Lenee Beaumont is IUWBB's Most Underrated Player

Lenee Beaumont, Indiana Women's Basketball
Lenee Beaumont, Indiana Women's Basketball / SOPA Images/GettyImages

Far too frequently in the modern age of basketball, we as fans fall prey to basing our respective assessments of players' performance directly off of the box score and game highlights. That means that a player could hypothetically do everything that their team needs them to do and more without scoring a single point but still get zero love from the fans. But the true fans always know when to appreciate a player who quietly gets the job done, even if their output may not result in massive numbers.

If you were a true fan of the 2023-2024 Indiana women's basketball team, than assuredly you came to appreciate the sneaky solid freshman campaign turned in by Lenee Beaumont. With so many heavy hitters surrounding her, casual fans may not have taken notice of Beaumont's genuine potential.

Not us, though. We saw you out there silently putting in work, Lenee.

Elissa Brett, Lenee Beaumont
Lenee Beaumont, Indiana Women's Basketball / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

Her nightly averages were not to be mistaken as spectacular: 9.6 MPG, 3.0 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.6 APG (compared to 0.4 TOPG), 0.2 SPG and 0 BPG on shooting splits of 51.6% FG/25.0% 3FG/70% FT. Again, it all goes back to the old saying that you should never judge a book (player) by it's (her) cover (box score digits).

Beaumont was never expected to put up major numbers as a freshman. She did not have to.

Obviously her head coach/American hero Teri Moren leaned heavily on her star tandem of Mackenzie Holmes and Sara Scalia in terms of scoring duties. Following them in the Hoosier hierarchy came the impending pair of 5th-year phenoms Sydney Parrish and Chloe Moore-McNeil while impending junior-to-be Yarden Garzon rounded out one of the most talented starting units in the history of this program.

Despite slotting in as ESPN's #83 ranked recruit in the class of 2023 AND earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors for the state of Illinois, Beaumont was primarily relegated to spot minutes throughout her first collegiate campaign. Regardless, she maintained a positive attitude day in and day out, and always appeared ready for battle when her team needed her backup. The wisdom and knowledge of the game that she surely received from her elders undoubtedly served to benefit her in the future.

The Future is Now

As previously noted, Beaumont had little-to-no responsibilities in the areas of scoring and playmaking as a freshman. There was simply too much offensive firepower on the squad for her to fully showcase her skillset. Her strongest contributions came as a perimeter defender (her length instantly made her an option for Moren to occasionally throw at opposing wing threats) and overall connector. She seemingly always made the right plays, and hardly came out of her shell offensively as she acclimated herself to the NCAA landscape.

But in the rare moments when she did dare to dazzle, it was not hard to see why she was so heavily regarded coming out of high school.

While the upcoming season's squad sustained it's stacked status from 2023-2024, we anticipate a major step forward for Beaumont during her second stint in Bloomington. It is assumed that she should feel much more comfortable on the court this coming season in comparison to last. With a heightened sense of comfort and self-confidence in herself, we have a heightened chance of catching more frequent flashes of her undercover brilliance.

At 6'1", Beaumont has the size to absorb minutes at the 1-3 spots (and maybe even some rare minutes at the 4). She has the intelligence to adapt her role as needed, and that point was strongly illustrated over the course of her first NCAA season. While her game has long been most effective as a primary playmaker, she is going to have to buy into whatever her coaches ask of her.

Here is to hoping that her coaches ask her to amp up her level of aggression this year, because once those handlebars come off and she genuinely embraces the challenge of becoming great, Lenee Beaumont is going to be a legitimate problem for Indiana's opponents.

Keep going, Lenee!