For months there has been talk of the coming “Wild West” college basketball offseason.
The early markers of what is in store seem to be emerging.
In a move that is widely expected to pass, the NCAA will vote on granting a one-time transfer waiver for all student-athletes later this month. That means the traditional requirement for an undergraduate to sit out a year is no longer relevant. And that could mean that a wave of names hit the transfer portal.
Already several prominent players have entered the market, including some that might be familiar to Indiana fans. They are certainly names familiar to the IU program.
Just in the last couple weeks, at least three young players that Indiana was involved with coming out of high school have put their names in the transfer portal
Former West Virginia big man Oscar Tshiebwe left the Mountaineers midseason and is already well down the path towards finding a new home. Indiana has reportedly contacted the 6-foot-9 big man, but to this point the Hoosiers don’t seem to have meaningful traction. Tshiebwe, a sophomore from Congo, was averaging 19.9 minutes, 8.5 points, and 7.8 rebounds through 10 games this season. Miami, N.C. State, Illinois and Kentucky seem to be the leaders according to national 247Sports reporting.
Texas Tech freshman guard Nimari Burnett was a five-star McDonald’s All-American in the class of 2020 who IU offered. Burnett played in just 12 games for the Red Raiders, averaging 5.3 points per contest. Indiana wasn’t in Burnett’s top group of suitors out of high school. It remains to be seen whether IU will make another push for the 6-foot-4 scoring guard who played prep school in California, but hails from the Chicago area.
Perhaps the more intriguing name right now is former UConn center Javonte Brown-Ferguson. The 7-foot and 250 pound Brown-Ferguson played in just two games in Storrs, tallying two points and one rebound. What is most interesting about him from an IU perspective is that he was recruited to the Huskies by now IU assistant Kenya Hunter. While Kansas and Texas A&M were the other finalists rather than the Hoosiers, Hunter could make a big difference this time around if Indiana decides to push.
Brown-Ferguson said on Friday that he left UConn because Hunter left.
From Toronto, Brown-Ferguson was formerly in the class of 2021 before reclassifying to 2020. Regarded as a skilled back-to-the basket player, and a shot-blocker that can run the floor, he won’t turn 19 until September. Coupled with 2021 signee Logan Duncomb, Brown-Ferguson could help provide IU with long-term length in the front court.
Indiana had some high profile misses on high school recruits in the class of 2021. But as is already clear, this offseason is going to be different.
If IU is able to land high-end transfers, of course already with college experience and training, the misses could be quickly forgotten.
Already the Hoosiers have gone the transfer route to land shooting guard Parker Stewart. The 6-foot-5 Stewart is already in Bloomington. Sources tell The Daily Hoosier that he is not yet practicing or with the team as he goes through program protocols related to COVID-19. It is not clear at this time whether he will attempt to play during the 2020-21 campaign.
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