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Indiana Basketball Returner Focus: Senior Guard Anthony Leal



Indiana Basketball
Feb 21, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Anthony Leal (3) shoots during the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana basketball program is going to look a whole lot different with many new faces coming in this season plus the new versatile style of play that is expected to take place.

While there are many new faces to the program, the Hoosiers will return six players with the experience to help lead the new group.

Earlier this offseason, we took a look at all the new players in our Indiana basketball Newcomer Focus series. Now, we will focus on the guys that will return for Mike Woodson and Indiana this upcoming season.

For today, we take a look at senior guard Anthony Leal and look back at last year plus his role for the 2023-2024 Indiana basketball season.

Other Players in this series: Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway

Last Season Reflection

In the 2022-23 season, Indiana basketball fans did not get to see a whole lot of Anthony Leal as far as on the court. Due to the loaded backcourt rotation for the Hoosiers last season, there was not any realistic opportunities for Leal to earn valuable minutes.

In total, Leal only appeared in 11 games and only scored once with that coming in Indiana’s road loss to Michigan State. The most minutes that Leal played in a single game was in Indiana’s win over Elon where he played a total 5 minutes.

There was a chance that Leal could have seen more minutes but he missed multiple games due a ankle injury. Leal’s minutes mainly came at the end of games when everything was pretty much wrapped up as far as the outcome.

While Leal did not make any news on the court last season for Indiana, off the court is where Leal made the biggest impact.

Last December, Leal surprised his older sister, who also went to Indiana University, on Christmas day by paying off her student loans, which was reported to be over $50,000. Due to Leal’s NIL deals that he has, he was able to do something incredibly special which also showed the benefits of what NIL money can be used for.

“Some folks have negative opinions about NIL,” Leal said on a Twitter post. “But without it, things like this wouldn’t be possible.”

This act of incredible kindness made news across the nation and showed what incredible person and teammates Leal is on and off the floor.

Leal would also graduate last season after only three years of schooling.

More: IU basketball guard Anthony Leal and former forward Miller Kopp earn NABC Honors Court Accolades

Role for 2023-24 Season

Despite being one of the few more experienced players on this year’s Indiana basketball roster, Leal’s role for the Hoosiers will likely remain the same as it has been the past few seasons in Bloomington.

Since Mike Woodson took over as head coach, Leal has not seemed to have a prominent role on the court for the Hoosiers.

Leal, along with fellow senior guard Trey Galloway, was recruited by former Indiana head coach Archie Miller and when Miller was let go, Leal opted to remain in Bloomington and be a part of the program.

Unlike Galloway however, Leal has just never been a true part of the backcourt rotation. It is often thought of that if Miller was still the head coach of the Hoosiers, Leal’s role in the backcourt would look as lot different as he was featured much more during the 2020-21 season.

Indiana comes into next season with a ton of youth, inexperience, and a reliance on untapped potential, especially at the guard and wing potions. Leal, Galloway, and Xavier Johnson are the only seniors on Indiana’s roster next season.

Mike Woodson and the rest of the Indiana basketball staff will be expecting the younger guards to develop and contribute this season. If the younger guards do not see the level of development that Woodson is wanting, Leal could see more of a role due to his experience.

Whether he plays a ton or not this season, Leal is expected to be a great teammate and leader at the very least.

Leal comes into this season having two years of eligibility left due to his COVID year, even with graduating.

Notable Quotes

“You’ll have your stats and all this stuff you earn on the court, but where you really impact people is what you do besides that,” Leal said last season. So I try to set a good example, be a great friend, be a great person and in terms of the way I am on the bench… I just imagine if I were out there playing I would want my bench to support me and cheer me on and support me no matter what happens. So I try to start that and kinda get a trend going where guys are all supporting each other and the energy’s contagious. So I try to invoke some passion and I think it has helped and will continue to help.”

SEE ALSO: ‘There may not be a more naturally gifted player in the class’: Indiana basketball forward Mackenzie Mgbako one of the ‘defining names’ in offseason

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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.