The 2020-21 Indiana University men’s basketball season is right around the corner. To help get you ready, The Daily Hoosier is profiling every scholarship player on the IU roster. Indiana’s season is expected to begin on Nov. 25.
The streak continued in 2020.
Indiana Mr. Basketball, meet Bloomington.
To be sure, local product Anthony Leal needed no introduction to the town he grew up in and the program he grew up a fan of in a family of season ticket holders.
For the third straight year, the player voted the top high school senior in Indiana is headed to IU. That’s a first.
And now Leal gets set to embark on living out his childhood dream.
- Height: 6-foot-5
- Weight: 210
- Position: Guard
- Class: Freshman
- Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana
- High School: Bloomington South
Leal is a 2020 graduate of Bloomington South High School, the same school that produced fan favorite Jordan Hulls. Leal led South to a perfect 27-0 record and a sectional title before the season was canceled.
South’s all-time leading scorer, Leal finished his career with 1,620 points. Leal was a first-team All-State choice, an Indiana All-Star, and he averaged 18.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a senior. An efficient scorer, Leal shot 59% from the field overall, including 37% from behind the arc. Leal made 76% of his free throws and added 2.8 assists and 2.2 steals per contest.
Leal was ranked No.127 nationally by Rivals and No. 143 by 247Sports.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Head coach Archie Miller on Leal —
“Great motor, awesome worker, fantastic student,” Miller said. “He’s a competitor, he really competes.”
Leal on what he is looking forward to as a freshman —
“Just being around the guys and being able to make myself uncomfortable and see just how good and how much better I’m able to get,” Leal said. “I think what excites me the most is just getting there and having a chance to compete.”
Armaan Franklin on Leal —
“Anthony is a knockdown shooter, big-body guard and can create when he needs to,” Franklin said.
Rob Phinisee on Leal —
“Anthony is a great shooter, he’s a great defender, he’s really smart, he listens and plays really hard,” Phinisee said.
WHAT 2020-21 SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
Miller’s quote above about Leal was not just a throw away comment.
Leal is a competitor. That word will come up whether you are talking to his coaches or teammates, or watching with your own eyes.
If there is a way to crack the rotation as a true freshman, Leal will find it.
The six man backcourt is crowded, no doubt about it. And most believe that Leal will start the season at the bottom of the depth chart among the guards.
But early on, a contest against Tennessee Tech and then a three games in three days stretch in Asheville should give the coaches plenty of early looks at Leal.
Moreover, Miller is committed to playing smaller, quicker lineups with three guards on the floor at least at times. Leal is going to get plenty of opportunities.
Leal told us last winter that hitting threes and playing defense would be his ticket to contributing early in his career, and that continues to make sense.
While IU has some shooters trending in the right direction coming off of last season, if Leal can knock down perimeter shots early in his career he will be difficult to keep out of the lineup.
The three guard approach is an intriguing opportunity for Leal because his most natural spot on both ends might be that third guard, or a smaller small forward in the traditional sense. Leal has good length and there are probably a lot of optimal matchups for him defensively when IU goes that route.
So what does it all mean for Leal in 2020-21? It is difficult to project until we see him in action at the high major level, but a stat line along these lines would not be surprising: 8 mpg, 3 ppg, 1 rpg, .7 apg, .5 spg, 44 fg%, 33 3fg%.
Much like his good friend Trey Galloway, Leal is going to bring some attitude and fight to the IU lineup. How soon that translates to wins is a fair question, but from day one you will see energy, fire and passion from Leal. That’s not something even worth mentioning on some teams, but for Indiana we think you will see a welcomed breath of fresh air in that regard.
Leal is smart. He will make the right reads on offense, and he’ll be in the right position on the other end. He will compete and he won’t take plays off. That kind of steady, reliable play should help him earn the trust of the coaching staff. Additionally, if Leal is on the floor, pumping his fist, and bringing more energy and fight to his teammates, those factors alone might be enough to call year one a success.
MORE 2020-21 PREVIEWS
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