Jalen Hood-Schifino was the highest rated recruit Mike Woodson had ever signed when he first committed to Indiana in August 2021, then considered the third best combo guard in the country and fifth best player in his home state of Florida.
While the rankings have been through a few different iterations since then, Hood-Schifino remains a top 25 player nationally and will come to Bloomington as the highest-ranked player in the tenth best recruiting class in the country in 2022.
He’s listed as a combo guard, but saw most of his minutes at the point guard position for Montverde Academy, where he played alongside fellow IU commit Malik Reneau and 2023 prospect Kwame Evans Jr., an Indiana target.
He can make accurate passes at full speed and possesses a basketball IQ reminiscent of Jason Kidd, according to Mike Woodson’s recent appearance on Hoosier Hysterics.
He’s certainly capable of playing off-ball though, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play alongside Xavier Johnson at points and possibly another guard.
In the last five games of last season, Woodson played with three guards for 44% of Indiana’s possessions, which should stand to increase with this infusion of talent to the backcourt. Especially if Miller Kopp, who got the 56% of the possessions in three slot, doesn’t show improvement over last season.
At 6’5, 210, Hood-Schifino is coming in with a Big Ten ready body, which should ease concerns that he wouldn’t live up to his five-star status. He’s not going to blow by defenders, but he’s also generally not going to get knocked off the ball and will be able to get to his spot when he drives.
He was definitely a pass-first guard on the loaded Montverde roster, but has shown nice scoring touch at the rim and has a solid mid-range jumper. In a speech earlier today at Huber Winery, Woodson named Hood-Schifino as one of the players who he believes can be a boost behind the 3-point line, per the Herald Bulletin.
Hood-Schifino was not known as a sharpshooter in high school, but he’s showing improvement in that area. In the Jordan Brand Classic Game this spring, he hit 3 of 7 shots from deep, including some contested shots and some from NBA range.
Hood-Schifino also projects to be a good defender at the college level with his size and lateral quickness. Against elite competition at Montverde Academy, he’s demonstrated an ability to guard the one through three slots - basically anyone who isn’t a power forward. In the Geico National Championship Game, he recorded two steals in just 29 minutes during a game where he was hampered by a finger injury and could not attempt any shots.
Notably, Hood-Schifino is coming in with experience winning games at the highest levels of high school basketball. Following Montverde’s victory over IMG Academy in the Geico National Championship, teammate Dariq Whitehead said, “He don’t care about stats. All he cares about is winning,” as reported in the Herald Bulletin.
Regardless of whether Hood-Schifino arrives to Bloomington as a college-ready shooter, Indiana fans should be excited about his ability to immediately impact the offense as a scorer and passer. He’ll also probably fare a little better than most incoming freshman in the transition to college defense due to his sheer size and athleticism.
Plus, as a two time high school national champion, we know he’s a winner.