Remember that feeling just a couple short weeks ago when Keion Brooks, Jr. put on a Kentucky hat and it felt like all hope was lost in the class of 2019?
Not so fast my friend.
College basketball has served up a healthy reminder here in recent weeks. With coaching changes, more and more transfers, and the ongoing corruption investigations, it is a good idea to stay calm and carry on when it comes to roster construction.
With Trayce Jackson-Davis and Armaan Franklin already signed in the class of 2019, the Hoosiers have no available scholarships at this moment.
Of course you know that Romeo Langford is a near lock to put and keep his name in the NBA Draft.
Moreover, transfers of course go both ways, and it would come as a surprise to no one if one or more IU players packed up and looked for an opportunity elsewhere.
So with at least one and possibly more openings for next year’s roster, let’s take a look at some familiar names that have re-emerged in recent weeks in the ever evolving college basketball recruiting landscape.
Certainly not a new name, but Watford’s recruitment has been taking a lot of twists and turns in recent weeks.
From turmoil at perceived favorite LSU as head coach Will Wade was suspended, to a coaching change for in-state Alabama, the playing field has changed.
We had previously cautioned that without an official visit to Bloomington, we didn’t think Watford was serious about Indiana and would instead chart his own course.
That visit never happened, but with the changing landscape comes new opportunities. Watford indicated in an interview yesterday with Rivals (see below) that there have been recent discussions with both Archie Miller and Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Overall we are still skeptical. Duke has entered the mix, Memphis is probably in the lead, and Alabama just hired an interesting new coach. But this one is now at least worth keeping an eye on.
Lewis is another player impacted by the coaching change at Alabama.
If you recall, the 5-star guard was formerly a class of 2019 target for IU before he reclassified into 2018 and played as a freshman at Alabama. All he did there in year one with the Tide is average more than 13 points a game and earn a spot on the All-SEC freshman team.
Lewis put his name in the NCAA transfer portal, meaning he can be contacted by other schools but can also choose to stay in Tuscaloosa. Indiana has already reportedly been in contact.
There is probably no available player in high school or college that better fits Indiana’s current needs. A natural scorer with an impressive year of high major college basketball under his belt, Lewis is going to be a major get if he does end up transferring. He would have to sit out a year unless the NCAA approves a waiver due to the coaching change.
Because of Lewis’ strong freshman season, this will end up being a highly competitive recruitment. Consider IU a long shot here, but they do offer an attractive immediate opportunity if he can get the waiver.
Watford and Lewis were AAU teammates last summer.
Brunk announced yesterday that he will graduate from Butler and transfer. Having just finished his redshirt sophomore season, Brunk will have two years of eligibility left.
The 6-foot-11 center chose Butler over IU and others way back in 2015 before his senior year of high school. He was rated as a 4-star recruit in the class of 2016.
Since Brunk originally committed to play for Chris Holtmann at Ohio State, consider the Buckeyes a contender here as well, but IU should have a legitimate and perhaps the best shot.
Brunk would be immediately eligible and fill a need on Indiana’s roster in a Big Ten full of big post players.
The Indianapolis native only averaged 18 minutes this season and started just 13 times, but his per-40 minute stats highlight his productivity. Brunk averaged 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per 40 minutes while shooting 62% from the field.
Smits was a three-star recruit out of high school in the class of 2015 and had some contact with IU. Playing for Valparaiso for the last three seasons, the son of former Pacer Rik Smits similarly has impressive numbers when viewed over a full game.
The 7-foot-1 center averaged 22.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per 40 minutes for the 2018-19 season.
Smits hails from the same suburban Indianapolis high school (Zionsville) as incoming preferred walk-on Nathan Childress.
Be sure to check The Daily Hoosier Report each week day for the latest recruiting notes related to IU Athletics.
You can see our complete IU basketball 2019 recruiting board with more names to know here.
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