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Indiana Basketball: Mike Woodson, IU staff watches 2024 top-3 prospect

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Kokomo Wildkats center Flory Bidunga (40) is announced into the starting lineup during the IHSAA boy’s basketball game against the Lafayette Jeff Bronchos, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, at Lafayette Jeff High School in Lafayette, Ind. Kokomo won 49-43. (Alex Martin/Journal and Courier-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson and the entire Indiana staff was in to watch Kokomo (Ind.) 2024 top-3 prospect Flory Bidunga during the Class 4A State Title game on Saturday.

According to a source, Indiana 2023 signee Gabe Cupps is also in attendance. He has been one of the biggest recruiters of Bidunga throughout his recruitment.

Kokomo (24-4) plays Ben Davis (32-0) at 8:15 pm ET.

Bidunga is ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Indiana, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State are some of the main programs involved in his recruitment. He has taken four unofficial visits to Indiana.

Bidunga was the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year this season. He is averaging 20.8 points, 13.9 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game this season. He is shooting 81 percent from the field.

SEE ALSO: Indiana basketball sets two in-home visits with key transfer targets

247Sports Analyst Adam Finkelstein recently broke down Bidunga’s game when the 2024 rankings were updated.

“Bidunga is the most dominant interior player in the class. And that is really the most appropriate word to describe him: “Dominant.” Bidunga is a physical force like no other in the class,” Finkelstein said. “He’s an explosive vertical athlete and violent dunker (with both hands), who looks to rip the rim off at virtually every opportunity. He’s an equally emphatic rim protector on the defensive end of the floor. Overall, he’s the type of athlete who gets his head on the rim with regularity, does it on both ends of the floor and plays with the high motor necessary to maximize his physical tools.”

Bidunga has gone unranked up to a consensus five-star and top three prospect in the class in just a bit over a year. His rise has been tremendous to watch and follow.

“Flory has came a long way in 11 months and he is only going to get better as he becomes more comfortable with the game,” Kokomo head coach John Peckinpaugh previously told HoosierIllustrated. “His work ethic is amazing and he is extremely coachable.”

Bidunga is a priority target for the Indiana basketball and Saturday’s courtside visit with the entire staff continues to show that even more.

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

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Indiana basketball in top five for Dayton transfer Mike Sharavjamts

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The Indiana basketball program made the top five for Dayton wing Mike Sharavjamts, who pulled out of the NBA Draft on Wednesday. (Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports)

The Indiana basketball program made the top five for Dayton transfer wing Mike Sharavjamts on Wednesday afternoon. The rest of his top five includes Pitt, Memphis, Nebraska and San Francisco.

Sharavjamts was testing the NBA draft waters but decided to return to school after receiving feedback.

According to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, Sharavjamts will be announcing his decision ‘within the next week’.

Sharavjamts is a 6-foot-8 and 180-pound wing who averaged 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game as a freshman at Dayton. He shot 38.8 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from three (29-of-92). He started 20 out of 32 games played.

Sharavjamts spent time at Legacy Christian (OH) and Prolific Prep (CA) in high school before playing at International Sports Academy (OH) for his final year. He was AAU teammates for one season with incoming Indiana freshman guard Gabe Cupps on Midwest Basketball Club.

He averaged 10.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 24 games in 2021-22 for the International Sports Academy. He shot 51.2 percent from three (44-of-86).

He is the first Mongolian citizen to play Division I men’s basketball.

Coming out of high school, Sharavjamts was ranked No. 93 in the 2022 247Sports composite rankings. He had offers from Dayton, Rutgers, Providence and others.

He is currently the No. 34 overall transfer.

The Indiana basketball program currently has one available scholarship. It has a transfer class that includes Oregon center Kel’el Ware, Miami forward Anthony Walker and Ball State forward Payton Sparks.

SEE ALSO: Kel’el Ware ready to make big impact for Indiana basketball: ‘(I’m ready) to prove everybody wrong’

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

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2024 five-star point guard Boogie Fland is eyeing an Indiana basketball visit (Eugene Rapay/The Journal News-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The Indiana basketball program is expected to have multiple notable prospects on campus this summer. One of those players is 2024 five-star point guard Boogie Fland.

Fland is looking to visit Indiana in June, HoosierIllustrated.com was told. There is no date set in stone, but the expectation is he will be on campus next month.

Fland is from Archbishop Stepinac (NY) and PSA Cardinals on the Nike EYBL circuit.

He is ranked No. 6 overall in the 2024 class and ranked as the No. 2 point guard in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

The Indiana basketball staff had been involved with Fland back in the winter but not much had progressed until recently.

Fland was a perceived heavy North Carolina lean but after the Tar Heels landed five-star guards Elliot Cadeau and Ian Jackson, the Fland to UNC talk subsided a bit. North Carolina is still heavily involved.

Fland has taken two official visits. His first to North Carolina in the fall and then to Michigan this May. Other programs involved are Kentucky, UConn, Alabama, St. John’s, Auburn, Miami and others.

The development of Jalen Hood-Schifino was significant for Fland and his relationship with the Indiana basketball program. Though they aren’t identical players in terms of skill set, the responsibility and development Hood-Schifino had in his freshman season is notable.

“Jalen Hood-Schifino, that is something you can see. he’s a big guard who can play on and off (the ball), can defend the 1, can defend 2. Similar height, 6-foot-4 ish. I can see that. Indiana played Hood-Schifino and Xavier together,” PSA Cardinals head coach Joe Brown told HoosierIllustrated. “He was playing as a freshman and in the rotation. He had a significant role before the injury to Xavier. So that shows that Mike Woodson doesn’t have a problem playing freshmen. There are young guys in the rotation consistently … You can see the fact that coach Woodson definitely trusts Hood-Schifino.”

Because Fland can play both with and without the ball in his hands, going to a place where he can do both is ideal.

Whether that be with another point guard like Hood-Schifino and Xavier Johnson did, or just another potential ball handler, that’s a situation that would give Fland the chance to showcase his versatility on the offensive end.

“His versatility allows him to do both. A place where there is an equal balance. Playing in the backcourt with another point guard is something he’s done his whole life. He’s always played with another point guard, so ideally that would be a good space for him. Playing with a guard who can shoot the ball so you’re not just locked in to playing off the ball because you’re a better shooter. It’s not just the system but the personnel as well.”

Fland is a terrific scoring guard who has great explosiveness. Fland is always in attack mode and can score at all three levels on the floor. He is best with the ball in his hands and making plays for himself or teammates. Fland has a very good mid-range game and utilizes a lot of different moves in the paint to create separation and get his shot up.

With good size as well, at 6-foot-4, he’s a long and rangy guard who is a very talented defender. He has the tools to be a lockdown on ball defender as well as talented off the ball defensive player.

“His athleticism is getting better and he’s playing above the rim now a lot more … he did a good job physically getting stronger (this year) and you can see that with his explosiveness now,” Brown added of Fland’s improvements. “From a maturity standpoint, he’s taken leaps and bounds. His ability to run a team more, he’s been able to showcase that … And being more consistent as a three-level scorer. Getting accustomed to having the game slow down to where he knows where his shots can come from.”

Through 16 games on the EYBL Circuit this summer, Fland is averaging 15.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. He’s shooting 45.3 percent from the field, 34.1 percent from three (31-of-91) and 79.1 percent from the free throw line (53-of-67). He has two 30+ point games this summer.

As a junior, Fland averaged 18.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He shot 34.6 percent from three (62-of-179). They finished 22-10 and second in their league.

SEE ALSO: ‘It’s going to be my job to bridge the gap’: Mike Woodson’s vision for Indiana basketball is coming to life

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: Payton Sparks named among ‘hidden gem’ transfer additions this offseason

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Ball State transfer Payton Sparks was named an underrated transfer this offseason as he makes the move to the Indiana basketball program. (Jordan Kartholl / The Star Press-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The Indiana basketball transfer class this offseason was an important one to keep any momentum from the first two years of the Mike Woodson era. After back-to-back years of making the NCAA Tournament, ushering in a new era of Indiana basketball was here.

With Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino two of seven total departures, the Hoosiers had large shoes to fill.

It did so by landing the No. 12 overall transfer class this offseason. While it was headlined by former five-star center Kel’el Ware, Ball State forward Payton Sparks and Miami (Fla.) forward Anthony Walker bring versatile skillsets to the floor as well.

And for Sparks, he was labeled as one of the ‘hidden gems’ from the transfer portal.

“Indiana’s frontcourt is filled with big-name additions from Power 6 programs, so it’d be easy for Payton Sparks to slip through the cracks. But the Ball State transfer will have a real shot at an enormous role,” 247Sports national writer Isaac Trotter wrote. “He’s averaged at least 13 points and eight rebounds in each of the last two seasons. He has to answer some questions about defending Big Ten big men, but Sparks is a warrior on the glass and a high-effort player at all times. Sparks will help Indiana a ton.”

Sparks was ranked as just the No. 167 overall transfer in the portal this offseason but his addition to Indiana can’t be understated.

In two seasons for the Cardinals, Sparks averaged 13.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He started all 62 games he appeared in. Last year, Sparks averaged 13.3 points and 8.7 rebounds. He ranked second in the MAC in offensive rebound rate (12.9) and fourth in the league in total rebound rate (17.3).

Sparks brings a tremendous motor and ability to score in the paint. His toughness is also valuable. He ranked third in the NCAA in free throw rate (87.1) and 16th in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (6.8).

“I really like the addition of Payton to our program for several reasons,” Woodson said of Sparks. “He is an experienced player with a great work ethic, who had tremendous success individually while at Ball State. He gives us an inside scoring threat who can defend and rebound. I really like his ability to fight on the offensive glass and his ability to draw fouls on the opposition, which was one of the best nationally, is a tremendous asset.”

The expectation is that Sparks will be a valuable role player to start, but that role could become increasingly important as the season progresses.

His value is also measured with his two remaining years of eligibility left.

SEE ALSO: Five thoughts on Indiana basketball transfer portal activity following portal deadline

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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