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‘There may not be a more naturally gifted player in the class’: Mackenzie Mgbako one of the ‘defining names’ in MCBB offseason



Mackenzie Mgbako tabbed as one of the 'defining names' in the 2023 MCBB offseason. (Photo Credit: Indiana Athletics)

Indiana’s offseason was an overall huge success with portal additions, return of senior guard Xavier Johnson, hiring of Calbert Cheaney, and much more. Arguably, the biggest success of the offseason for Mike Woodson and the Hoosiers was the addition of 2023 five-star forward Mackenzie Mgbako.

Mgbako, a Gladstone, New Jersey native, originally committed to play college basketball at Duke as part of the 2023 class before decommitting in April of this year and reopening his recruitment. Once his decommitment from Duke became official, he would go on visits to St John’s, Kansas, and Indiana.

The five-star wing would then decide between Kansas and Indiana before ultimately committing to play college basketball for Mike Woodson and the Hoosiers and join the 2023 Indiana recruiting class alongside four star guards Gabe Cupps and Jakai Newton, which would rank No. 17 in the 247Sports team rankings.

Mgbako was a consensus five-star and ranked No. 8 by Rivals, No. 7 by 247Sports, No. 12 by On3, and No. 9 in the ESPN Top 100.

Playing for Roselle Catholic High School in Gladstone, New Jersey, he averaged 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

More: Kel’el Ware, Mackenzie Mgbako listed on 2024 NBA Draft Top-50 Big Board

The addition of Mgabko was not only a defining commitment for Mike Woodson and the Indiana Hoosiers, but for the entire men’s college basketball offseason as a whole.

Sports Illustrated writer Kevin Sweeney tabbed the commitment of Macknzie Mgbako to Indiana at No. 91 in his 101 Moves, Names and Narratives That Have Defined the 2023–24 Men’s College Hoops Offseason.

“The Hoosiers reeled in Mgbako this spring after he decommitted from Duke,” Kevin Sweeney said in his article. “There may not be a more naturally gifted player in the class than Mgbako, a big wing with high-end shot-creating ability. How he fits in on an Indiana team that lacks floor spacing around him will be a fascinating Big Ten story line.”

With how the roster is currently shaped, it is very likely that Mgbako will fill the starting wing role for Indiana in the 2023-24 college basketball season.

Mgbako is the versatile wing that Woodson has been searching for since he took over the Indiana basketball program. The former McDonald’s All-American brings athleticism, shooting, and overall elite playmaking on the wing, something the Hoosiers have not see in years as a program. He is also a player that can guard multiple positions on the floor.

“Mackenzie is a dynamic player and an outstanding young man from a great family,” Mike Woodson said on the addition of Mackenzie Mgbako. “He has the chance to have an immediate impact on our program.  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.  Like most freshmen, he will benefit greatly from time in the weight room.  He is a winner who has played against high-level competition and was a state champion in high school.  We can’t wait to welcome him and his family to Bloomington.”

Mackenzie Mgbako is the highest ranked player that Indiana has landed since Romeo Langford (2018). He and Kel’el Ware are the first McDonald’s All-Americans to commit to Indiana since Trayce Jackson-Davis (2019).

SEE ALSO: Indiana Basketball: Five questions the Hoosiers answered this 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.