By lunchtime Friday, the college basketball coaching carousel had taken a mighty spin with news that the recently-opened Marquette job had been filled. Then, according to multiple reports, Indiana saw freshman guard Khristian Lander follow several of his IU teammates into the NCAA Transfer Portal.
Yeah, it was a busy morning on the hoops front.
We’ll start with the latter bit of news, which, considering the state of things in Bloomington, wasn’t exactly a surprising development. Lander is the sixth IU player to put his name in the portal since Archie Miller was fired on March 15, following similar decisions made by Jordan Geronimo, Race Thompson, Parker Stewart, Armaan Franklin and Al Durham.
A former five-star prospect who reclassified to join Indiana a year early, Lander served as IU’s backup point guard in the 26 appearances he made off the bench. Although he flashed potential as a high-level creator, the rest of Lander’s player profile wasn’t quite to the level it needed to be to seize more opportunities in IU’s rotation. Lander, the youngest member of IU’s roster, made only six of his 26 shots inside the arc, while shooting just 27% from 3-point range. Lander also posted a turnover rate of 29.1%.
Had he remained at Evansville Reitz, Lander would have been among the frontrunners for Indiana Mr. Basketball this spring. Should he return to IU next season, it’s likely his role in the backcourt will increase.
Elsewhere in college basketball, news broke from multiple insiders that Shaka Smart is leaving Texas to return to his home state and take the Marquette position. That leaves a big ol’ hole to be filled by the Longhorns, who could have Texas Tech coach Chris Beard atop their shortlist. Beard is a Texas graduate and former student assistant in the UT basketball program.
Is/was Beard a candidate for the IU job? Who knows! Really, no one — not a single person! — seems to know anything concrete about the Indiana search as it nears the two-week mark. But it sure feels like there are more dots to connect between Lubbock and Austin right now, than Lubbock and Bloomington.
The Smart-to-Marquette news also means that one of the rumored destinations for very-much-still-employed Loyola Chicago coach Porter Moser is off the table. Could a Moser-Indiana marriage be enticing for both parties? Hey, we’re just asking questions here!
But for real. Perhaps we ought to crank out another candidate profile, eh?
Update: And there’s this: