As is the case every year, college basketball recruiting is a fluid process with prospects coming and going on and off the board routinely.
On Thursday, Kyle Filipowski, a recruiting target Indiana seemed to be in a fairly good position with at one point in the late spring, committed to Duke after his recruitment blew up during the live evaluation periods. Also over the last six weeks other intriguing class of 2022 targets such as Tyrell Ward (Xavier), Jalen Washington (North Carolina), Seth Trimble (North Carolina) and Justin Taylor (Syracuse) all came off the board.
Of course IU earned a commitment from Georgia-based forward Kaleb Banks last Friday. That is how the recruiting game works for college staffs — many more misses than wins, but either way you push on in the never ending pursuit of who’s next.
Banks, a 6-foot-8 hybrid small/power forward joins C.J. Gunn, a 6-foot-5 hybrid shooting guard/small forward. The positional descriptions are almost irrelevant, especially in the two through four spots, as IU moves to a more modern four-out system. The bottom line is that Indiana has two class of 2022 commits who are not primary ball handlers, they have defensive versatility, and they will spend their time on the perimeter on the offensive end. Those are precisely the kind of players new head coach Mike Woodson was primarily targeting in this 2022 class — but he isn’t finished.
Where will Woodson and his staff turn from here?
The first question is what size class might IU be seeking in this class of 2022? Without fail, whenever a recruiting target in the incoming senior class is merely mentioned, a panic will overcome someone in the fan base. “We don’t have any scholarships!”
It’s true, with the addition of Banks IU is currently projected to have 15 scholarship players on its 2022-23 roster. But that ignores several realities. The first and most obvious of course is that Indiana won’t be winning the Trayce Jackson-Davis lottery again next spring. Barring something unforeseen and dramatic, the All-American will be moving on to the professional game.
The next reality is what we have seen with the transfer portal over the last four months. With the requirement to sit out a year now gone, approximately 1,700 players entered the portal in 2021. That computes to more than four players per team, and IU wasn’t immune, losing Armaan Franklin, Al Durham, Jerome Hunter and Joey Brunk to the process.
It is completely rational and logical to expect more of the same in 2022. Indiana will have six players with one year of eligibility left going into the 2022-23 season, and on a national level, players in that group seems particularly intrigued by the portal. But whatever eligibility group IU’s transfers out come from next year, you have to accept the reality — they will come.
So knowing the roster will turnover once again, how many high school players will IU pursue for its 2022 class? That still isn’t easy to answer, because of course the portal works both ways, and IU will certainly have options for incoming talent as we saw this year with Parker Stewart, Xavier Johnson, Miller Kopp and Michael Durr. The portal giveth and taketh, and it also raises an interesting question — would you rather bring in experienced talent or high school talent? The answer is almost certainly both, but nothing happens in vacuum. For every class of 2022 player who commits to IU now, that is one less spot available to fill via the portal next spring.
So obviously none of this new reality is easy, nor is estimating a class size moving forward. What we know is that IU won’t stand still in the class of 2022. They are going to continue to pursue players who they believe are a fit, and where they come up short, the portal is always going to be there at the very least as a backstop. A class of 2022 of just the two current players seems unlikely, as does Indiana adding five or more.
So who are the one or two more players the Hoosiers will push to have join Gunn and Banks?
From a positional standpoint, IU hasn’t prioritized the point guard position in the 2022 class, with their emphasis for that spot instead in the class of 2023. Xavier Johnson, Rob Phinisee and Khristian Lander will all be eligible to return in 2022-23, although it isn’t certain of course that any of them will. That Indiana is not actively pursuing point guards in 2022 suggests that either they are comfortable with what they will have coming back, or perhaps given the responsibilities of the position, that is a role where they are comfortable with getting an experienced college player out of the portal if the need arises rather than handing over the keys to a true freshman.
So that leaves more versatile players in the two through four spots, as well as big men who can help to fill the void that will almost certainly be left by Jackson-Davis.
The two players at the top of our class of 2022 hot board are Jalen Hood-Schifino and Noah Clowney, and both fit into those roles.
The 6-foot-5 Hood-Schifino is best described as a combo guard, meaning he can take on the primary ball handling duties — perhaps another reason why IU isn’t pushing hard to find a point guard in 2022 if you want to take the optimistic view. He took an official visit in late June and IU at least seems to be in the top group, perhaps even in the lead.
The 6-foot-10 Clowney has an official visit to Bloomington scheduled next month. A hybrid four/five, Clowney has emerged as a top-100 talent, and he fits a need in the frontcourt. Once again, IU seems to be in the top group with Clowney.
Hood-Schifino and Clowney are at the top of the board because they have shown reciprocal interest. But there is no guarantee that IU can land either player. So the question then becomes, who else might Indiana be able to get on a campus for a visit over the next couple months?
The group of potential prospects has been distilled down to a manageable handful over the summer.
Brice Sensabaugh is a 6-foot-6 wing from Florida whose recruitment is on a skyrocketing trajectory as he returned from injury and put together a highly impressive summer. Sensabaugh is probably best described as a hybrid two/three. He was one of the best players at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam, averaging 18.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Indiana fans won’t have to wait long to see where things stand. After receiving at least 15 high major offers over the last month, Sensabaugh is expected to announce a top group on Friday, with the schools on that list obviously becoming the ones more likely to receive one of his five official visits.
Ernest Udeh is a 6-foot-10 center, also from Florida, and with a similar recruitment to Sensabaugh. Udeh has received more than 15 high major offers over the last three months as he has become one of the more coveted big men in the class. He hasn’t announced plans to cut his list, but that is no doubt coming soon one way or the other as he intends to schedule late summer and fall visits.
Favour Aire is a Maryland based 6-foot-10 big man who we understand has been considering an IU visit over the last couple months. He may be a bit more of a long-term developmental player after an inconsistent spring and summer.
Malik Reneau is another Florida-based forward who IU just offered last week. Similar to Udeh and Sensabaugh, the 6-foot-9 Reneau is on the rise with a lot of options and he needs to narrow things down and take visits. He really stood out at Peach Jam, averaging 20.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. It is at least worth noting that he is a high school teammate of Hood-Schifino at Montverde Academy.
Other names at least worth keeping an eye on in 2022 include forward Alex Karaban, and centers Vince Iwuchukwu and Shawn Phillips. There has been varying degrees of mutual interest over the last four months with each player, although all three seem to be in the longshot category at this point.
The bottom line will be to follow the visits that are scheduled. Anyone IU is able to get on campus over the next two months means things are serious on both ends.
Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”
Seven ways to support completely free IU coverage at no additional cost to you.