Mike Woodson has earned a reputation as a recruiting closer during his time in Bloomington.
That’s largely a notion based on his ability to win short recruitments in the spring, but it seems more likely by the day he’ll earn commitments from one or more high school players he and his staff have been recruiting for the long haul.
With a month to go until the November early signing period, it’s closing time for the class of 2024.
Sometimes a recruit includes a school in a group of finalists more as window dressing. We don’t believe that’s the case with any of the main three prospects IU is after in the class of 2024.
And it isn’t uncommon to hear the word “trifecta” tossed about as at least a real possibility for the Hoosiers.
We expect in the coming days the IU staff will continue to make it very clear that their main three 2024 targets — Liam McNeeley, Boogie Fland and Derik Queen — are very high priorities. It would be the latest evidence they are all in on the trio of top-20 prospects, and believe they have chance to land them all too.
It seems reasonable, perhaps even conservative at this point to say IU is the favorite to land Liam McNeeley, and no worse than on equal footing with the competition when it comes to Fland and Queen.
If they pulled off the trifecta, Indiana’s class would be No. 2 in the country according to the current 247Sports class calculator. But obviously there will be many moving parts between now and next spring when that class is finalized.
Here’s what we know about the likelihood of IU pulling it off. None of this should be construed as full-on predictions, but instead why Indiana should be viewed as a strong contender in all three cases.
(On3 Industry Average rankings in parenthesis)
LIAM MCNEELEY (SF, 5-star, No. 13)
It’s fair to call IU the consensus favorite to land McNeeley. At least we haven’t heard anyone suggest otherwise in a while.
This is a recruitment down to Indiana and Kansas, that much we know for sure.
Any time Bill Self is involved, you don’t let off the gas until you’ve got a signature on a national letter of intent, and that’s seemingly where Indiana is at right now.
McNeeley said over the weekend he plans to announce in the next couple weeks.
BOOGIE FLAND (PG, 4-star, No. 20)
Fland’s recruitment is down to Indiana, Kentucky and Alabama. The head coaches for the latter two schools were both in to visit him on Monday. IU probably won’t let that go unchecked.
Once Indiana decided to go all-in on this recruitment, it has been a full court press by the IU staff. That commitment and focus on Fland as Indiana’s main guy in the 2024 class at lead guard has not gone unnoticed, and could be a bit of a differentiating factor for IU as things stand.
And Fland and his family really like Mike Woodson. They are a New York family, they know of Woodson from his time with the Knicks, and they know Carmelo Anthony and have received a strong endorsement via that channel. Woodson has been involved and has made a real connection.
Finally, we’ve written a lot about the impact of Jalen Hood-Schifino’s one-and-done season at IU, and how that has helped the Hoosiers on the recruiting trail. There may not be a recruitment where it has helped more than this one. Fland can see himself in that role. He told us that multiple times over the summer.
Of course you can never count out John Calipari or Nate Oats either. They’ve done the work to be in this trio of finalists too.
Fland is expected to announce in the next month, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he decided sooner than later in that window.
DERIK QUEEN (PF, 4-star, No. 15)
This is a competition between Indiana, Maryland and Houston — and Queen still has full weekend official visits set up to the latter two programs. Maryland has long been thought of as a legitimate contender, and Houston has entered that conversation. As long as those visits occur, anything can happen.
But here’s why IU has a real chance: Queen has a very tight and small inner-circle, and there are multiple people in that circle who like the idea of him playing at IU — for multiple reasons.
Queen was also teammates with Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau at Montverde. Their positive experiences at Indiana have not gone unnoticed. And Trayce Jackson-Davis’ improvement under Mike Woodson matters too.
As we reported first in January, McNeeley and Queen are very good friends. It’s no coincidence they took both of their IU visits together, along with other visits. If McNeeley pops for Indiana, then that is just one more factor working in Indiana’s favor when it comes to Queen.
Of course there are reasons why Maryland and Houston are still in the hunt for Queen too, and they will be driving home those points in the coming days.
For a complete recap of IU basketball’s 2024 targets, including top schools, timelines, highlights and the latest on their recruitments, GO HERE. For all of our IU basketball recruiting coverage, GO HERE.
For complete coverage of IU basketball, GO HERE.
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”