Indiana Hosts NY/NJ Quartet; Strickland Adds Memphis to List
On the same weekend that Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson was punished for recruiting violations with the loss of a $500,000 bonus and one scholarship for the 2008-09 season, a slew of talented recruits descended upon Bloomington for "Hoosier Hysteria."
Among those in attendance from New York and New Jersey were Lincoln junior guard Lance Stephenson; St. Patrick junior guard Dexter Strickland; Mount Vernon senior forward Kevin Jones; and Brooklyn native and Indiana commit Devin Ebanks.
"Somebody recognized me and they started cheering and stuff," the 6-3 Strickland said by phone Sunday night. "Just knowing that people I don't even know know me, it was a great feeling. I felt like I was at home."
Strickland, who will be the main man as St. Patrick seeks its third straight Tournament of Champions title, said he was unaware of the news of Sampson's secondary NCAA recruiting violations, but that he would research it.
I'm still trying to get comments from Kevin Jones and Lance Stephenson on their feelings on the latest news.
Strickland said he hung around mostly with Stephenson and Ebanks and watched the Indiana team practice.
"I think Lance liked it, too," he said. "He likes the school a lot. That's only his second visit. I didn't know that he's only been to Seton Hall and Indiana."
As for his own plans, Strickland still lists Michigan State, Florida and North Carolina as his top three, but said Memphis has entered the picture largely because his former St. Patrick teammate Jeff Robinson is now a frosh playing for John Calipari.
"Just from (Robinson) talking about it," Strickland said. "Derrick Rose, him going there. I was thinking if these great players are going there, this school might be the one for me. I was interested in it also."
Strickland has no immediate plans to visit Memphis, but he will visit North Carolina the first weekend in November.
He has already taken unofficial visits to Florida, Michigan State, Villanova, Rutgers and Seton Hall.
"I've been to enough schools to narrow it down," he said. "I don't really have a leader right now.
"In the beginning it was Michigan State because that was the first school I've actually been to and seen.
"After that, I saw Florida and the ring ceremony and the NBA players coming back. That was great, too. They're kind of equal right now, so I don't have a favorite school."
Still, Strickland said he could see himself committing somewhere during the upcoming season.
"After that last trip, I should be able to pick my school," he said.