With the majority of Indiana’s offseason roster changes behind us, we bring back our annual tradition of taking a closer look at the players expected to return to the program.
Next up is Logan Duncomb, who is training for his sophomore 2022-23 season.
THE 2021-22 NUMBERS
A strong case can be made that Duncomb should have been redshirted in 2021-22. Playing the entire season as an 18-year-old, Duncomb saw just 19 minutes of action across nine games as part of the late game clean-up crew.
Fellow big man Michael Durr spent the offseason recovering from a knee injury, so it was understandable to enter the season not planning to redshirt Duncomb. But Durr was back by game two, and Duncomb never played a meaningful minute all season — meaning a year of eligibility could have been saved.
In the end, the 6-foot-9 Duncomb scored six points and he made 2-of-4 field goal attempts. He made both of his free-throw attempts and added six rebounds.
WHAT WENT WELL
No one expected a major role for Duncomb during his freshman season, and with everyone healthy above him throughout the 2021-22 campaign, he ultimately did see very limited action.
The best part of Duncomb’s season happened behind the scenes, where he spent every day of practice going against Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson and Durr. Those are three very experienced college veterans who gave Duncomb the chance to face the kind of size, length and athleticism people his height can’t find with regularity in high school.
In our limited game and practice viewings, it is fair to say that he flashed potential. Moreover, Indiana was oversigned and entered the offseason needing to send players to the transfer portal. And of course Duncomb could have put himself there. That Duncomb didn’t go that route voluntarily or otherwise speaks to both the staff’s impression of him, and his overall mindset and degree of satisfaction with year one in Bloomington.
OFFSEASON DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS
1. Get stronger. At some point Indiana is going to ask Duncomb to be its main cog in the paint. And at 6-foot-9 and 234 pounds, that’s asking a lot in high major college basketball. Duncomb may always be more “country strong” than bulked-up, but he is going to have to add more size and strength to hold up for an entire Big Ten season and make an impact. Although he is an impressive plus-wingspan of around 7-foot-3 that can help bridge the gap, as an undersized big man Duncomb must be much stronger come November.
2. Develop perimeter skills on both ends. Jackson-Davis doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his ability to move laterally and help slow dribble drives resulting from high ball screens. And his ability to recover and protect the back-side as a shot-blocker is elite. Whoever ultimately steps into that role will have big shoes to fill. Duncomb will need to improve in both areas.
It has never been a significant part of his game, but Duncomb can make 3-pointers. There is a window of opportunity on the offensive end for him to take major strides as the pick-and-pop guy Indiana hasn’t had in a while.
3. Embrace the role. Duncomb didn’t arrive at IU expecting to put up big numbers like Jackson-Davis. Even in high school he never averaged more than 15 points per game. He represents the kind of center Mike Woodson wants as he transitions the program to more of a perimeter-oriented offensive attack — a rim-runner, a rebounder and a finisher.
Duncomb embraces the idea of not being the focus point of an offense.
“For me to get on the court, I have to use what I have which is hustle, being able to play as hard as I can and doing the little things,” Duncomb said going into last season.
What are those little things? Tap-outs, deflections, impacting shots, and put-backs are examples. Duncomb likes to run the floor, he doesn’t mind getting physical and he can be a bit bad-tempered and combative out on the court. Those are intangibles that can fuel a team, fuel a crowd, and help Duncomb not only see the court, but make a meaningful impact.
WHAT SUCCESS LOOK LIKE IN 2022-23
No one will be more impacted by Jackson-Davis’ stay-or-go decision than Duncomb. If TJD comes back, Duncomb will have to fight for playing time scraps and his best hope would likely be to claim the 7.1 minutes per game Durr got this past season. In that scenario, Duncomb should prove to be a more athletic and thus more impactful version of Durr, and he might be able to eke out a few more minutes if either he or Jackson-Davis develop perimeter skills to allow them to play together at times.
If Jackson-Davis were to stay in the Draft, Duncomb could conceivably be competing for the starting center role. He would at least tie for the tallest player on the roster assuming Indiana doesn’t still dip into the portal, and he’d have the longest wingspan. At a minimum Duncomb would seem to have 12-15 minute role in a frontcourt rotation that included Thompson, Jordan Geronimo and Malik Reneau. That would be a valuable step forward towards a major opportunity as an upperclassman.
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