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



Mike Woodson and his Indiana basketball staff continue to add talent to the roster, with no intention of stopping anytime soon. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The Indiana basketball program couldn’t land the ‘big ones’ for much of the last few years. Then, Mike Woodson ended that streak … and has done so ever since.

From the 2016 class until the 2021 class, Indiana landed two five-star players and one other top-30 player. In Woodson’s tenure, he has landed three five-star prospects, in at least one recruiting service, and one other top-30 player. He also landed another former five-star prospect from the transfer portal this offseason.

Before Woodson, the question was always if the team had enough talent. That’s not the case with the program that he has now built.

Indiana had Big Ten Freshman of the Year this past season with Jalen Hood-Schifino — now a projected late lottery to late first round selection in the upcoming NBA Draft. The development of Trayce Jackson-Davis from this staff has now put him in position to be a potential first round pick.

And once again for the 2023-24 season, there will be no question about the natural talent on the roster.

2023 five-star signee Mackenzie Mgbako and Oregon transfer Kel’el Ware, a 2022 five-star, are both McDonald’s All-Americans on the Indiana basketball roster. This is the first time since the 2016-17 season that IU will have multiple McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster.

Mgbako was the finishing touches on the 2023 recruiting class, committing to the Hoosiers in early May over Kansas.

“Everything they (Indiana) have been able to do over the last 30-45 days has now set themselves up for — now expectations going into next year, of something where you don’t drop off as much as it could’ve been going into next year,” HoosierIllustrated owner Alec Lasley said following the Mgbako commitment. “It was massive in what you’re trying to build in what is a bridge year and a gap year from the Trayce Jackson-Davis era to the 2024 and 2025 classes.”

“He’s a necessary addition for Indiana to continue cresting in the right direction,” CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander said of Mgbako. “… he’s going to step into Jackson-Davis’ role. He’s a better shooter and a more reliable shooter from the mid to deep range than Jackson-Davis was. Getting him was a big one.”

“I knew it. I mean, he didn’t tell me or anything. I just assumed it was Indiana because Mike Woodson is going to put him in the best position to succeed and to get to the next level,” 2024 five-star Indiana target Dylan Harper told

This week at the NBA Combine, both Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trayce Jackson-Davis made it known that their excitement for the Indiana basketball program is at an all-time high.

“I congratulate the coaches every time they win a recruit,” Jackson-Davis said to 247Sports writer Isaac Trotter. “ … I knew it was going to be good. Knew Coach Woodson would pull that one in. I’m really proud of them that they got another squad. That was my main focus that when I left everything was still going in the right direction.”

“I’m actually down training with one of the guys, Kel’el Ware. I knew him a little bit. They added him, the kid from Miami, then Mackenzie Mgbako, a top-10 recruit. That was huge. Got to talk to him a little bit,” Hood-Schifino added. “I knew Coach Woodson and the rest of the coaching staff would get it going down there. The program is only going up from here. Really happy for us. Can’t wait to see how it goes next season.”

After six years without an NCAA Tournament berth, the Hoosiers have gone to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in Mike Woodson’s first two years. It was also the first time since the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons in which Indiana had back-to-back 20+ win seasons.

Indiana finished the 2022-23 season 23-12 and secured a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Its 12 Big Ten wins were the highest since the 2015-16 season and the second highest since 2012-13.

Despite the trajectory that the Indiana basketball program is on, it hasn’t reached an Elite Eight since 2002 when the Hoosiers were national runner-ups.

Mike Woodson’s goal(s) at Indiana are simple, and it looks like he’s not stopping until he gets the program back to national prominence. So far, he’s doing the little things that help build up a program to reach those milestones.

“I came back here to win Big Ten titles and a national title. That’s all I want,” Woodson said ahead of this past season. “I’m not going to push the team in any other direction. If they’re scared of that challenge, then they shouldn’t be here.”

SEE ALSO: Indiana Basketball Mailbag: Mackenzie Mgbako, final scholarship spot, IU back court & more

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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