“Things will be more competitive this season.”
That’s how IU coach Mike Woodson answered a question about the allocation of playing time at an alumni event in late May.
More competitive because Indiana has returned nearly 80 percent of its minutes played from a year ago while bringing in four freshmen who, to varying degrees, appear to be ready to play a role in November.
Woodson hopes the talented roster he has assembled, which is picked by many to win the Big Ten, will function like a rising tide that lifts everyone involved.
“Competition is good,” Woodson said. “If you’re scared of competition, then you shouldn’t play sports. I try to bring in enough talent to make it competitive in practice, because when you do that, everybody becomes a player if they work.”
Gone are four transfers out — Parker Stewart (UT Martin), Rob Phinisee (Cincinnati), Khristian Lander (Western Kentucky) and Michael Durr (UCF). And in their place are four freshmen Jalen Hood-Schifino, Malik Reneau, Kaleb Banks and C.J. Gunn.
The wave of predictions placing IU at the top of the Big Ten and in the top-25 in the country suggest folks believe the net result of the roster turnover has been a positive despite, the Hoosiers getting a bit younger. It’s a vote of confidence in a national top-10 group of first year players, along with the belief the returning nine can improve.
As we do each year around this time, we will attempt to allocate the available 200 minutes per game across all 13 scholarship players. With 13 starving for minutes, we don’t expect walk-ons to see the floor much, if at all. Last year walk-ons only played 11 minutes all season, so for the purpose of this exercise we’ll assume that number to be zero, and we’ll also assume no one takes a redshirt season.
Here goes nothing.
Trayce Jackson-Davis (30) – Indiana would do well to preserve Jackson-Davis for a late season push. 30 minutes per game would be his lowest since playing 29.4 as a freshman.
Xavier Johnson (27) – Johnson could play more, but he can get in foul trouble, and having Hood-Schifino means you can keep him fresh.
Race Thompson (22) – Thompson has averaged 28 per game each of the last two years, but he might be able to do more with less minutes from an efficiency standpoint.
Jalen Hood-Schifino (21) – The freshman point guard looks ready to have a prominent role from day one, whether as a starter or as one of the first off the bench. He can play the one or the two.
Tamar Bates (18) – Bates is a player everyone expects to take a step forward this year. He’ll have to make shots and defend at a high level to get past this number.
Malik Reneau (17) – Reneau is good enough to start at the high-major level. But supplanting multi-year starters is no small task. He’ll play plenty in any event.
Miller Kopp (16) – Kopp played 25 a game a year ago, and he could stay there if he shoots the ball at a high rate. His three spot is the toughest to call.
Trey Galloway (15) – A bit of wildcard, Galloway started some last year and could clearly end up playing more. But he’s coming off surgery.
Jordan Geronimo (14) – He may still be another year away from a major starting role, but Geronimo likely sees another increase in minutes over last year’s 12.6 per contest, and could see a lot more if his perimeter skills fast track.
Kaleb Banks (8) – The freshman combo forward is creating buzz and is likely to have some opportunities despite stiff competition. He certainly gives IU more frontcourt versatility.
Logan Duncomb (4) – He only turned 19 in April and may need to be patient this year. But there will no doubt be nights when Duncomb is asked to take on a meaningful role.
C.J. Gunn (4) – Gunn has skills Indiana needs and he could carve-out a bigger role. His minutes should grow incrementally over the next couple years.
Anthony Leal (4) – Leal has played more than twice as many minutes as this in each of his first two years. So we could end being off here.
How did we do? Play Mike Woodson for a day and share your allocation of 200 minutes in the comments below.
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