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After showing flashes as a freshman, Kaleb Banks ‘ready for that moment’ in year two with Indiana basketball



Everybody’s freshman season in college is different. Everyone has their own path and has to navigate the ups and downs that come with. That was no different for Indiana basketball wing Kaleb Banks.

Coming from the 4A Player of the Year as a senior at Fayette County (Ga.) where he averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game to playing just 5.6 minutes a game and totaling just 46 points on the season was a big shift for the Indiana wing.

To say he had his ups and downs would be an understatement, even coming from him.

“I feel like I struggled with how long the season is and how the ups and downs come at you and how to react to those,” Banks told the media over Zoom on Tuesday.

Banks saw double-digit minutes in just five games. He averaged 1.1 points in 14 Big Ten appearances. But, what Banks quickly found out was the he didn’t need to score in order to make an impact last year. And that slowly led to spot minutes here and there.

Whether it was making a defensive stop or grabbing an offensive rebound or even just brining energy and going after a loose ball. The little things is where Banks saw his fit and is now looking to utilize this season.

“I feel like I see myself having a big impact just making impact plays,” Banks said. “Whether grabbing that key rebound, that key defensive stop or just scoring, making that key play for the team … They (the coaches) wanted me to take that big step next year with the flashes that I showed last year they wanted me to improve off of that. I feel like I fit in well with this team this year.”

For the 6-foot-7 wing, the athleticism and defensive ability was there. It was about maximizing his potential offensively.

He is a bit of a ‘tweener’ forward. Not big enough to play consistently in the post and not consistent enough shooting from the perimeter to play fully on the wing. But, his energy and toughness shined last season.

Banks has been stressing his entire game, but definitely refining his craft to be able to help Indiana in whatever way needed this season.

“I feel like I’m working on that, being more comfortable playing out of position, stuff like that. Or maybe inside my position and being able to do a lot of different things. I’ve been working on my ball handling for sure and fighting down low with the bigs as well this summer so I can be prepared to be put on the court anywhere.”

Indiana lost four starters and six rotation pieces from a season ago. It also brought in six new faces. A lot has changed and with many new skillsets on the roster, there are still a lot of questions about next year’s rotation.

But, one thing is for certain. This past season gave Kaleb Banks the confidence and peace of mind knowing that his moment will come and when it does, he’s going to be ready to take full advantage of it.

“I learned that that you never know when it is going to be your moment, so just always be ready for that moment,” Banks said. “There may be times where it’s not your moment, but times when you are in the fire and you have to step up and make that moment happen.

“Everybody is in the gym nonstop and trying to be the best version of ourselves, so when that time comes we are all ready for war.”

SEE ALSO: CJ Gunn ready for ‘challenge’ in year two with Indiana basketball: ‘I didn’t come here to be comfortable.’

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.