With a change at the top, Indiana is understandably recalibrating everything within the program.
When it comes to recruiting targets, that means taking a fresh look at who has been offered a scholarship to this point, as well assessing the top available prospects still on the board.
With two new assistant coaches on the the staff in Yasir Rosemond and Dane Fife, IU now has connections it didn’t have, and in large part because of that we’ve seen a wave of class of 2022 offers over the last few weeks.
With clear mutual interest when Archie Miller was still the head coach, 2022 forward Alex Karaban was generally thought to be at or near the top of Indiana’s priority list in the class a couple months ago.
After watching Karaban compete this weekend in Westfield, Ind. with his Expressions Elite Nike EYBL AAU program, it is readily apparent why the IU program has been involved for well over a year. The versatile prospect was one of the top players at an event loaded with talent.
The 6-foot-7 Karaban is a very high level perimeter shooter and he complements that strength with the ability to put the ball on the floor and score in the mid range and in the paint, either playing the post or off the bounce. Karaban is probably best thought of as a combo-forward, with wing skills but also a player who would fit the stretch four role well at the next level. He will be able to create a lot of matchup challenges for opponents.
Karaban brings a set of intangibles to the game that will likely push him more to the modern power forward role at the high major level. He plays with the kind of toughness, physicality and motor that will allow him to compete at the four even if he is a bit undersized there in certain matchups. He hunts rebounds aggressively, and Karaban moves laterally well enough to guard multiple positions in college.
Fellow New Hampton School product and former Indiana assistant coach Mike Roberts had been Karaban’s primary point of contact with Indiana. On Monday it was announced that Roberts was leaving IU to take an assistant coach position at Cincinnati under his old boss Wes Miller. That means IU has an additional step in the process with Karaban if it wants to remain a contender as it looks to build a relationship with him with a new assistant coach.
So far the conversations with new head coach Mike Woodson have been limited.
“I talked to Coach Woodson one time three weeks ago, it was like a five minute call,” Karaban told The Daily Hoosier on Sunday.
But that limited dialogue is more about Indiana getting organized than a lack of interest on either side. That is something that Karaban understands. But he also knows that Indiana’s new staff continues to be interested.
“My offer is definitely still good with them,” Karaban said. “They haven’t been reaching out as consistently as they were when Archie was there. But I think it’s the same thing, they still like my game.”
It will be a feeling out process for both sides, and for Karaban, that means better understanding the system and style under Woodson. As an NBA fan growing up in Massachusetts, former Knicks head coach Woodson is someone who Karaban is familiar with. And while he hasn’t heard directly from the IU staff on how they plan to play, he has a good sense for what to expect.
“I haven’t heard from them about their style yet and what Coach Woodson has done, but as an NBA coach I assume it will be something I would enjoy playing in, which is good,” Karaban said. “As a Celtics fan I definitely knew who he was.”
Change in this relationship isn’t limited to Indiana. Karaban announced last week that he is transferring from New Hampton to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior season of high school. There he will play on the post-graduate team for head coach Chad Myers.
“Coach Meyers has a great plan set for me there,” Karaban said. “The competition, the training, I think it is going to be like a year of college without being in college. It will make me a better player.”
In addition to IU, Karaban has a long list of offers including Purdue, Boston College, Creighton, Georgetown, Harvard, Iowa State, Marquette, Penn State, Penn, Providence, Stanford, Virginia Tech and Xavier. He is a 4-star prospect ranked No. 73 overall in the class of 2022 by the 247Sports Composite.
If he keeps playing like he did this weekend, his offer list and rankings will only improve. And the bottom line is this when it comes to IU — Karaban still wants to be recruited by the new staff.
“Yeah, I’m cool with Indiana,” he said.
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