MIke Woodson now has the fifth-best recruiting class in the country for 2022. For that, he can thank Jalen Hood-Schifino.
A four-star combo guard from Florida, Hood-Schifino announced his commitment to Indiana on Tuesday, giving the Hoosiers once of the most skilled backcourt players in the current recruiting cycle. According to the 247 Sports Composite rankings, Hood-Schifino is considered the No. 23 overall player in the country, the No. 3 combo guard and the No. 6 overall prospect from his home state.
Lead recruiter Kenya Hunter, who’s entering his second season on the IU coach staff, helped make inroads during the Hoosiers’ pursuit of the former Pittsburgh commit. But it was Woodson and his resume at the NBA level that ultimately led Hood-Schifino to choose IU over Tennessee this week.
“Coach Woodson, this is his first year in college. He’s a former NBA guy,” Hood-Schifino said after announcing his decision on CBS Sports HQ. “He’s been at the highest level and that’s where I want to go. When I get (to IU), he’s going to push me every day and I know the development is going to be great.”
IU now has three commitments for 2022, holding additional pledges from three-star Lawrence North shooting guard CJ Gunn and three-star Georgia wing Kaleb Banks. Gunn, the No. 141 player nationally, originally committed to Indiana’s former coaching staff this past winter before re-upping with Woodson.
In Hood-Schifino, IU has a player who can play on or off the ball, having demonstrated his versatility and ability to enhance his teammates’ games during his run at the powerhouse prep program at Montverde Academy.
“I think point guard is going to be fine for him, if that’s where he wants to play and that’s where Indiana sees him best,” 247 Sports analyst Eric Bossi said on CBS Sports HQ. “The biggest thing is he’s a team guy and he gets other people involved. Now, he can go and score and get you some buckets if you need him to, but that’s not really his calling card. I think his calling card is just the way he makes other people better.
“I think (there’s an) advantage of having played at Montverde with so many talented guys; being a younger guy who, on a lot of other teams, would have played all the minutes and gotten all the shots — he’s had to come off the bench at times. The ability to come in and play with other more experienced and more talented players is a really huge thing for a young guy moving from high school to college.”
Bossi, like other analysts, sees clear NBA potential in Hood-Schifino’s game, making the prospect’s decision to partner with Woodson and IU a natural one for all parties.
“I think we can see Jalen become a little more consistent as a deep jump shooter,” Bossi said. “The ability to shoot the 3 is such a valuable and important part of the NBA level these days. Maybe show a little more explosiveness off the dribble. He’s a strong guy. He can overwhelm guys at times. He’s not slow by any means, but there’s a whole other layer of quickness when you get to the NBA level. Showing that separation and being able to consistently get his shoulders around guys (in the Big Ten will be big).
“But in terms of principles, being able to be coached and pick up on high-level concepts, he’s got all that. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning those things he’s got and taking things to another level. That’s a big part of why he wanted to play for a coach with the NBA experience that MIke Woodson has because who better to show you what to do and how to fix those things than a guy who just got done coaching in the NBA.”