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Let’s have a rational conversation about the transfer portal

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Three Indiana starters have put their names in the portal

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Antranik Tavitian via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Take a step back off the ledge, Way Too Online Indiana Fan. It’s alright, we’re here to help.

Sure, four Indiana men’s basketball players, including three starters, have put their names in the transfer portal since the end of the season, with freshman forward Jordan Geronimo being the latest. That’s alright.

The coaching staff they committed to play for has been fired and Indiana’s Scott Dolson-led coaching search has been the opposite of the Titanic – there aren’t any leaks.

Imagine that your company just posted bad numbers at the end of the quarter, your boss got fired and now shareholders are pissed. Hell, maybe some Indiana fans don’t have to imagine this. Maybe they know that feeling all too well. Well, that’s what IU men’s basketball players are facing, and who can blame them for clicking that button on LinkedIn that says they’re open to being contacted by recruits, or who can blame them for updating their resume and scouring job boards.

The transfer portal is a two-way street, but it also often has a cul-de-sac at one end. It doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere. Armaan Franklin or Parker Stewart or Race Thompson or Jordan Geronimo could each choose to return to Indiana, after exploring their options and meeting Indiana’s next head coach and his staff. Maybe all of them will return. Maybe none of them will come back.

Just like there was a benefit to IU moving so quickly on Miller – IU became the preeminent job opening this coaching cycle and it potentially will allow Miller to get another job this offseason, which would offset IU’s buyout owed to Miller – there’s a benefit to IU’s players putting their names out there sooner rather than later.

If Franklin or Thompson has the chance to transfer to join a bonafide top-15 team, then Indiana fans should wish them well and look forward to watching the 2022 NCAA Tournament and tweeting, “Let’s Remember a Guy.” But compare Indiana, especially an Indiana with a potentially home-run hire at head coach, to the schools that have contacted Indiana’s players who are in the portal, and the Hoosiers arguably compare favorably, if not better, than many of the other programs.

Let’s quickly address the narrative that has been pushed by some segments of the national media – likely by those who are close to Archie Miller, Tom Crean or both – that Indiana fired Miller only to trot out a worse team next season. Indiana went 7-12 in Big Ten play last season, which is about a 37-percent win percentage. With all due respect to Indiana’s players, coaches and support staff who were part of the 2021 Hoosiers, the construction of the program last season clearly wasn’t good enough, which is why Miller was fired and why he’s soon to be the recipient of $10 million or so (potentially offset by his next coaching contract). What would Indiana’s record have been if the school ran it back with that group?

9-11 in the Big Ten? 10-10?

Sure, Indiana’s roster numbers could bottom out at some point this offseason, but let’s not act like all experience and roster continuity is good experience and roster continuity.

Do you know who led the country in minutes continuity this season, per kenpom.com?

USC Upstate, which went 5-18. East Carolina (8-11) was No. 2.

Plus, if Indiana’s next coach is named Chris Beard or Eric Musselman, inbound transfers will almost certainly be part of their approach to roster building this offseason and likely every one after that. If Indiana’s next head coach isn’t currently at Texas Tech or Arkansas, then it’ll be a coach who will have more of an incentive to dip into the transfer portal than ever before, as transfers will likely not have to sit out next season as part of an NCAA rule change.

Indiana’s roster situation likely won’t be finalized until a few weeks after the next coach is hired and Indiana may not hire its next coach for another week or two, so log the hell off – or at least mute or block any national men’s basketball media member who peddles selfie videos for $40 on Cameo – and have a beer.

Things are going to be alright.