After landing 5-star Kel’el Ware in the transfer portal from Oregon, and 5-star Mackenzie Mgbako in the class of 2023, it seems like Indiana has a bit of recruiting momentum.
The massive seasons logged by Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino, both expected to be drafted in the NBA next month, have no doubt played a role in that recent success on the recruiting trail.
And it all could portend good things to come for IU in the future. The signs are there.
The recruiting class of 2024 is the first where IU coach Mike Woodson and his staff have had a chance to really build long-term relationships. They’ve cast a wide net with the rising seniors, and have had several top-150 prospects in for visits over the last year.
We’re now getting into the time of year where final official visits will scheduled, and decisions will be reached by this 2024 class. And there have been positive comments of late coming from some of IU’s main targets.
2024 5-star Liam McNeeley visited Indiana in September. The Montverde Academy product has been a priority target since the Hoosiers offered him more than a year ago.
McNeeley told Rivals this weekend one of the main things he looks at in college programs is player development. It isn’t clear if he’ll pick a college before Mgbako takes the court at IU, but McNeeley certainly took note of the addition by Indiana.
Both McNeeley and Mgbako are combo forwards who can initiate the offense, and in many respects they have similar games.
“That’s obviously a huge pickup,” McNeeley told Rivals of Mgbako. “He’s going to come in and have an impact right away. If Coach Woodson can get him to the league in one year, that’s encouraging for me. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
McNeeley told Rivals he was considering coming back to Indiana for a senior year official visit. Texas is one of the other main schools involved right now, and that program seems to be going through a lot of change at that moment, with decommits following a coaching change.
It has long been thought that Duke and Rutgers would be difficult to beat for 2024 5-star Dylan Harper, and that may still be the case.
But Harper had praise for Woodson when he was told on Friday that his fellow New Jersey product Mgbako had chosen the Hoosiers.
“It was Indiana? I knew it,” Harper told Rivals’ Rob Cassidy at a Nike EYBL event in Dallas. “Coach Woodson is going to put him in position to succeed.”
Harper visited IU in the fall and currently has the Hoosiers in his top five. He’s been dominant on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring. The brother of former Rutgers star Ron Harper, Jr. is averaging 19.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 51.8 percent overall and 37.9 percent from three.
Both Harper and his fellow 2024 guard Jaeden Mustaf seem like good fits to step into the role vacated by Jalen Hood-Schifino. Both are around 6-foot-6 with primary ball handling abilities.
Indiana seems to have a better chance to land Mustaf right now. He’s scheduled an IU official visit for June 8, and he’s been complimentary this spring of the job the IU staff did with Hood-Schifino. That continued over the weekend.
“I love the coaching staff at Indiana. I think I could really see myself fitting in there with them,” Mustaf told Stock Risers. “They had Jalen Hood-Schifino this past year, as a freshman he went in and lead the team and is now going to be a first-rounder. He and I are very similar, so it shows I can come in and work hard to do the same things and get some wins.”
Meanwhile, Class of 2024 big man Derik Queen has taken notice of the development of former IU forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, and how Woodson wasn’t afraid to play through him the last two years.
Queen talked about that with On3’s Jamie Shaw in an interview earlier in May.
“They use their bigs, I mean, Trayce Jackson-Davis; they just threw the ball into him on every possession,” Queen told Shaw. “I talk with those coaches, Coach (Kenya) Hunter or Coach (Mike) Woodson, almost every day. Our relationship has continued to grow since taking the visit.”
Queen plays on the Under Armour circuit where he’s been dominant this spring. He took a visit to IU in September at the same time as McNeeley, his Montverde teammate. Maryland appears to be the toughest competition at this point for Queen.
For recruiting updates on all of Indiana’s main 2024 targets, GO HERE:
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