IU Insider Zach Osterman breaks down the importance of Rob Phinisee’s commitment to Indiana, and where the Hoosiers might go next in 2018.
BLOOMINGTON – Archie Miller’s first full recruiting class has its point guard.
Robert Phinisee, another in-state prospect added to a class that already includes South Bend Riley’s Damezi Anderson, picked Indiana on Saturday, becoming IU’s third commitment in 2018. Phinisee runs point for Lafayette’s McCutcheon, played his AAU basketball with Indiana Elite and has been a priority at the position for Miller since his hiring.
“He came to Lafayette, to my school a little bit after he got hired,” said Phinisee, who also noted he has developed a strong relationship with assistant Bruiser Flint. “He showed me how he planned to turn things around at IU and I believed in it.”
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The No. 17 point guard in his class, according to the 247Sports Composite, Phinisee joins Anderson and Pickerington (Ohio) North forward Jerome Hunter in what could turn out to be a five-man class for Indiana.
Point guard has long been a priority for Miller in the current class. Indiana will lose Josh Newkirk after the upcoming season. And while young guards like Devonte Green and Al Durham could develop at the position, there is no pure point besides Newkirk on IU’s roster at the moment.
Miller’s early pitch paid dividends Saturday, when Phinisee called with good news.
“He was really excited,” Phinisee said. “He told me I was the guy they needed and wanted. He was just really excited for me.”
Archie Miller landed three top 100 recruits in the span of 20 hours. IndyStar Insider Zach Osterman breaks down the commits and what could be next for the Hoosiers.
Matthew Glenesk / IndyStar
Phinisee joked that he wasn’t too worried about taking rivalry heat for picking Indiana over the hometown Boilermakers, and he said he’s happy to have his recruitment closed.
Now, he’ll focus on a strong senior season at McCutcheon this winter.
“Just really improve my all-around game, just to translate to the next level,” Phinisee said of his focus now. “The main thing I’d say is being a leader, being more vocal and doing whatever I can to put my teammates in the right spots to win.”
Phinisee’s commitment leaves IU with at least two spots open in 2018, with five players expected to graduate following the upcoming season.
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Indiana likely will reserve one for New Albany star Romeo Langford, one of the country’s best players, so long as Langford keeps the Hoosiers in the frame.
IU is also heavily involved with a number of highly-rated guards, including Darius Garland, James Akinjo and Luguentz Dort, a Canadian prospect who recently trimmed his list and kept the Hoosiers in his recruitment. Miller also could opt for more forward help with that fifth spot, with players like Collin Hartman, Freddie McSwain and Juwan Morgan all set to graduate within the next two years.
But the box is ticked at point guard.
“It was a big factor,” Phinisee said, talking about the opportunity to fill that role right away. “That was their main message to me. They needed a point guard in the 2018 class. They felt I was the best fit for them, with the guys they have.”
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.
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