The calendar says mid-October, which means we are less than a month away from the annual early signing period for college basketball.
With that process beginning on Nov. 11, many Indiana fans might be prone to a panic attack based on where things stand.
While more than 30 programs have at least 3 class of 2021 commits as of this writing, Indiana has only one — Ohio center Logan Duncomb.
Is IU going to strike out on what many thought of as one of the best in-state recruiting classes in recent memory?
This conversation should start with a reality check — Indiana has already landed two players in the class of 2021.
Khristian Lander was Indiana’s top guard target in the class. Of course you know by now that Lander committed to IU in February and reclassified to 2020.
But the Hoosiers still have several openings on the 2021-22 roster. Just how many openings is anyone’s guess at this point.
The NCAA’s new rule granting an extra year of eligibility means that Al Durham, Jr. and Joey Brunk can return in 2021. And the NCAA still has not told us whether, and by how much it will increase the permissible scholarship count.
That, along with a looming professional basketball decision by Trayce Jackson-Davis makes things murky at best.
The safe bet is that Indiana will have multiple openings on its 2021-22 roster in any scenario. And while head coach Archie Miller has shown that he is content to stay under the permitted number of scholarships, we know that he is still actively trying to add to next year’s team.
So who are those players in the class of 2021 that IU is still actively recruiting, and where do things stand?
Let’s take a quick look.
If nothing else, Hopkins’ recruitment has been entertaining since he decommitted from Louisville in August.
Over the last week it seems that each of the Kentucky, Providence and Illinois fan bases have thought that they might be either in the lead or a serious contender for the top-30 4-star forward.
And Hopkins had a Zoom meeting with Indiana last week according to multiple reports. Hopkins’ father told The Daily Hoosier that the family has always held IU in a high regard.
Although he has only narrowed to a top nine, those four schools (Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Providence) seem to have comprised Hopkins’ top four before he made a decision.
We won’t have to wait much longer here.
Hopkins is expected to announce his decision this week, perhaps on Tuesday.
We were told by a trusted Chicago-area source more than a week ago to expect Hopkins to choose Kentucky, and that seems to be the consensus view by a wide margin.
Miller’s recruitment has been very unique.
The son of former NBA star Mike Miller has enjoyed a recruiting process largely out of the public eye, with family relationships playing a key role.
For Indiana, that started with assistant coach Tom Ostrom, who was on the Florida staff when Mike Miller played for the Gators.
IU has parlayed that long-standing friendship into a good situation with the younger Miller, a top-70 forward.
National recruiting analyst Brian Snow of 247Sports said last week that Indiana is in a “clear top two” ($) along with Creighton, with a decision likely coming in the fall. And that reporting really just amplified accounts of Miller’s top schools going back to the spring. IU has been in the top tier for a long time.
Ohio State, LSU and Texas Christian are other schools that have been involved for several months.
The timing of Miller’s decision could make for some intrigue.
Miller’s apparent fall decision makes things interesting for the top remaining in-state player on the board, Trey Kaufman.
While Indiana would almost certainly take both Miller and Kaufman, would the players choose to follow each other to Bloomington?
Both players are listed as power forwards by the recruiting services, but their games are by no means identical.
Kaufman is a strong, physical player that can score inside and out. Miller has the look of more of a perimeter shooting specialist. They look like two players that could be on the floor together and play in a complimentary fashion, at least against certain lineups. But their ability to guard multiple positions might ultimately determine the extent of any overlap here.
It isn’t clear whether Kaufman will commit in the fall or the spring, but when it comes to a decision, we’ll keep going back to the factors he emphasized to The Daily Hoosier throughout the summer.
For Kaufman, proximity to home, comfort with the coaches and players, and visits all play a key role in his decision. While not certain, all of those variables point to Bloomington as his decision.
(UPDATE: Kaufman will announce his decision on Oct. 30)
In some respects Mohammed might be the most important name on the board because he represents Indiana’s lone remaining guard target where the Hoosiers have serious traction.
The good news is that IU appears to be in Mohammed’s top three, along with Georgia and Georgetown, but professional options could create a wildcard.
Mohammed intends to announce his decision in December or January, and IU appears to be as well positioned as anyone.
For more on the latest with the top-20 5-star, GO HERE.
OTHER POTENTIAL OPTIONS
Of course Archie Miller and his staff aren’t content to stand by and wait to see what happens with their top four. Especially not with so much roster uncertainty looking out to 2021.
Here are a few other names to know on what is a still evolving list.
- Jai Smith – A 2022 forward that has blown up this fall and could reclassify to 2021, Indiana has gotten involved recently.
- Hunter Sallis – New assistant Kenya Hunter helped IU get involved late with the top-10 five star. An upcoming list cut will tell us if it was too late.
- Blake Wesley – We’ve been told by a source very close to Wesley that Indiana has backed off for the time being. Things could always change, but this ship seems to have sailed.
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