With the 2022-23 season coming to a close and plenty of experience leaving the roster, Indiana men’s basketball has its work cut out for it in the transfer portal as the Hoosiers look to prepare for next year,
But head coach Mike Woodson has been here before, plucking Xavier Johnson and Michael Durr from the transfer portal prior to his first season with the program. The former proved critical to Indiana’s NCAA Tournament berth while the latter had a key role in the Hoosiers’ win over Purdue.
Here’s what we think Indiana is gonna need in the portal:
First thing’s first before three things and it’s how much space the Hoosiers have to begin with. As of the writing of this piece, Indiana will have four confirmed open spots for scholarships on next year’s roster.
- Trayce Jackson-Davis
- Race Thompson
- Miller Kopp
- Logan Duncomb
That number can increase to five with another portal entry, the rejection of Xavier Johnson’s injury waiver or freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino’s entry into the NBA Draft, where he is highly expected to be a first round pick.
Two of those spots will be taken by incoming freshmen Gabe Cupps and Jakai Newton, leaving Indiana with two definite scholarship spots. Those could be filled through the transfer portal or a last minute signing from high school, not unlike last year’s commitment from Malik Reneau.
Experience in the frontcourt
Both members of Indiana’s starting frontcourt, Jackson-Davis and Thompson, will be off of Indiana’s roster next year. The returning experience consists of Jordan Geronimo and rising sophomore Malik Reneau.
This is factoring in Duncomb’s entry into the transfer portal.
That’s just not a lot to go off of as Woodson in all likelihood looks to move away from starting two back-to-the-basket bigs moving forward, having never centered his offense around a post player in his coaching career until he had Jackson-Davis and it became a necessity.
Indiana should, and likely will, look to open things up with a stretch four. That could come from the portal or from the development of Reneau, Banks or as a wildcard in Geronimo.
Jackson-Davis can’t be replaced, but I would expect Indiana to see experience in the post as Reneau continues to develop. There’s also the case of Kaleb Banks, whose potential was lauded by coaches and teammates leading up to last season.
This isn’t below frontcourt experience because I view it as less important, I’d actually say it’s as important.
Indiana’s go-to shooter in 2022-23 was Miller Kopp, who has since graduated. There were other options in Tamar Bates and as Trey Galloway developed his shot, but the latter went through a cold streak in the last few months and the former seldom took shots, with his percentage being boosted by the quality of those he took.
There is no go-to option on next year’s roster, barring a jump from Bates, Galloway, C.J. Gunn or, stop me if you’ve heard this name already, Banks. Indiana could use that as it looks to develop shooting down the depth chart from the guys listed above.
That’s what Kopp was brought in to do, shoot from the perimeter and defend. It’s why he started. Indiana could develop shooters while it had one, and Galloway’s performance this season was the result.
If I were Indiana, I’d want at least one go-to guy for peace of mind rather than banking on development. Provide some spacing for the new frontcourt to get to work.
Indiana’s lack of guard depth as the season wore on exposed the Hoosiers against versatile teams, culminating in postseason losses to teams like Penn State and Miami.
That’s not entirely Indiana’s fault though, it was without Johnson for most of the season due to an injury suffered against Kansas. That being said, Galloway was just one guy and he didn’t have nearly enough help.
That problem will get worse if Indiana’s current depth doesn’t take a leap, if Johnson’s injury waiver is denied and/or Hood-Schifino enters the NBA Draft. The third scenario feels all but certain, so adding an experience to help take the weight off of whoever starts at point guard next year is a no-brainer.