Indiana fans are going to have to be of two minds on this one.
Yes, it undoubtedly stings to lose out on a rising talent like Noah Clowney. The 6-foot-10 South Carolina based forward announced his commitment to Alabama on Monday afternoon. Long, athletic and versatile, Clowney looked like a good fit for IU’s style of play and his size and skillset the right final piece to the class of 2022 puzzle for the Hoosiers.
Clowney was IU’s final priority recruiting target in the class of 2022. The Hoosiers have two guards and a hybrid forward currently committed when it comes to current high school seniors.
On paper Indiana has nothing to fear, and no room on its roster when it comes to its 2022-23 front court. But while Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson are eligible to return a year from now, the reasonable expectation is that they won’t be in Bloomington for a fourth and sixth year, respectively. Instead, their starting frontcourt minutes are likely to be there for multiple players to claim.
Indiana should have Michael Durr and Logan Duncomb at the five next year, and they could have some small-ball options at the four like Jordan Geronimo, Kaleb Banks and possibly Miller Kopp.
Clowney could have provided a stretch four with Big Ten length, although it isn’t clear at all that he would be ready to contribute right away, and thus perhaps not an immediate solution to claim the likely available minutes.
But this isn’t even the college basketball world of two years ago, when missing out on a recruit could mean roster holes may go unplugged.
While there aren’t likely to be other class of 2022 front court pursuits, Indiana is highly likely to aggressively pursue prospects in the transfer portal. In this particular case, that is also likely the better option for Indiana’s situation, at least short term.
If IU does indeed lose both Jackson-Davis and Thompson, and it puts an attractive product on the floor this season, they should be able to almost hand pick a front court prospect or two out of the portal. The combination of immediate playing time, a modern system, and relatively attractive name, image and likeness opportunities should be highly appealing.
Last year over 1,700 players went into the portal, and that is a trend unlikely to change anytime soon. Indiana did an excellent job of filling its voids in the transfer portal this past spring, and if all goes well they should be able to pull off a repeat performance.
Clowney is a miss, a player Indiana’s staff really wanted. But when the spring arrives and IU has a much better idea where their roster stands, they should be in a great position to pounce on players who are capable of coming in and starting right away. Perhaps the year after that, 2023-24, is when they will miss the nice college basketball player Clowney is likely to become.
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