When Mike Woodson first took the Indiana men’s basketball head coaching job back in 2021, he believed his Hoosiers deserved to be at the table with the best talent in the nation. He wanted Indiana involved with the likes of Kansas, Kentucky
The coaching staff bristled somewhat, believing the program had work to do before making a push like that. Nevertheless, Woodson went on with recruiting five-star talent for the Hoosiers.
The first was Jalen Hood-Schifino. After seeing him play and being reminded of Jason Kidd, who he coached with the New York Knicks, Woodson indicated to his staff that Indiana had to get him.
Months later, Hood-Schifino committed, doing so before Woodson had coached his first game in Assembly Hall. The No. 4 highest-rated recruit in program history per 247Sports, Hood-Schifino was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023 NBA Draft following a Big Ten Freshman of the Year season.
A few dominos started to fall afterward. Indiana has since added Malik Reneau, Kel’el Ware and Mackenzie Mgbako. Reneau was a high school teammate of Hood-Schifino, joining Indiana after decommitting from Florida. Ware was a top-10 recruit in 2023 who transferred after spending his freshman year with Oregon.
Mgbako is arguably the biggest get so far, having chosen Mike Woodson and Indiana over Bill Self and Kansas in a two-way battle following a decommitment from Duke.
Now Indiana is set to host multiple high-caliber recruits in September, starting with a big first weekend when Indiana football takes on Ohio State. Three 2025 prospects, Jalen Haralson, Malachi Moreno and Darius Adams, will be in Bloomington.
Haralson is a five-star combo guard (No. 2 CG, No. 8 prospect per 247Sports) in the class of 2025 out of Fishers currently playing for La Lumiere. Moreno is a four-star center (No. 7 C, No. 57 prospect) out of Kentucky. Adams is a five-star combo guard (No. 5 CG, No. 22 prospect) originally from New Jersey who plays for La Lumiere alongside Haralson.
Also on campus is Hood-Schifino, who signed the program’s alumni wall.
Hood-Schifino has been pointed to as an example for future prospects and has said multiple times that Indiana’s staff kept the promises it made when he was a recruit.
Aside from the 2025 trio, Indiana has multiple 2024 prospects lined up for visits. This includes five-star Liam McNeeley (No. 3 SF, No. 8 overall), five-star Derik Queen (No. 3 C, No. 10 prospect), four-star Curtis Givens III (No. 5 PG, No. 59 prospect), four-star Austin Swartz (No. 8 SG, No. 44 prospect) and four-star Annor Boateng (No. 11 SF, No. 29 prospect).
McNeeley, Queen, and Givens III are teammates at Montverde Academy, the alma mater of Hood-Schifino and Reneau. Boateng hails from Little Rock, Arkansas, a hometown he shares with Kel’el Ware. Among their teammates is 2024 No. 1 prospect and likely future No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Cooper Flagg, who is originally from Mackenzie Holmes’ home state of Maine.
A common theme among prospects in communication with Indiana’s staff is the friendly, welcoming nature of Woodson and the program. Woodson’s NBA background and player development of Hood-Schifino and Trayce Jackson-Davis come into play as well.
On the NIL front, it’s worth noting that every scholarship member of Indiana’s 2023-24 roster has signed with Hoosiers For Good, an official collective of the Indiana Athletics department.
One way or another, September will be a huge month for the Indiana men’s basketball program to showcase itself to the high-caliber talent the Hoosiers need to compete at the highest level.