Indiana hasn’t often dipped into the junior college ranks under coach Tom Crean, but that’s where the Hoosiers turned up Tuesday night.
Crean traveled to Chanute (Kan.) Neosho County Community College to watch 6-6 sophomore forward Freddie McSwain work out. IU’s coach saw enough to offer McSwain a scholarship.
“They’ve been interested for a while now, mainly just contacting him and us, and kind of watching,” Neosho County coach Jeremy Coombs told IndyStar.
A prodigious rebounder over his two seasons in junior college, McSwain averaged 14 points and 8.4 rebounds per game during a 30-win campaign this winter.
Coombs said his offer list stretches to more than two dozen schools, naming IU, Marquette, UNLV, Kansas State, Auburn, Illinois State, Memphis and Bradley.
McSwain came to Neosho County from Liberty County High School in Georgia, where he focused more on football. Coombs said his standout forward didn’t pick up the latter full-time until his sophomore year.
“He’s not like the kids that, when he was 10, 11, 12, he was out playing AAU ball. But he’s a big-time athlete,” Coombs said.
The Georgia native spent most of his time playing around the rim for Neosho County as a freshman, when the Panthers won 25 games. As a sophomore, he refined his face-up game enough to step away from the rim, though he shot just 11-of-40 from behind the 3-point line this season.
Neosho County’s up-tempo style helped McSwain develop as a stretch four, according to Coombs, who said he sees his player becoming a versatile forward at the four-year level.
“Freddie’s one of the top junior college players in the country, and probably one of the most athletic as well,” Coombs said. “He’s just a big-time rebounding kind of guy, big body, big frame, really looks the part, and he just has a tremendous upside.”
McSwain has already visited Bradley and Kansas State, and Coombs said his player will plan the rest of his visits soon, and one of them will likely be to IU. He will enroll in a four-year school in the summer, and have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
The opportunity to see if he can develop into a professional prospect is appealing to McSwain, according to his coach. And, after winning 55 games over two junior college seasons, he wants to join a successful program.
“He wants to go to a great program, wants to go somewhere he’ll be an impact guy, wants to win,” Coombs said. “Freddie’s a winner.”
Indiana is currently full for next season, with its complement of 13 scholarships filled or committed to high school seniors. But numerous Hoosiers, including Troy Williams and Thomas Bryant, might have NBA decisions to make.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.