Hoosier Hierarchy: 6-11
6. Gabe Cupps
While the team's starting backcourt was ridiculed by Mike Woodson after their poor performance last time out, true freshman point guard Gabe Cupps was lauded by his commander. The floor general may be averaging a mere 3 points per game, but his ability to handle the pressure that comes with orchestrating a team almost immediately in his first year has undoubtedly been a silver lining for this squad. He gets the team into it's offensive sets, avoids turning the ball over, and has been the best point of attack defender on the perimeter all season.
As he continues to build confidence at this level, he will surely catapult himself into a high-quality PG. With Johnson now back in the rotation, Cupps may not find himself in the starting lineup going forward but will certainly combine with Anthony Walker to offer Mike Woodson two very serviceable reserves who can both play big minutes if needed.
7. Xavier Johnson
There was an abundance of eagerness amongst the fanbase upon receiving word that Johnson would be returning in the last outing versus the Cornhuskers. When the final buzzer sounded, those waves of excitement had washed away. XJ looked mightily rusty after missing the team's previous 7 games, and it may take him a few games to regain his mojo.
With those things in mind, there is no denying how significant Xavier Johnson is to this team's success. One could argue that the team would have emerged victorious had he been healthy in the blue blood battle with Kansas a few weeks back. But that is the past, and as we look to the future it will be intriguing to see how quickly he can reacquaint himself on the floor.
8. CJ Gunn
CJ Gunn sparked a lot of good vibes after playing an essential part in the victory over Michigan in early December. If there is one positional department in need of the biggest boost on this roster, it is 1000% the backcourt. Unfortunately, the spark that was ignited in Ann Arbor has flickered since, and he did not do much before that game to inspire confidence in his ability to fill this team's depth void on the perimeter.
9. Kaleb Banks
Banks has the physical tools (6'8", 220 pounds) and athleticism to develop into a versatile combo forward. However, his tangible gifts have not produced the type of measurable results that many had hoped for.
10. Payton Sparks
After dominating lower level opponents in two seasons at Ball State, Sparks has not factored much into Indiana's rotation after coming over through the transfer portal. However, his rugged style of play could definitely come in handy down the road (looking at you Zach Edey).
11. Anthony Leal
As the only other member of the 2023-2024 team to see minutes, senior Anthony Leal has not done a ton during the moments when he has been summoned from the end of the bench. The former Mr. Basketball may not ever earn a major role in the rotation this year, but he never seems to let that phase him in terms of encouraging his teammates and remaining positive.