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Indiana begins critical recruiting weekend that could open floodgates for 2024 class



Indiana Basketball
Liam McNeeley, Derik Queen and Curtis Givens headline a massive recruiting weekend for Indiana basketball. (NBPA Top 100 - @top100camp / Instagram)

Friday is the beginning of a critical weekend in a busy month for the Indiana basketball program and the team’s efforts in its 2024 recruiting class. Indiana will be hosting two five-star prospects and one four-star prospect.

All three recruiting targets on campus are high school teammates at the coveted Montverde Academy (Fla.). Not only are these three key visits for Indiana because they are all highly-ranked prospects, but the Hoosiers are in the lead group … and the leader for one of them.

Five-star wing Liam McNeeley headlines the trio of visitors. Indiana has been in the lead group for nearly the entirety of his recruitment, but now sit at the top. Indiana is the clear leader for the talented perimeter player. This will be his second official visit to Bloomington and a key one at that.

“The weekend of September 8 looms large,” 247Sports National Recruiting Director Eric Bossi said. “ … It’s most important for where they stand with Liam McNeeley and really trying to lock that up and get it done.”

Related: Indiana basketball the ‘clear leader’ for Liam McNeeley as he eyes a potential decision date

Indiana has landed at least one five-star commitment in each of Mike Woodson’s first two true classes. But there is a real possibility he can get two this time around. McNeeley’s teammate, Derik Queen, will also be taking his second official visit to Indiana. Both players are friends in addition to teammates and where the Hoosiers stand with McNeeley only help the relationship with Queen.

Add in the third part of the equation — Curtis Givens. Givens is a top-40 guard in the class who was offered by Indiana this summer. Because of the ties to Montverde, IU was able to solidify itself as a real player in the recruitment in a short time. It also didn’t hurt having Jalen Hood-Schifino, Montverde Alum, produce the way he did as a freshman.

“The conversation I had with Coach Ya (Yasir Rosemond) was a very good conversation,” Givens told HoosierIllustrated. “He was telling me how much he loves my game and I remind him of Jalen Hood-Schifino. And he was also saying they have a good history of good guards and how they let their guards run the show. It’s really ideal for a point guard to be in that system with being given the keys to run the offense.”

Indiana has made significant strides in the recruiting world over the last 24 months — going from an afterthought on the national stage to being a key player in numerous five-star recruitments. It was a big shift that Mike Woodson prioritized when he took the Indiana job over.

“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 this summer. “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.

“I thought we were based on Indiana basketball and the history of it. 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.”

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

There’s no doubt that Indiana’s recruiting has taken a step up — it needed to.

This weekend is critical and with a decision that could come in the next month from McNeeley, it’s a weekend that can really open the floodgates for this 2024 class.

It’s also a weekend that can be a culmination of what Mike Woodson has pushed so hard for since he returned to Bloomington — but, like all things recruiting, it won’t be easy.

“Still, knocking it out of the park on interactions, presentations and vibe is no easy feat, especially when you know parents and players are having backchannel conversations/critiques real time. If Woodson can make the sell stick, he could be looking at potentially a top-three recruiting class.” – Rivals national analyst Jason Jordan said.

So, while Indiana still needs to continue to land the big fish, Woodson has been able to showcase his ability to win just about any recruitment he jumps both feet into.

It has been the underlying message to everyone in and outside of the program. In order for Indiana to get back to the top of the conversation in the Big Ten and the country, you need to win big-time recruitments.

And, sooner or later Mike Woodson may just be at the head of that table he so desperately just wanted a seat at.

“Upon his arrival, Coach Woodson immediately re-inserted our program into the national conversation both in terms of an elevated level of success on the court and in recruiting,” IU Athletic Director Scott Dolson said after announcing Woodson’s raise. ” … I believe under Coach Woodson’s leadership, we have positioned the program to compete at the highest levels in recruiting, which in turn will enable us to compete at the highest levels within the Big Ten and in the NCAA Tournament.”

SEE ALSO: Indiana Basketball Recruiting Visit Primer: Liam McNeeley, Derik Queen, Curtis Givens

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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.