As is to be expected, the April college basketball recruiting live period came and went with a flurry of activity.
After an exhausting weekend watching recruits virtually nonstop, the Indiana coaching staff has followed that up by watching workouts, conducting in-home visits and issuing scholarship offers this week.
Embedded in all of this activity are a lot of clues, both about the near and long-term path of the IU basketball program.
THE WRITING SEEMS TO BE ON THE WALL WITH THE CLASS OF 2019
As it stands right now, IU has two open scholarships on its 2019-20 roster. It is appearing more and more likely that that those openings will remain, meaning that the Hoosiers could have at least four scholarships to play with in the class of 2020. That could have played a part in explaining why some of the offers were extended this week.
While Miller did manage to secure a late in home visit with 2019 target Trendon Watford, all of the national buzz right now surrounding his recruitment has him going everywhere but Indiana. You can find national recruiting analysts suggesting that Memphis, LSU and Alabama are all likely landing spots, but no one has him leaning towards Indiana.
The lead recruiting analyst for 247Sports on Watford just predicted LSU as the likely destination yesterday, and as of right now that appears to be the consensus view with an announcement likely coming very soon.
While his final two appears to be down to IU and Memphis, don’t read IU’s other remaining primary 2019 target Lester Quinones as a 50/50 proposition to land in Bloomington. Indiana has clearly made up a lot of ground fast in this recruitment, but with Penny Hardaway pushing hard ($) it looks like the Hoosiers still have a major gap to bridge.
It appears that unless Memphis runs out of scholarships before his May 10 announcement date, Quinones will be a Tiger.
The one remaining variable for the class of 2019 right now seems to be the graduate transfer market. IU has already picked up Joey Brunk for next year, and of course another name or two could emerge late. But most of the big ticket players have been locked up, or are apparently not a serious candidate for Indiana right now.
Save for adding a few walk-ons, it could just be that IU’s roster for the 2019-20 season is what it is right now.
MILLER IS STILL “ALL IN” ON INSIDE OUT
It was a day one promise, and head coach Archie Miller is standing behind it. Recruiting the Hoosier state is still a major point of emphasis under the now third year head coach.
And as it stands right now and excluding Romeo Langford, six of the twelve players on IU’s 2019-20 roster are from the state of Indiana.
While a roster full of native Hoosiers is no guarantee of success, and could seemingly be taken too far, we’ve discussed why it is important to capitalize on the organic advantage that is the basketball talent within Indiana’s borders.
To be sure, Miller started more “outside-in” than “inside-out” with the 2020 class, offering seven out-of-state players before an in-state offer was extended.
But with offers to players like Bloomington’s Anthony Leal and Culver’s Trey Galloway this week, it is clear that Miller is not backing away from the strategy. And those offers are on the heels of a 2019 recruiting class that is thus far three-for-three on native Hoosiers.
Of his nine commits (including graduate transfers) as the head coach at Indiana, six have been Indiana kids.
And even in years like 2020 when at least on paper the local talent isn’t at its best relative to other years, Miller is continuing to prioritize the state. His ultimate success or failure at IU is largely going to hinge on the performance of Indiana kids.
TAKING THE LONG TERM VIEW
With pun fully intended, it is getting old hearing about “getting old and staying old” in college basketball circles right now.
That said, as long as the narrative is backed up by outcomes like we saw during the 2018-19 season, you can anticipate hearing about it much more.
When you offer a Leal or Galloway, you are not doing it with the anticipation of a year one splash. Could it happen? Of course. But by all accounts, these are four year guys. Armaan Franklin appears to be a four year guy. The same is seemingly true for Rob Phinisee and Damezi Anderson.
Indiana is chasing a variety of targets in the 2020 class, but most of them appear destined to reach their junior year of college.
But there is a bit of a catch-22 there.
By the time a Leal or Galloway would be upperclassmen, it will be year six for Miller. The obvious question then becomes — does Miller have the time to get old and stay old before his act gets old in the eyes of the Hoosier faithful?
Of course perhaps Phinisee, Anderson and Franklin could get things rolling sooner, perhaps in year four or five.
Director of Athletics Fred Glass has stated on the record that he is in it for the long term with Miller for what he coined a “serious rebuild,” but if Miller cannot show progress between now and year six, the calls for change in Bloomington will be at a fever pitch.
Somewhere in that four to six year window is the answer — but we are watching the pieces of it all unfold right now in 2019.
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