa.
It's understandable why coaches want to lock up great players early, but that's only half the equation.
More players should treat recruiting as Cody Zeller did. Wait until your senior year, whittle the list down to a top four, make your official visits, hear the coaches' best pitches, then decide. By then you're 17 or 18 and mature enough to make the best decision for you.
In theory, anyway.
That should be Lyles' approach. See what offers are out there, and enjoy the process. He only gets one shot at this. He should make the most of it.
IU is still the favorite. For now, that will have to be enough.