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Indiana basketball forward Mackenzie Mgbako named Freshman Third-Team Preseason All-American



Indiana’s Mackenzie Mgbako talks to the media during the Indiana University basketball media day at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. - Syndication: The Herald-Times

The 2023-24 Indiana basketball season is quickly approaching and the Hoosiers are looking to translate the success they had in the offseason to this upcoming year.

A big part of the success that Mike Woodson and Indiana basketball has in the offseason was what they were able to do both in the transfer portal and overall high school recruiting. Coming into the season with many spots to fill — especially replacing Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino — the Hoosiers brought in six new faces that are looking to make an impact in some form or way.

Out of all of the major additions that Mike Woodson and his Indiana basketball staff brought into the program this offseason, perhaps the biggest of them all was five-star forward Mackenzie Mgbako. The McDonald’s All-American committed to Indiana after decommitting from Duke this past April and chose the Hoosiers over Kansas.

Mike Woodson’s pitch to Mgbako was pretty simple….come in and play right away, make an immediate impact, and get the same development as Jackson-Davis and Hood-Schifino and go pro. With Mgbako looking to instantly get starting minutes for the Hoosiers and have an impact this season, he should rack of plenty of awards and accomplishments by the end of the 2023-24 season.

Preseason wise however, Mgbako has already earned freshman preseason All-American honors according to one media outlet.

“Stealing Mackenzie Mgbako from Kansas was a sign of things to come for Mike Woodson,” said 247Sports National College Basketball Writer Isaac Trotter. “The Indiana coach has been on a heater on the recruiting trail, but he has to put it all together. Mgbako is slated to get first dibs at the 3. Hanging with Big Ten wings like Terrence Shannon Jr., Jaden Akins and Brice Williams could be a tough task, but Indiana has stout point-of-attack defenders like Xavier Johnson and Trey Galloway and an intimidating group of rim protectors which should make Mgbako’s transition on the defensive end a bit easier.”

“Mgbako just has to make shots from downtown to be a true Big Ten Freshman of the Year contender. Word out of Indiana all preseason has raved about Mgbako’s shotmaking, but the bright lights and live bullets of the season will tell the true story. If Mgbako is a knockdown, floor-stretcher, Indiana is a dangerous menace to join Michigan State and Purdue as a Big Ten bigwig.”

Related: What can Hoosier Nation expect from Indiana basketball freshman Mackenzie Mgbako? A ‘walking bucket.’

As a senior at Roselle Catholic (NJ), the 6-foot-8 wing averaged 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He was also part of the Nike Hoop Summit and had 22 points and eight rebounds for the World Team.

The success he had at the high school level is what Mike Woodson is expecting when Mgabko officially gets his college career started.

“Only time will tell. He’s capable of putting the basketball in the hole. He’s shown that this summer. We’ve got to help him as coaches and put him in the best position possible to be successful and help us,” Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson said. “I’m expecting big things from him, but I’m not putting a lot of pressure on him. He’s a freshman.”

“He has the chance to have an immediate impact on our program,” Woodson said when Mgbako signed. “He’s a tremendous offensive player who gives us athleticism, length and the ability to be an inside/out threat.  He can beat people off the dribble, rebound, run the floor and guard multiple positions.”

The ‘unofficial’ start of the season for Indiana is the annual Hoosier Hysteria that is scheduled for October 20th, with the Indiana basketball men’s team playing their first game on November 7th against Florida Gulf Coast.

SEE ALSO: ‘That was the only way I could get it done.’: Indiana coach Mike Woodson comments on Kentucky series location format

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Kyler Staley is a Basketball Recruiting Analyst for Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Kyler has been in the basketball recruiting industry since 2019 and is a credentialed media member. He has covered Indiana since 2021 while continuing to also work for Prep Hoops Indiana. He has previously worked for Rivals.