Schools like Duke, Kentucky, and others have proven one thing in the one-and-done era — if you bring in NBA caliber players, and then deliver them to the the league a year later, they’ll keep coming.
So far Mike Woodson doesn’t appear to want to run a pure one-and-done shop, but he clearly wants to at least selectively play in that space.
And ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi says Woodson and his staff did something this year that will give the Hoosiers greater access to top talent in the recruiting world.
When you talk to high school players and their parents and coaches this spring about Indiana, one name keeps coming up — Jalen Hood-Schifino.
Biancardi hit on the reason why.
“A lot of guys recruit NBA players, and then they move them along to the NBA. It’s a great selling point,” Biancardi said Tuesday on The Fan Midday Show.
“But when you get somebody coming in who is not a one-and-done prospect, and (instead) an NBA prospect over the course of time, and (he) develops ahead of schedule, that’s a feather in your cap in recruiting and that points to player development, relationship building, everything that you need to do as a head coach and a staff to get someone to kind of go ahead of their timeline.”
Biancardi is right about Hood-Schifino. The Pittsburgh product had one-and-done NBA aspirations, but he was by no means thought of as a lock to make it to the league after one season in college. There were questions about his perimeter shot, and the early general consensus was Hood-Schifino would probably need a couple years to develop into a first round NBA Draft prospect.
But by October, after four months of workouts with the team in Bloomington, the NBA drumbeat was beginning.
Hood-Schifino started all 32 games he played in for Indiana and averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 0.8 steals per game. On his way to winning the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year honors, Hood-Schifino finished second on the team in points and assists, and fourth in program history for total assists (117) in a season by a freshman.
Now less than a year from his arrival on the IU campus, Hood-Schifino is seen as a lock to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft next month.
And coming in behind him are a pair of McDonald’s All-Americans — Mackenzie Mgbako and Kel’el Ware — who no doubt were encouraged by the development happening at IU. Trayce Jackson-Davis improved enough during his time under Woodson to also become a near certainty to be drafted.
The departures by Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis leave a lot of production to replace, but that’s where IU hopes their stories will help fill the void.
With the 2023-24 current roster, Biancardi says he thinks IU will be in the top three or four of the Big Ten and then reach the NCAA Tournament. IU still has one available roster opening for next season.
One of the reasons Biancardi likes this team is the potential of Oregon transfer center Ware. Could he be the next player to make a big leap under Woodson? The potential is certainly there.
“He’s just scratching the surface guys,” Biancardi said of Ware. “He has as much upside as anybody coming back to college basketball.”
You can listen to Biancardi’s full interview on the The Fan Midday Show below.
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