Upon taking over as Indiana’s new basketball coach, Mike Woodson knew where most of his attention had to go from the outset.
“My first job is to sit down with each one of them and talk about staying in Hoosier Nation,” Woodson said of Indiana’s roster at his initial press conference on March 29.
From the jump Woodson faced six players in the transfer portal, a star with NBA aspirations, and a recruit uncertain about the future as the program transitioned from Archie Miller.
Now four weeks from the firing of Miller and two weeks into the Woodson era, there is much more clarity about the 2021-22 IU basketball roster. Let’s recap what transpired and where the program stands looking forward.
RECAP OF THE TRANSFER PORTAL AND OTHER KEY DECISIONS
Woodson arrived with six players in the transfer portal. In the case of Al Durham, it was a foregone conclusion that the senior guard would be moving on irrespective of the new head coach. But Woodson had to re-recruit five others in the portal along with an All-American facing an NBA decision and two recruits who were now looking a new head coach in the eye.
Woodson met with every player on the roster, and in some cases he had multiple meetings. Leaving Durham aside, Woodson convinced seven of the eight to remain with Indiana. And of course there may have been additional players who didn’t go so far as entering the transfer portal who Woodson also convinced to stay.
- Al Durham — Transfer portal –> Providence
- Parker Stewart — Transfer portal –> Indiana
- Armaan Franklin — Transfer portal –> Virginia
- Race Thompson — Transfer portal –> Indiana
- Jordan Geronimo — Transfer portal –> Indiana
- Khristian Lander — Transfer portal –> Indiana
- Trayce Jackson-Davis — NBA –> Indiana
- Logan Duncomb (’21) — Reopen recruitment –> Indiana
- C.J. Gunn (’22) — Reopen recruitment –> Indiana
A POSITIONAL LOOK AT THE 2021-22 ROSTER
As it stands, Indiana has 12 scholarship players expected to join its 2021-22 roster. Below is an approximation of how things set up positionally. Of course many of these players could be slotted in at multiple spots, and Woodson’s system and the modern game in general will deem our traditional view of positions as relatively insignificant. Moreover, a player’s ability to play a specific position is more often than not defined by their ability to guard that spot.
In any event, here is where things stand with each player listed where they are likely to be best utilized. If nothing else, it can make for an interesting debate:
- Center – Trayce Jackson-Davis, Joey Brunk, Logan Duncomb
- Power Forward – Race Thompson, Jerome Hunter
- Small Forward – Jordan Geronimo, Anthony Leal
- Shooting Guard – Parker Stewart, Trey Galloway, Rob Phinisee
- Point Guard – Xavier Johnson, Khristian Lander
The clear need for IU going forward seems to be competent shooters on the wing. That was something exacerbated by Franklin’s decision to transfer to Virginia. Woodson has made it clear his system prioritizes the 3-point shot, and as it stands he does not have an abundance of proven perimeter shooters. If IU is to add to this roster this spring, Woodson will no doubt place a heavy emphasis on wings who have a track record of making 3-pointers. In a separate story we will take a look at some of the more prominent shooters in the portal.
THE CURRENT SCHOLARSHIP CHART
In connection with the NCAA’s decision to not charge the 2020-21 season against a player’s eligibility, seniors are permitted to return next year and not count against scholarship limits. That means while IU already has 12 scholarship players slated to be on the 2021-22 team, the Hoosiers still have two available scholarships rather than just one under the normal limit of 13. That is because Joey Brunk’s expected return this fall will not count against the limit. It is worth noting that the NCAA has not made a determination to expand scholarship limits beyond the 2021-22 season.
While two open scholarships leave IU with flexibility to continue to enhance its roster, it is worth keeping in mind the outlook from the perspective of a transferring player. 12 scholarship players means more competition and thus less of a sure thing when it comes to playing time at Indiana next season. If someone is going to join the mix in Bloomington now, it is likely going to be because they see a clear opportunity (i.e. a shot-maker) or they are talented enough to be confident the competition is not an issue.
(Updated after Joey Brunk’s decision to not return for a sixth season)
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