In a somewhat surprising move, redshirt senior center Joey Brunk announced that he will not be part of the IU basketball program for the 2021-22 season.
“I’m incredibly grateful for Indiana University,” Brunk wrote on his Twitter page. “I have been able to get my Master’s Degree and am thankful to have been able to continue my education. I’ve decided to pursue my final year elsewhere. Thank you Indiana.”
A call to Brunk by The Daily Hoosier was not immediately returned.
Brunk missed the 2020-21 season with a back injury that required surgery. The 6-foot-11 Brunk transferred from Butler to Indiana following the 2018-19 campaign. In one season with IU, the Indianapolis native averaged 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds over 19.6 minutes per game.
Brunk did not participate in Indiana’s senior day festivities in late February, signaling a possible return for the 2021-22 season. Later, Brunk indicated that he was evaluating his options — a process that led to his announcement today to play his final season at another school.
In early March, before former head coach Archie Miller was fired, Brunk said he was just beginning the process of making a decision about a sixth year of college basketball.
“As far as next year goes, I’ve thought a little bit about it,” Brunk said on March 1. “That’s definitely going to be a conversation that I’ll have with coach (Archie) Miller, kind of in depth and figure out what’s best. My focus has been trying to get back healthy now and try to help us win and in any way possible. When the timing is right, I’ll have those conversations.”
Brunk was recruited to Indiana by Miller, and he faced stiff competition for playing time next season in Bloomington. Based on comments by new head coach Mike Woodson, returning junior Trayce Jackson-Davis projects to play center next season, as does incoming freshman Logan Duncomb. Returning redshirt junior Race Thompson is also likely to see action at the center position as part of what is expected to be a more up-tempo and spread out offensive attack.
A return by Brunk would not have cost Indiana a scholarship next season. He is eligible to play in 2021-22 due to a rule passed by the NCAA that provides that the 2020-21 season does not count as a year of eligibility for anyone. Moreover, any player such as Brunk who returned for an additional senior season would increase the available scholarship count beyond the normal allotment of 13.
With Brunk Indiana had 12 scholarship players and 14 total scholarships available. Without him IU will have 11 scholarship players and 13 total scholarships available.
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