football

Shumpert recounts recent visits

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After a dynamic spring, Iman Shumpert became a must get guy for programs from all over the country. But if there is a window of opportunity for schools to land the 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard from Oak Park (Ill.) River Forest is it loyalty. A handful of schools jumped in early and the four-star guard is spending his summer seeing a number of campuses.
Nearly every high-major school looking for a two guard, including the elite level programs, have inquired about Shumpert. Why? How about the fact he shined at the King James Shooting Stars Classic? How about the fact he played well in Las Vegas? Or Fort Wayne? How about the fact he has a big time jump shot or understands the simplicities of his positions. The list goes on and on. So did the line of coaches trying to line up.
But Shumpert says he is big on those that came in first. Loyalty goes a long way.
"That's very important," he said. "I think those schools saw me playing big time basketball before I had 30 point games or went out and played consistently in the spring. They saw it before everyone else. I was hitting those same jump shots then. They offered back then. It didn't take me scoring 30 for them to offer and see that I could play. That means a lot to me that they jumped in early."
Shumpert said he "doesn't have a list" but the teams getting in early helped in the long run. Some of those schools include Marquette, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Bradley and Notre Dame. He has or will visit each of these schools this summer.
Most recently, he made a trip to ACC country and saw Clemson and Georgia Tech for the first time.
"This was the first time that I've actually had a chance to talk to them face-to-face and get to know them," Shumpert said of Clemson. "Probably getting to coach (Oliver) Purnell (was one of the highlights of the trip). Their academic support is second to none. I liked their facilities. I didn't expect them to be as nice as they were.
"I was able to talk to coach Purnell really easily. He has a sense of seriousness when he talks. Then again, he can always joke around with you when he has to. He's more about business and I like that. Anything he says, you know he's not saying it just to say it. If he says something, it has to mean something.
"It definitely helped Clemson in my book to put all of that with ACC basketball. It will be hard to something like that down."
He and his father drove south to Atlanta in order to see Georgia Tech and meet with head coach Paul Hewitt.
"The biggest difference from Georgia Tech to Clemson is that Georgia Tech is in the city and for me that might be a little better transition for me from Chicago to Atlanta. It's a big transition for me going from a city to the country area," Shumpert said.
"Seeing all of their campus, I was able to talk to their players a lot and I was able to talk to coach Hewitt a lot. That's the thing about coach Hewitt and coach Purnell. You can talk to them all day about anything. At Georgia Tech, their academics are good and their facilities are nice, too. They probably have the biggest weight room that I've seen yet."
His next stop is local. Shumpert said he will make his first tour of the Illinois campus this weekend.
"I am hoping that I can get a better relationship with coach (Bruce) Weber," Shumpert said. "That is probably the one thing that I'm looking forward to doing the most. I think it same way as coach Purnell. It's easy to talk to them when you are coming in and everything is planned but relaxed. I'm hoping that is the way it is this weekend with coach Weber."
He has been to Marquette unofficially already and likes his existing relationship with Tom Crean and the rest of the staff at the Big East school.
Shumpert has played his recruitment like a seasoned Vegas poker player. Everything is close to the vest. Details are detailed but oftentimes guarded. He did yield two things that will play a big part in his decision.
"The chance to come in and play and the head coach are the biggest things that I'm looking at in schools," Shumpert said.
The four-star guard said he is hoping to make visits to Bradley and Notre Dame this summer. While his visit checklist is being worked out nicely, Shumpert said he doesn't have a target date for a decision. He also said he will take some official visits in the fall.
Location will not play a factor either.
"Any where I go, my family will come and see me when they can," Shumpert said. "All of the schools that I'm looking at are on television and they said as long as I'm happy at where I'm at, then they'll be happy."
Where will he go? Who will stay loyal in July? Shumpert will know the answer to the first question. The coaches know the answer to the second. This summer should be interesting for one of the nation's most sought after backcourt stars.
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