October 14, 2010

Jordan Shanklin, Marcellus Barksdale, and Lyonell Gaines, (2011) Commit to IUPUI

Three top 15 players from Kentucky have both committed to IUPUI. Hell to the YEAH! More after the jump.

One of the coolest things I noticed about all of the recruits is they love the way Head Coach Ron Hunter and his coaching staff push players to get the most out of themselves. Booyah.

All three are expected to sign early letters of intent during the November signing period.

Jordan Shanklin

Bowling Green (KY) Warren Central's 2011 class has a couple top Kentucky recruits, and one of them has decided to come to IUPUI. Shanklin is a 5'11 point guard who will likely gain experience next winter playing under now-junior 1-guard Stephen Thomas. Though he was entertaining offers from Portland State, South Dakota, and The Citadel, IUPUI offered something none of the others could: A chance a great education. "The biggest factor was the fact that after four years I could graduate with a degree from Indiana or Purdue". In your face The Citadel. (That's smack talk, right?)

Though plagued by injuries in his sophomore and junior seasons, Shanklin had a successful summer playing AAU ball with the Shining Stars David team.

Some are calling Shanklin the best pure point guard in all of Kentucky with good quickness, perimeter shooting, and a strong mid-range game. (Sound like someone we know? Hm...)

Marcellus Barksdale

The 6'4 (or 6'5, both are listed), 200lb guard is considered one of the top recruits from the state of Kentucky. Averaging 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists his junior year, Barksdale garnered interest from Morehead State and Lehigh, in addition to IUPUI. Rumors also place Arizona State and Western Kentucky. He is considered one of the most sought-after back court recruits in all of Kentucky.

ScoutKentuckyPreps.com has Barksdale playing a big-2 or little-3 position, which will fit perfectly into Ron Hunter's offense. 

In May of 2009 he was only 5'10, he was a backcourt prospect on the rise. By September of 2009, Barksdale was listed as the 11th best player of the 2011 class, but since then he has grown three inches and continues to improve by leaps and bounds.

Barksdale has this to say about his commitment:
“The most impressive thing was how well I fit in with the players and coaches, especially Louisville native (and Louisville Central grad) Leroy Nobles. He showed me a good time. I also got a chance to go to class with Christian Siakam. That was a good experience and it gave me a great idea of the classroom setting at IUPUI.
"Just by talking to Head Coach (Ron) Hunter and Assistant Coach (Todd) Howard, I was able to really tell that they care about their players and are constantly trying to maximize each player’s potential. A great exampled they kept using was (San Antonio Spurs guard and IUPUI graduate) George Hill. He really took advantage of all the resources available to him at IUPUI and now he’s a premiere player in the NBA."

Lyonell Gaines

Eastern High School has plenty of great players, but forward Lyonell Gaines leads the way. Recently committing to IUPUI, Gaines loved the coaching staff (woo hoo!) and the fact Indianapolis is close to home. 

“The biggest factors were for me to play somewhere close to home and also be playing for a good program with good quality coaches, IUPUI offered all of that. What I really liked was how Coach Hunter was straight up front with me when I talked to him in his office.
"I see myself fitting in real well with IUPUI. Because they are a team that loves to run and get down and go. I can also relate because they don’t run a ton of plays, they just have enough plays to get it and go. I like how if you’re open you shoot the three or if you have the lane you drive. To me they're like a mid-major UK (John Calipari system).”

Gaines is a 6'6 power forward, and averaged 14 points with 7 rebounds last year. Again, he is a perfect fit for the fast-paced offense run by Coach Hunter, just like Shanklin and Barksdale. He entertained interest from Tennessee Tech, Tennessee Martin, Morehead State, and a handful of D-II schools. 

Wrap Up

Three commitments. Three of the best players Kentucky has to offer. Three perfect fits for IUPUI's style of offense. But what does that mean for 2011-2012?

Graduating in 2011 are Leroy Nobles and John Ashworth (starters), as well as Anthony Williams and Nick DeSchepper. Ashworth leaving will open up the 2-guard spot for Barksdale to get early minutes. Gaines will be learning under Alex Young, but could see time with Nobles leaving. Shanklin will be able to spend valuable time learning the offense under Stephen Thomas, and will have good competition with Greg Rice (if he can stay healthy).

So far Hunter has yet to find a true replacement for the one and only Robert Glenn, though Donovan Gibbs and Mitchell Patton could each be his replacement. Only time will tell. (Thought I should end it on a cliche. Did it work? Awesome.)

Special thanks to ScoutKentuckyPreps.com for the quotes and what not.

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