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Indiana men’s basketball: Scouting the Hoosiers’ newcomers in 2023-24

Here’s what the Hoosiers have added to their roster for next season.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Kent State vs Indiana David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana men’s basketball lost four members of its starting five following the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.

  • Trayce Jackson-Davis (Graduation/NBA)
  • Race Thompson (Graduation/Professional career)
  • Miller Kopp (Graduation/Professional career)
  • Jalen Hood-Schifino (NBA)

Beyond that, a few members of the bench elected to pursue opportunities elsewhere in the transfer portal.

  • F Logan Duncomb (Xavier)
  • F Jordan Geronimo (Maryland)
  • G Tamar Bates (Missouri)

That’s a total of 7 losses one way or another. The highest share of returning minutes belongs to Trey Galloway, who averaged 27.7 per game last season stepping up for Xavier Johnson, who will return to the Hoosiers after being granted an additional year of eligibility. After Galloway? Malik Reneau with 14.9.

Johnson’s return will serve as a stabilizer with the point guard being among the most experienced players in the country, but Indiana will look almost entirely different next year.

Losing players doesn’t have to be a bad thing, necessarily. Open roster spots can and should be used as opportunities for addition rather than pure losses, and that’s exactly what Mike Woodson and co. did.

Indiana already had two incoming freshmen guards, Gabe Cupps and Jakai Newton, then proceeded to add some interesting pieces in the transfer portal and beat out Kansas to sign top-10 freshman and Duke decommit Mackenzie Mgbako.

We’ve broken down what each player brings individually in separate pieces linked below. We’ll have more on how they’ll look on the court together soon.

(NOTE: Indiana has one remaining scholarship spot heading into 2022-23. Should the Hoosiers make one last addition, we’ll list that here.)

Kel’el Ware - C (Oregon)

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ware is a former Top-10 recruit and McDonald’s All-American who spent his freshman season with Oregon.

Once projected as a potential lottery pick, Ware’s stock plummeted as his play became inconsistent. He has all the talent and ability necessary for a modern center, and he chose Mike Woodson to help him get there.

Payton Sparks - F (Ball State)

Syndication: The Star Press Robby General / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sparks grew up in Indiana and has fond memories of cheering on the Hoosiers from his living room. His recruitment was slightly derailed by COVID-19, and he elected to play at nearby Ball State.

After spending his sophomore year under former Hoosier Michael Lewis, Sparks became a Hoosier himself this past offseason.

Anthony Walker - F (Miami)

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Practice Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Miami ended Indiana’s season in the NCAA Tournament because the Hurricanes had a few things the Hoosiers lacked, namely consistent 3-point shooting and plenty of athleticism up and down the roster.

So, looking to make up that difference, Indiana secured a commitment from one of The U’s reserve forwards.

Gabe Cupps - G (Centerville, OH)

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Joseph Scheller/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The return of Xavier Johnson is massive for Indiana as a whole, but his importance for Cupps cannot be understated.

Cupps is a talented point guard out of Ohio who chose the Hoosiers well over a year ago and has been helping Indiana’s recruiting efforts ever since. He’ll have an opportunity to learn from older players like Johnson and Trey Galloway as he looks to be Indiana’s point guard of the future.

Jakai Newton - G (Covington, GA)

Newton has been recovering from an injury but looks to be ready ahead of next season.

He may need some time to develop with depth ahead of him, but Newton brings plenty of athleticism to Indiana’s backcourt as Mike Woodson builds for the future.

Mackenzie Mgbako - F/W (Gladstone, NJ)

High School Basketball: McDonald’s All American Boy s Game Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The final addition to Indiana’s 2023 freshman class was the biggest of all: Top-10 recruit and former Duke commit Mackenzie Mgbako.

Indiana beat out Kansas in a tense recruiting battle to secure Mgbako’s signature on a condensed timeline after the wing decommitted from Duke. He looks to be a huge part of the Hoosiers’ offense in 2023-24.