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Lander announces he’s on board with IU’s new staff

Rising sophomore guard is the latest Hoosier to remove name from NCAA Transfer Portal

Illinois v Indiana Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

One hour after news broke Monday that former IU guard Dane Fife was leaving Michigan State to join new Indiana head coach Mike Woodson’s staff, the Hoosiers received even more good news related to their backcourt.

Former five-star guard Khristian Lander announced via Twitter that he is removing his name from the NCAA Transfer Portal and returning to Bloomington for a second season.

“After much thought with Coach Woodson and my family, I feel it is in my best interest to continue my basketball and academic career with Indiana University,” Lander said. “I want to be one of the reasons Indiana Basketball gets back to being great again. I’m putting my trust into my team, Coach Woodson, and the staff he is assembling.”

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, Lander struggled to seize more opportunities within IU’s rotation. The youngest member of IU’s roster, Lander 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%.

While Lander’s first season at IU never fully got off the ground, it’s his upside that Woodson and company will be aiming to tap into moving forward. Lander, who would’ve been among the frontrunners for Indiana Mr. Basketball this spring had he remained at Evansville Reitz, will push rising senior Rob Phinisee for the starting job entering next season.

With Lander back in the fold, IU is still waiting on transfer decisions from Armaan Franklin, Race Thompson and Jordan Geronimo.