Jordan Hulls was the hometown kid.
He won Indiana Mr. Basketball in 2009 at Bloomington South High School, then stayed in town to play for the Hoosiers. The first 20-plus years of his basketball career were mainly spent draining 3-pointers in the midwest.
But after a four-year career at Indiana that concluded with a Big Ten Championship in 2013, Hulls became a world traveler. His professional career began Poland, he hopped over to Belgium, then spent the final six years Germany. Over nine seasons as a pro in Europe, Hulls shot 40.8 percent from 3 and 92.3 percent from the free throw line.
Hulls joined Mike Woodson's coaching staff at Indiana this offseason as a recruiting coordinator. He was planning to play basketball for another two or three seasons overseas, but returning to his alma mater was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. With Hulls' connections all over Europe, the door could be open for international recruits to come to Indiana.
"Yeah, that's always a possibility," Hulls said. "You see it happening more and more. I've played in four different countries, but made connections all over Europe so that's another thing that is definitely a possibility if things fell into place in that regard."
It's a trend that has become increasingly popular in the college basketball world. In the 2022 recruiting class alone, six of the top-100 players are from outside of the United States, heading to top programs like Duke, Arizona, Texas Tech and Baylor.
The 2021-2022 AP All-American college basketball teams featured three players born outside of the United States, and this talent has certainly translated to the NBA level. According to NBA.com, at least 10 international players have been selected in each NBA Draft since 2000, and at least two international players have been selected in the top 10 in each of the last nine NBA Drafts.
The 2021-2022 All-NBA first team featured three international players – Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic, the reigning back-to-back MVP – while Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam were named to the All-NBA second and third teams, respectively.
Hulls is still an Indiana kid at heart, bringing value to in-state recruiting as well. He made his first recruiting trip to the Charlie Hughes Indiana Boys' High School Shootout last weekend to watch some of Indiana's top high school talent. Hulls and the Indiana staff are going hard after Cathedral's Xavier Booker, a top-five player in the nation.
But no matter where they come from, Hulls is ultimately looking for players who can bring Indiana back to the top.
"There's talent all over the world," Hulls said. "We want to get the best players possible that are going to help us win and if it so happens to be through Europe and it's through a connection that I was able to make over my 9 year career, that would be pretty cool."
Related stories on Indiana basketball:
- HULLS COULDN'T SAY NO: Former Indiana point guard Jordan Hulls was headed into his 10th season of professional basketball, but an opportunity to join Mike Woodson's coaching staff at his alma mater was too good to deny. CLICK HERE
- VICTOR OLADIPO SIGNS WITH MIAMI HEAT: Former Indiana All-American guard Victor Oladipo signed a one-year contract with the Miami Heat on Thursday in the first day of NBA free agency. After missing the better part of three seasons, Oladipo carved out an important role on the Heat during the 2022 NBA playoffs. CLICK HERE
- JUWAN MORGAN TRADED TO PACERS: Former Indiana University basketball player Juwan Morgan was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Indiana Pacers on Friday. Morgan was included in a package alongside four other players and a first-round pick in exchange for Malcom Brogdon. CLICK HERE
- INDIANA BASKETBALL NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE FINALIZED: Indiana formally announced all of its nonconference schedule for the 2022-23 men's basketball season on Friday, and it's loaded with big names and bluebloods, the toughest schedule since at least 2016 in Mike Woodson's second season at the helm. CLICK HERE