That’s A Wrap: Kaleb Banks

  • 04/19/2024 7:58 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2023-24 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Kaleb Banks.

Banks (21 games): 2.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 39.2 FG% in 10.6 minutes per game.

Previously: Gabe Cupps, Mackenzie Mgbako, Malik Reneau, Kel’el Ware

After a freshman season where he flashed potential as an energy piece off the bench, hopes were high for Kaleb Banks entering his second season in Bloomington.

A 6-foot-8 forward from Hampton, Georgia, Banks was the No. 96 ranked recruit nationally in the 2022 RSCI rankings. One of the first high school recruits to commit to the Hoosiers under Mike Woodson in the summer of 2021, the potential never materialized for Banks in Bloomington.

Early in his sophomore season, it appeared Banks would be a regular part of the IU rotation. He logged double-figure minutes in 13 of IU’s first 13 games.

The high marks for Banks came in wins against Louisville at Madison Square Garden and Kennesaw State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

In the victory against the Cardinals, Banks logged 25 minutes and stuffed the stat sheet. He finished with four points, eight rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and three steals in a game the Hoosiers had to come from behind to win.

A little over a month later, Banks scored in double figures for the first and only time in an IU uniform against the Owls. The Georgia native had 12 points to go along with five rebounds and an assist in a 100-87 win.

However, after logging double-figure minutes against Nebraska and Ohio State to open the new calendar year, Banks disappeared from the rotation.

Over Indiana’s final 18 games, Banks logged 21 minutes. In 12 of those contests, he never entered the game.

So what happened?

As the rotation tightened in the heart of conference play, Banks was the odd man out. Freshman Mackenzie Mgbako’s minutes, a starter all season, began to take even more minutes as his defense improved and more of his shots started to fall down the stretch. Anthony Walker was a better option than Banks in the eyes of the coaching staff because of his athleticism and experience.

Banks also needed to do more to instill confidence that he could be counted on when he played regularly for the season’s first two months. His inefficient shooting numbers were a big part of the problem. He shot 25 percent on 3s (20 attempts) and 47.4 percent from the free throw line (19 attempts). Inside the arc, he connected at just a 48.4 percent clip on 2s.

Unsurprisingly, Banks entered his name into the transfer portal after the season. Without a clear role for the future and the Hoosiers adding more wing talent from the portal, Banks will now seek a new home where he can play regularly for his final seasons of eligibility.

Bottom Line: Banks has yet to pick a new school and is the lone Hoosier remaining in the transfer portal as of Friday morning. He has talent to unlock and needs an opportunity to get minutes to realize his potential. At Indiana, that opportunity wasn’t going to be realized, so he made the correct decision to move on from the program.

Quotable: “The beauty about this summer, a lot of these guys, they stuck around and they put in the work, especially CJ and Kaleb Banks. I’m expecting more out of them. They’re not freshmen anymore. I need more. We need it as a ballclub. They’re working in that area. They’ve done some pretty good things this summer for us. But we still as a team, we have a ways to go yet.” – Mike Woodson at media day last fall when asked about the offseason development of his sophomore class.

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