Indiana has found the first of multiple new walk-ons that are likely to join the men’s basketball roster for the 2019-20 season.
With Zach McRoberts, Johnny Jager and Quentin Taylor all moving on after this season, the Hoosiers have open spots to bring in new valuable contributors to the program.
Zionsville, Ind. native Nathan Childress will be joining the IU team as a preferred walk-on next season, and he will be bringing with him a game that has seen major strides over the last few years.
And with that growth came a change in plans.
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds on the Zionsville roster, Childress had previously signed to play with NAIA Bethel College in November but decommitted a couple weeks ago as part of a process that ultimately saw him land with the Hoosiers.
His head coach Shaun Busick sees a strong athlete with a work ethic that has led to significant progress in his floor game.
“He is a very explosive player who has a developing perimeter game,” Busick told The Daily Hoosier. “He has worked extremely hard to improve his three-point shooting, ball handling and passing. He is also a good defender with quick feet.”
According to MaxPreps, Childress averaged 14.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks per game as a senior for a Zionsville team that finished the season 21-6 after falling in the regional finals to eventual state champion Carmel.
Teammates at Zionsville with Purdue bound Isaiah Thompson, Childress’ scoring average increased from 7.7 points as a sophomore to 12.2 as a junior.
But while the skills and point production have increased each year, at the core of Childress’ game is that explosive athlete. For an illustration, you can watch this highlight that garnered him ISC Sports Network’s play of the week:
ISC’s Play of The Week goes to Video #4—
4) Dunk by Zionsville’s #24 Nathan Childress. Congrats!! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/44MzdwhTC5
— ISC Sports Network (@iscsportsnet) January 12, 2019
Of course great athleticism will be a valuable attribute for a walk-on to bring to a program like IU. Job one for a walk-on at this level is to help prepare the team during practice for what they’ll face at the highest levels of college basketball.
Following in the footsteps of another Zionsville to IU walk-on in Jackson Tharp, Childress appears to have the raw abilities to be a major behind-the-scenes asset for the Indiana program from day one.
That sort of sacrifice also requires a great attitude. Coach Busick sees in Childress “a great kid who will fit into the culture of IU.”
Busick went on to say that Childress “will be a great practice player for the Hoosiers and could eventually see some court time if his skills continue to improve.”
With recent walk-on success stories in the Big Ten like McRoberts, Grady Eifert, Nicholas Baer, and Kenny Goins, eventually seeing the court as a regular is never out of the question.
While the odds are long, Busick has seen enough in Childress to recognize that meaningful playing time isn’t out of the question down the road. He hinted at the possibility.
“Could he become the IU version of Grady Eifert,” Busick said, unprovoked. “We will see.”
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