Ball State transfer Payton Sparks commits to Indiana

Ball State transfer forward Payton Sparks has committed to Indiana.

The Winchester, Ind. product announced the news on his Twitter page on Wednesday morning.

The 6-foot-9, and 240-pound Sparks averaged 13.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists for his sophomore season in Muncie.  He earned second team All-MAC Conference.

Primarily a post player, the left-handed Sparks shot 58.8 percent from the field overall in 2022-23, including 2-of-5 from three-point range.  He was third in the country in free throw rate (FTA/FGA), and 16th with 6.8 fouls drawn per 40 minutes.  Sparks shot 52.5 percent on 219 free throws this season after making 70.3 percent on 202 attempts a year ago.

In his first year in Muncie, Sparks was named the MAC Conference Freshman of the Year.

The decision by Sparks came quickly after he took a visit to Bloomington on Monday.  He chose the Hoosiers over interest from Dayton, Ohio State, Georgetown, Florida, and others.

After going through a physical transformation in high school, Sparks developed into a Division I talent at Winchester H.S. (between Muncie and the Ohio state line) and chose Ball State in 2020.  Indiana showed interest but did not offer a scholarship at the time.  Sparks entered the portal following the 2021-22 season and a coaching change in Muncie, but he chose to stay and play there this past season for former IU star Michael Lewis.

Sparks is IU’s first transfer portal addition during the offseason.  All of their activity has been in the class of 2021 so far, with the addition of Sparks, and the losses of Tamar Bates and Logan Duncomb.

Right now, Sparks joins sophomore Malik Reneau as IU’s main two players in the four and five spots next season.  Indiana lost Duncomb, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. The Hoosiers still have at least three scholarship openings as of Wednesday morning.

Sparks has two years of eligibility remaining.  Below are his sophomore season highlights.

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