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Indiana basketball season in review: Anthony Leal

Teammate Extraordinaire

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Miami (FL) vs Indiana Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Leal saw a little less playing in his junior year at Indiana than he did in his first two seasons, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still a massively successful season for the homegrown Hoosier.

Leal went viral this season for using his NIL money to pay off his sister’s student loans, a moment captured by his mom during their Christmas celebration. I highly recommend watching this video.

The reality of college sports is that not everybody plays, even if they are on scholarship at a major university. The transfer portal has given players at the end of the bench a chance to hunt playing time elsewhere, but it’s up to coaches to figure out how to keep all 13 scholarship guys happy.

Anthony Leal is sort of the platonic ideal for that 13th roster spot, a player who obviously contributes to the team’s culture and chemistry without any expectation of individual success or accolades.

He’s always the first guy on the bench hyping up his teammates, he’s never complained about his playing time and he’s stuck it out through a coaching change and some rough seasons.

Try as I might to avoid any of the cliches about a Bloomington kid playing for the Hoosiers, Leal just seems to Get It. He knows the value of a winning culture and what makes Indiana such a special place to play.

I’d never fault Anthony for following in the footsteps of Nathan Childress and heading somewhere that would find more minutes for him after he graduates from Indiana, should he choose to do so after his senior year.

Until then though, we should take a minute to appreciate what he brings to Indiana as a player and person, embodying exactly what you’d want in that last scholarship spot on a roster.