It is no secret that Indiana projects to have a void in the paint for the 2021-22 season.
Joey Brunk’s departure after the upcoming season is a certainty, while it seems more likely than not right now that Trayce Jackson-Davis won’t stay in Bloomington beyond two seasons.
IU has a center commit in the class of 2021 in Ohio big man Logan Duncomb, but the Hoosiers will still need more size looking forward beyond the 2020-21 campaign.
What if Indiana could bring in a 7-footer now, and groom him behind the scenes for a season working with Brunk and Jackson-Davis?
That seems to be on the table for Deerfield, Ill. big man Brandon Lieb.
According to a report by Rivals’ Corey Evans, Indiana is in the mix to bring Lieb into the program for the upcoming season and potentially have the big man take a redshirt season. IU currently has two open scholarships for the 2020-21 campaign.
The 7-foot Lieb was originally a member of the class of 2020 before deciding to reclassify to 2021. With the interest rolling in late, it appears Lieb could revert back to 2020.
Evans’ reporting indicates that other high majors such as Iowa, Oklahoma, Penn State, Providence and Seton Hall are kicking the tires as well.
Lieb has reported a wave of mid-major offers in recent weeks including Toledo, Tulsa, Milwaukee, Bucknell and Boston.
You won’t find Lieb in any of the major recruiting service rankings. The Illinois Wolves Under Armour AAU product doesn’t even have a 247Sports profile page as of this writing. He seems to fit the definition of a late bloomer.
As a senior for Deerfield, Lieb averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting 58 percent from the field overall and 25 percent from three-point range.
On his senior highlight reel below it is clear why Lieb is now seeing significant interest.
The only question at this point might be why it took so long.
Lieb has good feet in the paint, respectable athleticism, and he shows the ability to play away from the basket and knock down perimeter shots. Although it is a highlight reel, it isn’t difficult to imagine after watching the film that Lieb could turn into a solid contributor at the high major level.
When Lieb announced that he was reclassifying into the class of 2021, the plan was to attend prep school for a season. He had low major Division One offers prior to that decision, but the prep school choice indicated that Lieb felt he could do more.
Now bigger programs seem to agree.
Evans’ reporting doesn’t indicate how involved IU is. This is the first time we have come across Lieb’s name in an IU context. From the player’s standpoint it is no doubt an attractive option, spending a year training with a pair of veteran big men in Brunk and Jackson-Davis. A situation like that would likely help spur on his development more than prep school.
In an ideal situation for both the player and program, Indiana would not have two centers in the same 2021 class.
But no situation is perfect.
Bringing in a player like Lieb for a redshirt season, and then pairing him up with Duncomb for four years could be worth examining more closely.
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