Tamar Bates and CJ Gunn: The Ones That Got Away

CJ Gunn, Indiana Men's Basketball
CJ Gunn, Indiana Men's Basketball / David Berding/GettyImages

For the second consecutive season, the Indiana men's basketball team has lost an incredibly important wing player to the dreaded transfer portal.

Last year, it was the smooth southpaw Tamar Bates who elected to take his talents elsewhere (that elsewhere came to be Missouri). Now, it is CJ Gunn who has announced his intent to enter the transfer portal along with his fellow Hoosier teammates Kaleb Banks and Payton Sparks. While the losses of Banks and Sparks certainly sting, it is the departure of Gunn which should prove most fatal to the 2024-2025 Indiana men's basketball team.

The sophomore's decision comes on the heels of an underwhelming campaign in 2023-2024 in which he strung together nightly averages of 12.9 MPG, 3.9 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.6 APG and 0.8 SPG on frigid shooting splits of 34.2% FG/34.0% 3/66.7% FT in 29 games. Despite the lousy statline, Gunn capped off the season with a career high 17 points in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinal loss to Nebraska. Stretching beyond that, he has all the tools to become a quality swingman when given the chance.

At 6'6", 200 pounds with a 6'9" wingspan, the Indianapolis native will have no shortage of suitors on the open market. And seeing how seamlessly a change of scenery served his fellow former Hoosier, it would not be appalling to envision Gunn's performance next season similarly haunting the entire cream and crimson fanbase the way Bates's did in 2023-2024.

In 32 games (25 starts), Bates finished the year with averages of 27.4 MPG, 13.5 PPG (second on Missouri's squad), 3.0 RPG, 1.3 APG and 0.8 SPG on sizzling shooting splits of 49.5% FG/38.5% 3/92.6% FT. His leap year came immediately after a sophomore season at Indiana in which he averaged 20.4 MPG, 6.1 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.1 APG and 0.5 SPG on somewhat sour shooting splits of 39.2% FG/37.4% 3/92.6% FT in 35 games (2 starts).

Might history repeat itself? Possibly. But regardless of the torture it may cause the true IUBB fans, we obviously hope Gunn can thrive at his next stop similar to the manner in which Bates has made a home at Mizzou.

Keep going, CJ!