Lack of 2024 recruiting success to place more pressure on IU’s transfer portal pursuits

  • 02/22/2024 1:34 pm in

The transfer portal for college basketball opens on Monday, March 18, the day after Selection Sunday for the NCAA tournament.

And Indiana, after landing just one commitment in the class of 2024 thus far, will need a strong portal season to build a roster for the 2024-25 season.

The Hoosier staff aggressively recruited the 2024 class for more than two years and signed McDonald’s All-American Liam McNeeley last fall.

But with Derik Queen’s recent commitment to Maryland, Indiana’s remaining 2024 recruiting options are dwindling.

In the last three recruiting cycles, Indiana has landed a spring commitment from a high school player following a coaching change. But the program can’t count on that happening again. A reclassification from a 2025 prospect could also occur, but that, too, is something that shouldn’t be counted on.

Looking more closely at Indiana’s 2024 recruiting efforts, the Hoosiers offered 31 high school prospects, according to the database at 247Sports. Ten of those prospects are currently ranked inside the top 30.

Mike Woodson spoke last spring at Huber’s Winery in Borden, Indiana, about his mandate to his staff to target the best prospects in the country.

“I told them that I wanted to be able to sit at the table with the best players, and compete with the Kentucky’s, the Kansas’s, the Duke’s, teams like that,” Woodson said. “And all (recruits) can do is tell us no. But we got to get there, and we’ve been able to get there some, so it’s kind of nice.”

Unfortunately for Woodson, most recruits told the Hoosiers no in 2024. Along with the miss on Queen, the Hoosiers also failed to land point guard Boogie Fland, who committed to Kentucky in the fall.

The lack of committed players for next season will place an even greater emphasis on the transfer portal, where all of the top programs will be battling for the best players.

Indiana’s portal success thus far under Woodson has been mixed.

The program signed Xavier Johnson, Miller Kopp and Michael Durr in 2021. Johnson and Kopp were multi-year starters, but Durr transferred after one season.

In 2022, no players were added to the IU roster from the portal as the Hoosiers returned most of their roster and added four freshmen.

This past offseason, Indiana signed one of the top available transfers in Kel’el Ware and added Anthony Walker and Payton Sparks. Ware has been one of the best frontcourt players in the Big Ten, but the impact of Walker and Sparks has been minimal.

While it’s unclear how many spots Indiana needs to fill this spring, there are clear needs from a roster construction perspective.

The Hoosiers need a starting point guard and multiple shooters for next season, even with McNeeley coming into the fold. There will likely be frontcourt needs, too, with Ware potentially exploring his NBA draft stock.

There’s also the possibility that the Hoosiers will need to replace current players with eligibility remaining who could opt to transfer.

After a recent loss to Purdue at Mackey Arena, Woodson acknowledged that Indiana will need to “add some pieces” this offseason.

With less than four weeks until the transfer portal opens, it won’t be long until the search for those pieces begins.

Filed to: