BLOOMINGTON, IN - February 07, 2023 - Indiana Hoosiers Head Coach Mike Woodson during the game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Indiana Hoosiers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN. Photo By PJG#2

Checking in on the IU basketball roster and remaining options after the Mgbako visit

It’s hard to believe we are still knee deep in roster construction scenarios here in the second week of May.  But that’s where things stand at the moment.

For the optimists, there’s this — Indiana still has a chance to put together a Big Ten title contending, deep run in March kind of team.

And for the pessimists, well, there’s still a chance the outlook won’t be anywhere near that rosy when the season tips in November.

When it comes to completing the IU basketball roster for the 2023-24 season — that is now just six months away — here’s where things stand on Monday morning, May 8.


In just a few weeks most of the uncertainty should be behind us.  That’s because there are a few key dates in the month of May that should bring clarity.

The first is this Thursday, May 11.  That’s the last day for players to enter the transfer portal.  By now just about anyone who intends to transfer is likely already in the portal, but there is one group worth monitoring this week.  Players who have put their name in the NBA Draft might also want the flexibility to transfer should they decide to return to college.

We recently saw two players, discussed further below, who put their name in the portal while they continue to evaluate their draft potential.  And there still could be more.  There are certainly players who have placed their name in the draft, are not currently in the portal, who IU would formally pursue if they became available.  You may have even heard some of those names.  Here is the full NBA Draft early entrant list if you’re interested.  Or let’s just wait and see if anyone of note hits the portal this week.

For those staying in the draft, the combine is next week, and then on May 31 early entrants must decide to either stay in the draft or return to college.

It’s worth noting, once a player is in the portal there is no fixed date when they must either pick a new team or return to their current team.  So the recruiting of portal players can go on into the summer, at least in theory.

On June 1, IU wants its new players to arrive on campus to begin classes and workouts.  Obviously that might be too quick of a turn for some who go deep into the draft process, but it at least gives you a sense for how this should all come together in the coming weeks.


Indiana has pretty good positional balance right now.  Here’s where they currently stand based on the traditional roster positions.  Obviously some players could fit in different spots.

  • Point guard – Xavier Johnson, Gabe Cupps
  • Shooting guard – Trey Galloway, Jakai Newton
  • Small forward – C.J. Gunn, Kaleb Banks, Anthony Leal
  • Power forward – Malik Reneau, Anthony Walker
  • Center – Kel’el Ware, Payton Sparks

What’s currently missing from that group is one or two proven volume scorers on the perimeter.  And that brings us to the remaining options.


The closest thing Indiana has going to a commitment right now seems to 6-foot-8 class of 2023 New Jersey based combo-forward Mackenzie Mgbako, who just wrapped up a weekend official visit to Bloomington.  He could play either forward spot, with Indiana’s greatest need right now at the three.

Mgbako and his family appear to have had a good visit at IU.  At worst, the IU staff has given him something to think about.  At best, the Hoosiers have a strong chance with the national top-10 and 5-star prospect.

Andrew Slater is reporting Mgbako is scheduled to take an official visit to Louisville this weekend.  It isn’t clear how much heavy lifting that word “scheduled” is doing right now.  But let’s go with the idea that this is a four-team race involving the four schools Mgbako has or will visit.

Who has the best case?

St. John’s has the homecourt advantage, and there have been some who say proximity to home matters.  Rick Pitino is trying to rebuild the Red Storm in a hurry, but he’s also a proven college coach, and there’s little doubt he’ll turn things around quickly.

Kansas has the most current prestige of the four.  That seemed to matter the first time around when Mgbako committed to Duke over Kentucky a year ago.  The Jayhawks are just a year removed from a national title, and NBA-bound forward Jalen Wilson seems like pretty good footprints for Mgbako to follow.

Indiana is no slouch when it comes to prestige either, and their best selling point might be the clear available minutes for Mgbako at the small forward position.  And he could play off Xavier Johnson, who has averaged 5.0 assists for his career, and Kel’el Ware, who projects to draw plenty of attention.

Louisville has perhaps the best connection to Mgbako with assistant coach Nolan Smith, who helped convince him to commit to Duke in 2022.

Wherever Mgbako goes, we’re at a point now where it won’t be long until he decides.

For more background on Mgbako GO HERE.


As of Monday morning Indiana has two open scholarships for the 2023-24 roster.  There is no requirement to fill the openings of course, but even if they were to land Mgbako you can expect the Hoosiers to continue to selectively go after high caliber perimeter scorers.

Who are the main options?

Jordan Dingle – The Penn guard is on a dual-track right now.  He’s been training for the NBA Draft and has a workout with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.  But Dingle is expected to take college visits too.  Dingle has been on the IU radar for months.  He’s the Ivy League player of the year, has a Big Ten body, and would seemingly be the ideal backcourt complement to Xavier Johnson.  If Indiana can get Dingle on campus for an official visit in the coming weeks it will be the next big recruitment to follow.

For more background on Dingle, GO HERE.

RayJ Dennis – The Toledo guard is also a conference player of the year, and he’s also still considering the NBA.  Dennis is more of a point guard, so he’d have to be okay with sharing the floor with Johnson.  Two point guard lineups are nothing new in college basketball, especially if one is like Dennis, who plays with a scoring mentality.  Much like Dingle, it all hinges on whether IU can bring in Dennis for a visit.

For more background on Dennis, GO HERE.

Other NBA Draft withdrawals – Dingle and Dennis are the main two portal prospects for IU at this point, but as mentioned above, there still could be players in the draft who the staff pursues in the coming days.  Stay tuned.

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