It’s okay to admit it — missing out on Dawson Garcia was a major disappointment. The top 40 forward seemed to be a really good fit for Archie Miller’s scheme and a nice final piece of the 2020 puzzle.
But it’s not okay to dwell. It’s time to move on. Of course Indiana’s coaches are well ahead of us. As it stands right now, IU has one open scholarship on its 2020-21 roster, and the Hoosiers staff never sleeps when it comes to the constant job of recruiting.
With three 2020 commits falling under the shooting guard/wing description, the needs for the opening seem clear — point guard or power forward/center.
Here are five options that Indiana could consider to fill the final spot, from the least likely to most likely.
CLASS OF 2020 HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS STILL ON THE BOARD
As it stands right now, Indiana isn’t heavily involved with any class of 2020 high school recruits that we are aware of. While that may be somewhat surprising on the surface, there are good reasons.
Miller doesn’t seem to cast as wide of a net as a matter of philosophy when it comes to recruiting. Moreover, with a stacked in-state class of 2021, the IU staff has been more selective. More on 2021 later.
The one constant with recruiting is change, and things could change over the next six months leading up to the May signing period. Teenagers change their minds, recruitments are reopened, and later bloomers emerge.
Like they did last year with Lester Quinones, IU could get involved late with a member of the class of 2020. As of this writing, 17 of the 247Sports top 100 are uncommitted, although of course many of those players are well down the path towards making a decision.
Unlike last year, fewer players have allowed their recruitment to continue on to the spring, making this alternative unlikely at this point.
JUNIOR COLLEGE TRANSFER
Every year a name or two pops up from the junior college ranks. While Miller hasn’t gone this route at Indiana, he did at Dayton and his IU staff has at least kicked the tires in each of the last two classes.
IU’s most recent JUCO transfer was Freddie McSwain, Jr., who transferred to play for Tom Crean but also played a year under Miller.
Names are hard to come by right now, but as the junior college season progresses Indiana will surely have a few names on their radar. Because JUCOs generally involve a multi-year tie up, the candidate would have to be pretty special for IU to pull the trigger.
Bigger picture this seems to be an avenue on the decline. Don’t expect another Keith Smart to come through the door next year.
RECLASSIFICATION INTO THE CLASS OF 2020
Reclassification isn’t common, but it is a growing trend and Indiana has at least two class of 2021 players that it has offered that are openly considering moving up a year.
Five star Evansville based point guard Khristian Lander and his father have both stated recently that the option is at least being evaluated. Reclassification requires a resume of coursework that is deemed to be college ready, and Lander told Rivals that would be one of the main variables when it comes to potentially making the move. Obviously given IU’s deep involvement and interest in Lander, this would be an ideal way to finish off the 2020 class.
Another 2021 point guard considering reclassification that Indiana has offered a scholarship and is involved with is North Carolina based Carter Whitt.
GRADUATE TRANSFER OR OTHER IMMEDIATELY ELIGIBLE TRANSFER
For two straight years Miller has gone the graduate transfer route to fill out his roster.
Evan Fitzner joined the Hoosiers for the 2018-19 season, and of course Joey Brunk is with Indiana for the next two years.
The names won’t start emerging until the spring, but if the last few years are any indication there will be plenty of options to consider.
As you are likely aware, graduate transfers are immediately eligible, while non-graduate transfers must sit out a year unless they obtain a waiver. How the NCAA’s waiver policy works is anyone’s guess, but in certain circumstances that seem to be becoming more frequent, non-graduate transfers can be deemed to be immediately eligible.
If the opening remains into the spring, Indiana is almost certain to give the transfer option a good, hard look.
SAVE THE SCHOLARSHIP FOR 2021
The do nothing option just might be the most likely path. Miller said in May that he was perfectly fine with not utilizing every available scholarship, and that route could make a lot of sense going into next season.
As the numbers stand right now, IU is slated to return nine of its top ten scorers and its top nine rebounders. While you can always enhance your roster, the Hoosiers should not have any urgent needs that will force their hand.
Meanwhile, the in-state class of 2021 is stacked. Miller’s track record recruiting out-of-state is choppy, but there is no denying his success within the borders of the Hoosier state.
And there is no denying the available talent when it comes to Indiana high school juniors. No less than 14 of the 247Sports top 200 in the class of 2021 are playing their high school basketball in Indiana, including nine four-stars and seven in the top 100.
Having four openings for this uniquely loaded in-state group wouldn’t be the worst outcome.
If the Hoosiers save the scholarship, that means one more open slot for high priority top 100 in-state targets like Lander, Trey Kaufman (Silver Creek), Blake Wesley (South Bend Riley) and Caleb Furst (Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian) along with the other top out-of-state recruits that they are pursuing.
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