A recruiting trend is subtly working in Indiana Basketball’s favor.
Jonathan Kuminga, the former number one recruit in the country (before moving to the class of 2020), announced his decision to skip college and enroll in the NBA’s G League program on Wednesday night. Kuminga had been leaning towards joining the G League for several weeks. He elected to play professionally instead of attending one of the four schools on his final list: Texas Tech, Kentucky, Auburn, and Duke. He is the fifth top-100 prospect in the class of 2020 to sign with the G League.
Why is Kuminga’s news relevant to Indiana Basketball? Other than the fact that suburb talent is being kept out of enemy hands, the trend of high school players skipping college gives the Hoosiers a slight recruiting edge.
Archie Miller has proven himself as a recruiter during his short time as head coach of IU. He’s held true to his initial promise to lock down the state of Indiana. Miller has brought three straight Indiana Mr. Basketballs to Bloomington and it would have been four straight had Khristian Lander remained in the class of 2021. Miller has found a winning strategy: make your main recruiting priority known to both the media and recruits. That strategy has worked three out of four times; Dawson Garcia’s commitment to Marquette is the sole blemish.
There has been a trend with Miller’s success as a recruiter: he doesn’t usually go for one-and-done talents. Romeo Langford was a projected one-and-done prospect while in high school and he fulfilled that expectation. Other than Langford, all of the top-100 talent targets have stayed at their school longer than one season, or are projected to stay at their school longer than one season (in the case of Lander and Geronimo).
The jump straight from high school to the G League will impact teams like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and Michigan, who prioritize acquiring NBA-caliber talent above all else. Indiana, however, is going to keep mining local prospects who take multiple years to develop. If the most talented players — take Zion Williamson for example — don’t go to college, then that means it won’t be as easy for sheer talent to outweigh experience and chemistry built by teams who have more upperclassmen. This is a huge benefit to Indiana, which is why Hoosier fans should rejoice at prospects like Kuminga going pro.