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Indiana Basketball: Five thoughts on transfer portal activity following portal deadline



Taking a look at some of the key reactions for the Indiana basketball program following the close of the transfer window. (Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The college basketball transfer portal closed earlier this month and gave programs around the country a better look at where they stand. For the Indiana basketball program, there was some good but also some questions that still remain.

Though the portal closed for underclassmen, it remains open for graduate transfers. So, there are still some names that can — and will — enter in the coming weeks.

Despite adding three pieces in the transfer portal, the Indiana basketball program still looks to address its lone available scholarship spot for next season.

After a busy few months, here are some thoughts on Indiana basketball and its activity in the portal after the deadline.

Hoosiers make a splash with NBA-level talent. Indiana needed to make a statement early in the transfer window and land a signature piece to its front court. And, that’s exactly what it did. It was a relatively quick recruitment for Oregon center Kel’el Ware but Indiana made the most of it. It was a quick visit to Bloomington and one that left the Indiana basketball staff with a ringing endorsement … a commitment shortly after the conclusion of his visit. Ware was a projected-lottery pick heading into the 2022 season. Despite an up-and-down freshman year, he comes to Bloomington with tremendous upside. He was a former five-star prospect and a McDonald’s All-American. Indiana needed NBA-level talent to start putting the pieces together after the departure of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Ware was a significant step in the right direction.

Depth issue addressed in the front court. Outside of Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, Jordan Geronimo and Logan Duncomb all left the Indiana basketball program. That left a gapping hole in the front court and a hole that needed a significant upgrade. Not only did the addition of Ware make an impact, but so did landing Ball State forward Payton Sparks and then Miami forward Anthony Walker. Both players will step into reserve roles, but both bring necessary depth. All three players bring length and athleticism that can impact the game immediately. It’s unknown what role both Sparks and Walker will play, but they were necessary additions to Indiana.

 Still need to land shooting. There is one available scholarship remaining and the lack of shooting has still not been addressed. Indiana came into the offseason needing to land a shooter — or two — but hasn’t been able to do so. Xavier Johnson and Trey Galloway return as 37 percent and 46.2 percent shooters respectively, but neither made more than one three a game last year. The lack of knockdown shooters on the roster is a concern. CJ Gunn has the potential to be that guy this season, but he was just 2-of-24 from three as a freshman in limited minutes. There is no doubt there is still a need for this skillset and there is likely a grad transfer out there that the Hoosiers will target to address that need.

Tough break on a few key targets. Indiana was very active in the early weeks of the portal but failed to land a few key targets that it wanted. Notably Chris Ledlum, Nick Timberlake and Dalton Knecht. There were others but these were the three that Indiana had made some nice progress with but failed to land. The Ledlum miss was the toughest, mainly because it was down to Indiana and Tennessee and the Tennessee staff pulled out one final in-home visit to land his commitment. Timberlake never visited Indiana but the IU staff worked extremely hard in the early stages to land one of very few in-home visits. After that, despite a position of need, it was tough sledding for the Hoosiers. Knecht was someone who kept things quiet. But, Indiana had a few conversations with the talented wing and despite some talk about a potential visit, he committed to Tennessee after his visit. Minnesota transfer Jamison Battle was also a key wing that the Indiana basketball program was actively pursuing. He stayed in the conference and went to Ohio State.

Payton Sparks underrated pickup for Hoosiers. Much of the transfer talk is going to revolve around Kel’el Ware and that’s to be expected. But, Payton Sparks could be a steal from this cycle. Someone with two years of eligibility remaining, Sparks was very productive at Ball State. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.6 rebounds in 62 career games with the Cardinals. His motor and toughness sticks out and that’s something Indiana needs in the front court. His rebounding is also a skill that will drastically help Indiana. He ranked second in the MAC in offensive rebound rate (12.9) and fourth in the league in total rebound rate (17.3) last season. He’s 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds. Sparks has the right body and the skillset that can translate. While he likely won’t be a consistent double-digit scorer for Indiana this year, he’s going to be a very good piece who you’ll never have to ask to work harder.

SEE ALSO: ‘The program is only going up from here’: Jalen Hood-Schifino, Trayce Jackson-Davis excited about path of Indiana basketball

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 


2024 top-25 wing Tyler Betsey sets Indiana basketball visit



2024 top-25 wing Tyler Betsey has set an official visit date with the Indiana basketball program. (@EliteHSscouting / Twitter)

Top-25 wing in the 2024 class Tyler Betsey of St. Thomas More (CT) has set an official visit with the Indiana basketball program.

Betsey will be on campus from June 14-16, he confirms with 247Sports had the initial report. Betsey will be on campus alongside 2024 five-star guard Boogie Fland, who has officially set his Indiana basketball visit for June 13-15.

Betsey is a 6-foot-8 wing who is ranked No. 22 in the 247Sports composite rankings for the 2024 class. He is rated as the No. 8 small forward.

At 6-foot-8, Betsey is a versatile wing who is known as a shooter. He is a high-volume shooter who is very good off of the catch. He’s improving off of the dribble as well and has shown more of an ability to create plays for himself.

Playing for NY Rens on the Nike EYBL circuit and is averaging 11.6 points this summer in 16 games. He’s shooting 35.1 percent from three on 2.5 made 3s per game. He’s 40-of-114 this summer from three. He’s had four games with at least four made 3s. Betsey plays alongside current Indiana basketball target and five-star guard Dylan Harper on NY Rens as well. Harper visited Indiana in the fall.

247Sports National Recruiting Director Eric Bossi broke down Betsey’s game from earlier this summer.

“At nearly 6-foot-8 with smooth athleticism and a good-looking jumper, it was pretty clear that he has all of the tools to make a move towards the top of the class and he’s one of those kids who seems like he could end up ranked as high as he decides he wants to be.”

Currently, Betsey has offers from Indiana, Duke, Alabama, Kansas, UConn, Cincinnati, Auburn, Rutgers, Michigan State, Providence and others.

SEE ALSO: Indiana basketball recruiting beginning to click on all cylinders: ‘I wanted to be able to sit at the table with the best players’

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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Indiana basketball extends offer to 2025 top-30 prospect Jasper Johnson



National top-30 2025 guard Jasper Johnson received a scholarship offer from the Indiana basketball program. (Jasper Johnson - @BruhJasperJ / Twitter)

The Indiana basketball program has extended a scholarship offer to 2025 top-30 guard Jasper Johnson of Woodford County (Ky).

Johnson is ranked No. 23 in the 247Sports composite rankings for the class of 2025. He is also the No. 3 combo guard in the class.

Part of Team Thad on the Nike EYBL circuit, Johnson is playing two divisions up in the 17U division. Through 16 games this spring and summer, Johnson is averaging 12.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He is shooting 51 percent from the floor and 40.3 percent from three (27-of-67).

Johnson had his best game of the summer last weekend in Memphis — scoring 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 5-of-6 from three. He was 12-of-21 from three in four games last weekend.

Travis Branham of 247Sports broke down Johnson’s performance.

“In a three-minute span, Johnson scored a dozen points including three triples and a dunk in transition that took a three-or-four point lead and stretching it to double figures.,” Branham wrote. “Johnson has continued to grow as a player this spring. His confidence and aggressiveness are continuing to elevate along with his improving handle and jumper to create offense for himself and others.”

Johnson and the Indiana basketball program had a relationship prior to this offer. Johnson has mentioned to that the NBA pedigree of head coach Mike Woodson is appealing.

He visited Indiana twice during this past season. He was in Bloomington when Trayce Jackson-Davis had a triple-double. Johnson has also visited Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Tennessee and Xavier in addition to others.

The 6-foot-2 guard has offers from Kentucky, Arizona State, Cal, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Louisville, Ohio State, Memphis, Xavier and others.

SEE ALSO: 2024 five-star point guard Boogie Fland eyeing Indiana basketball visit

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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IU basketball recruiting beginning to click on all cylinders: ‘I wanted to be able to sit at the table with the best players’



Mike Woodson won't 'accept no for an answer' when it comes to recruiting and building his IU basketball roster. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

When Mike Woodson took the job as the head coach of the IU basketball program two years ago — his message was clear. He wanted to get Indiana back into the national conversation by competing for Big Ten and National Championships.

The only way to do that was to bring in high-level talent. Not just local, but from around the country.

The message has always been that Indiana has the best talent in the country — but recently, that hasn’t been the case. The previous staff did a good job of recruiting the state but failed to land top talent from outside of Indiana — or even the midwest — on a regular basis. That resulted in IU basketball failing to make an NCAA Tournament for six years.

So, when Woodson stepped back on campus on day one, it was about getting the best talent in the country — no matter where — to come to Bloomington.

“When I took the job, I made it clear to my coaches that we deserved to sit at the table with the best players,” Woodson told reporters on Wednesday. “We kind of squabbled a little bit early on because they didn’t think we were in that position to be able to do that.

“Well, back in the day, it was always that way.”

Last year saw four scholarship players from Indiana. The year before was five.

Next season will be quite different. There will only be two players from the state of Indiana on scholarship.

A main reason for that is because of what Woodson stressed — and knowing what he wanted for his roster.

“I thought we were based on Indiana basketball and the history of it,” Woodson said. “So, I didn’t accept no for an answer and I told ’em (my staff) that I wanted to be able to sit at the table with the best players and compete with the Kentucky’s, the Kansas’, the Duke’s, teams like that.”

While Woodson just wanted a seat at the table, he’s done more than just sit there.

In the last two years, Woodson has landed four five-star prospects either from high school or through the transfer portal. It resulted in having two McDonald’s All-American’s on the roster this upcoming season for the first time since 2016.

In addition to the two five-star commitments in the past two months, the IU basketball program has also seen a one-and-done five-star prospect move his way into a projected lottery-pick in the upcoming NBA Draft in Jalen Hood-Schifino. That is notable to recruits — and Woodson knows it.

“It’s done a lot, you know,” Woodson said on Hood-Schifino’s development. ” … Not to say he was a one-and-done, but he put himself in that position and was able to do a lot of nice things for our ball club and you know, our program benefited from it.”

A large reason for the (recent) uptick in the national relevancy for IU basketball in the recruiting world is because of Woodson and his NBA pedigree — yes. But, it’s the entire staff that he’s put together that has built their reputations on relationships and honesty — something hard to come by in today’s recruiting world.

“I got a wonderful staff and, you know, we are beating the phones down and when guys come available, we are trying to get in front of their parents and whoever’s their representative and we are doing all the necessary things to get ’em to campus and close the deal,” Woodson said. “And this has been a great, great summer for us in terms of recruiting and, again, I give a lot of credit to my staff and them getting me in front of the people that we’re trying to recruit, the player and we’re starting to pay off. It’s starting to pay off for us.”

And in recruiting, in order to get a yes, you’re going to get a lot of no’s. But, that’s okay and what’s needed in order to reach the next level as a program.

“All they (recruits) can do is tell us no, but we gotta get there and we’ve been able to get there some, so it’s kind of nice.”

SEE ALSO: IU basketball senior guard Xavier Johnson gives update on his health: ‘I’m 100 (percent)’

ake sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

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