Austin Etherington opted to make an early college decision. The talented wing went down to a Big…
Etherington Goes In-Depth on IU Decision
While schools like New Mexico, Xavier, Butler and Northwestern had offered and Ohio State and Michigan were expressing plenty of interest, the 6'6" junior wing from Hamilton Heights (Ind.) High School had come to a conclusion about where he wanted to play his college basketball.
"I just knew there was no reason for me to wait when IU was where I wanted to go," Etherington said.
With that, the 57th-ranked player in the 2011 class decided to bring his recruitment to an end. He made the trip to Bloomington Monday to inform IU Coach Tom Crean he wanted to be a Hoosier. He's the second player in the class to commit to IU, joining guard Matt Carlino.
The decision was one that was well received by not only Crean, but Etherington's family as well.
"My family wanted me to stay close, so to wait for out-of-state schools or other schools, there was no need," Etherington said. "So I talked to my family and they were with me on the decision and felt it was the right choice."
After missing a year of high school basketball after undergoing microfracture knee surgery, Etherington began to turn heads in the final 13 games of his sophomore season when he returned to the court and averaged 15.7 points and 7.0 rebounds down the stretch. That caught the attention of both Northwestern and Butler, and coaches soon began to flock to Hamilton Heights to see Etherington work out.
Among those was Crean, who took in a couple of Etherington's workouts and quickly relayed his interest in having him as part of his 2011 class.
"I knew the first time they came to watch me workout, I could tell Coach Crean was extremely interested," Etherington said. "He loved the way I shot the ball, and he came back a week or so later and that's when I felt they were interested and it might be the place to go."
Crean then offered a scholarship when Etherington was in Bloomington for one of IU's Elite Camp, and kept a very close eye on him throughout the July evaluation period. Etherington said he played his best basketball of the year when he helped Team Indiana Elite to a runner-up finish in Las Vegas two weeks ago, and IU's coaches were courtside for almost every one of his games last month.
That unwavering attention helped pave the way for Monday's commitment.
Etherington said IU's coach envisions him as a key part of a three-guard rotation, someone who can do a lot more than just shoot the ball from behind the 3-point arc. He'll be counted on to also be a factor on the boards, and Etherington feels Crean will help him develop in all areas of his game.
"I know Coach Crean can make me a better player, and I know he will," Etherington said.
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