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Commitments give schools a look at future

– The basketball early signing period began Wednesday, and by the end of the week, programs across Indiana will have a firm grasp on what they have coming in next season.

Here’s a look at the players teams signed, or plan to sign, for the Class of 2014.

Indiana

The Hoosiers saw a topsy-turvy recruiting cycle end on a high note with the recommitment of former Bishop Luers star James Blackmon Jr. IU will bring in a three-man class headlined by the 6-foot-3 shooting guard, who plans to sign today.

Blackmon is ranked as high as the No. 19 prospect in the class by ESPN.com and as low as No. 34 by 247Sports.com.

The Hoosiers should also sign 6-3 shooting guard Robert Johnson, a top-60 player in the class, and 6-8 power forward Max Hoetzel, who is a three-star prospect. Jerry Meyer, director of basketball scouting for 247Sports.com, said this group is the best class in the nation in terms of outside shooting.

Signing with the Indiana women’s team were Tyra Buss, a 5-7 Mount Carmel (Ill.) High School product and reigning Illinois Miss Basketball; Maura Muensterman, a 5-7 player out of Evansville Mater Dei who was Indiana Miss Basketball last year; Jess Walter, a 5-11 guard out of Midland (Mich.) High; and Amanda Cahill, a 6-2 forward out of Clyde (Ohio) High School.

Purdue

The Boilermakers signed an unheralded but potent three-man class.

Purdue coach Matt Painter solidified pledges from 6-7 small forward Vince Edwards, 6-5 shooting guard Dakota Mathias and 6-9 power forward Jacquil Taylor. Painter said the group, which is outside the top 50 nationally in team rankings, brings some needed shooting prowess.

“It’s a class that can really help us with our skill level and decision making,” Painter said in a statement. “I like all three guys and their versatility and their ability to play different positions.”

Edwards and Mathias are Ohio products, while Taylor is a Massachusetts native.

It is the first class for the Boilermakers without an in-state commitment since 2007.

“You always try to recruit your backyard and neighboring states, but when you have to branch out, it means there is a need there,” Painter said in a statement.

Signing with the Purdue women’s team were Haley Bodnar, a 6-4 forward from Desert Hills (Utah) High School; Justine Hall, a 5-10 guard from Regis Jesuit (Colo.) High School; Bree Horrocks, a 6-5 forward from Buford (Ga.) High School; Andreona Keys, a 5-10 forward from Roswell (Ga.) High School; and Erica Moore, a 6-2 forward out of Mount Vernon in Fortville. The five make up a class ranked No. 24 in the nation by Collegiate Girls Report.

Notre Dame

The Irish added forwards Martin Geben and Bonzie Colson Jr., and they still have one more scholarship that coach Mike Brey said he would like to use on a transfer forward.

The 6-9, 230-pound Geben is a native of Lithuania who plays at St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown, Md. He averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks as a junior and is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com.

The 6-6, 200-pound Colson plays at St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, R.I. He averaged 17 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks as a junior and is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com.

“We really targeted frontline guys after recruiting a very good perimeter and one front line guy in the current freshman class (which includes former New Haven standout V.J. Beachem),” Brey said. “To add these two guys, I’m really excited.”

The women’s team expects to announce its signing class today or Friday.

Butler

Brandon Miller began Butler’s Big East recruiting era by adding two big prep forwards.

The Bulldogs signed 6-6 Kelan Martin and 6-7 Tyler Wideman. Miller said both should help the Bulldogs become a more physical inside team when they arrive next season.

Martin earned second-team all-state honors at Louisville Ballard in Kentucky last season, averaging 19.1 points and 10.2 rebounds.

Wideman was the first player to commit to Butler after Miller replaced Brad Stevens as coach in July.

Last season, Wideman averaged 15.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks at Lake Central High School in northwestern Indiana. “Both are bigger, stronger athletes who can run, jump and bang,” Miller said. “Both can really play.”

Ball State

The Cardinals signed four players including high school teammates Jeremie Tyler and Rashaun Richardson from Arsenal Tech in Indianapolis along with another Indiana product in Sean Sellers of Greensburg. Francis Kiapway, from Canada by way of St. Thomas More School in Connecticut, also signed.

“The four of them collectively make the type of recruiting class we felt like we needed,” Ball State first-year head coach James Whitford said. “They are high in talent and high in competitive character. All four guys really love the game, and that is an important attribute we are always looking for.”

Tyler is a 6-1 guard who was the second-leading scorer for a loaded Tech team last year (12.3 points per game). Richardson is a 6-7 forward with shooting range, Sellers is a 6-6 wing player who helped Greensburg to the Class 3A state championship last year and Kiapway is a 6-3 guard from Hamilton, Ontario. A strong outside shooter, he is currently playing at St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Conn.

IPFW

The Mastodons expect to announce their signing classes in the next few days.

smorrison@jg.net

tkrausz@jg.net

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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