Thus far in the 2023-2024 college basketball season, it has been the ladies who have shouldered the bulk of the load as it pertains to keeping the collective Indiana basketball program afloat. Every season it seems as though all of the preseason buzz centered around IUBB is directly correlated to the men, but time and time again it has been the women who have had the greatest success in terms of wins and losses in recent memory. But while we thank those phenomenal females for their ongoing service, we cannot help but to wonder about what exactly is next for the IU men's hoops squad.
With the discombobulations heavily outweighing the dominance in regards to what has worked and what has not so far in the season, we have had little choice but to peek into the future for a glimpse of any type of present hope connected to this program. On the court, the Hoosiers have been abysmal with that especially being the case as of late (just narrowly avoiding a 4-game skid with tonight's wire-to-wire win over Iowa). With things looking sloppy on the court for the interim, we could not resist the urge to forecast the future. Mike Woodson has quietly been putting in strong recruiting work behind the scenes, and that silent courtship could prove deadly come the start of the 2024-2025 NCAA basketball campaign.
For starters, Indiana will lose 4 seniors to graduation at the conclusion of the present campaign: Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway, Anthony Walker, and Anthony Leal. The departure of that quartet will assuredly sting, with the primary pain stemming from the losses of Johnson and Galloway. While the senior backcourt duo has struggled with (in the case of Galloway) streakiness and (in the case of Johnson) a little bit of everything, there is no denying their significance to Hoosier hoops. On a positive note, barring any transfers/draft departures/etc. the team will return 8 guys who have seen the floor in 2023-2024 (that includes Jakai Newton who would certainly be a staple in the rotation were it not for his ongoing injury issues): Malik Reneau, Kel'el Ware, Mackenzie Mgbako, Gabe Cupps, CJ Gunn, Kaleb Banks, Payton Sparks, and Newton. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that is a super solid 8-man foundation to build a rotation around.
And let's not forget about the aforementioned strong recruiting efforts of Woody. As of today there is still just a single commitment signed up to join the 8 returnees in Bloomington next season, but that single signing will be a major breath of fresh air for a team in need of some serious refreshment. Liam McNeeley, who was just recently announced as a McDonald's All-American, became the latest big time recruit to choose Mike Woodson over the field. The 6'7'', roughly 190 pound wing has a PHd in buckets, and his shooting stroke is something that this fanbase would kill to have during this season's ongoing ice age from outside (collective 33.1% from downtown as a team). Nonetheless, visions of the talented incoming frosh perpetrate tantalizing images regarding how his time in B-Town will play out.
Take a moment to consider the potential rotation for the 2024-2025 Hoosiers as of today.
PG: Gabe Cupps
SG: Liam McNeeley
SF: Mackenzie Mgbako
PF: Malik Reneau
C: Kel'el Ware
G: Jakai Newton
G: CJ Gunn
F: Kaleb Banks
F-C: Payton Sparks