Indiana Basketball’s Possible Return to Relevance
January 5, 2022
After Mike Woodson was hired in April to be the head coach of his alma mater, he wasted no time building the Indiana Hoosiers from the ground up. His first order of business was convincing All-American big man Trayce Jackson-Davis to return for his junior season instead of declaring for the NBA draft, which ended in success.
He then had to attempt to “re-recruit” the six players from IU who had entered the transfer portal.
He managed to convince Jordan Geronimo, Khristian Lander, Parker Stewart, and Race Thompson to return while Armaan Franklin and Aljami Durham transferred to Virginia and Providence, respectively.
After reeling his own players back into the program, Woodson moved onto recruiting new players to join the team.
Woodson dipped straight into the transfer portal and pulled out Xavier Johnson from Pittsburgh, Miller Kopp from Northwestern, and Michael Durr from USF (University of South Florida). Johnson is a guard who will most likely be a primary ball handler for the Hoosiers. He can score effectively and efficiently while also being able to distribute the ball at a high rate. Kopp is a forward that can shoot threes at a high percentage and has shown the ability to guard multiple positions and rebound. Durr is a seven-foot tall center who can block shots and score effectively around the rim. All three of these players will be huge contributors to the team this season and beyond.
Not only was Woodson able to bring in transfers, but he was also able to rope in new recruits to the program. After top-30 and five-star rated recruit Tamar Bates decommitted from Texas, Woodson swooped in and signed him. Bates will look to be a player who can make an immediate impact as a freshman, especially from the three where the Hoosiers have struggled in recent years.
With Bates and big man Logan Duncomb being the only new freshmen this year, Woodson got off to a quick start on the 2022 and 2023 classes. So far, the Hoosiers have received the commitments of three players in the 2022 class, with those being Jalen Hood-Schifino, Kaleb Banks, and CJ Gunn.
Hood-Schifino is a five-star rated combo-guard who plays for Montverde Academy in Florida. Montverde Academy is regarded as one of if not the best high school basketball academies in the country. They are regularly competing for and winning national championships for high school basketball and have produced countless college and professional players. Hood-Schifino reflects the talent that Montverde constantly displays. He is a great ball-handler and distributor who can also score in a variety of ways.
Kaleb Banks is a forward from Georgia who can stretch the floor and give the Hoosiers much needed scoring from behind the three-point line. CJ Gunn is a sharpshooting guard from Lawrence North High School here in Indiana. All of these players will be solid pieces to Mike Woodson’s scheme in the future.
As for the 2023 class, Woodson started early by obtaining the commitment of guard Jakai Newton. Newton will be able to continue the tradition of amazing guard play at IU if he continues to develop.
Although the future looks very bright, Woodson must focus on the season directly in front of him. The Hoosiers opened their season on November 9th with a 68-62 win against Eastern Michigan in a game that showcased the many talents of everyone on the roster and secured Woodon’s first ever win as a collegiate head coach. Indiana University hasn’t brought home a national championship in well over three decades, and Mike Woodson hopes to be the man to restore relevance to the Hoosiers once again.