So many story lines come to mind when one examines the roster for Bob Knight’s Hoosiers of 1998-99.
IU’s only seniors that season, William Gladness and Rob Turner, were both junior college transfers to Indiana. The junior class included the likes of A.J. Guyton, the leading scorer from the 1997-98 team, and Michael Lewis, who would eventually leave Bloomington as IU’s all-time leader in assists.
Furthermore, a crop of four freshmen would endure a major interruption to their college career with the firing of Bob Knight in 2000. Those freshmen included Kirk Haston, Tom Guyer, Dane Fife, and Jarrod Odle. The latter two would go on to player big roles during the 2001-02 season when IU would reach the NCAA title game against Maryland.
Following the 1992-93 season, when IU would win their last Big Ten title under Bob Knight, the Hoosiers were competitive, but never were able to go deep in the NCAA Tournament. The Hoosiers of 1998-99 would go on to a 23-11 record, 9-7 in the Big Ten (3rd place), and would fall to St. Johns 86-61 in the round of 32. The win over George Washington in the opening round of the 1999 NCAA’s would also be Knight’s last NCAA Tournament victory as Indiana’s head coach.
This 1998-99 Indiana Hoosiers team signed basketball also features the signatures of two other unique Hoosiers:
- Luke Recker, the highly recruited McDonald’s All-American from Dekalb High School who committed to Indiana as a sophomore, would lead the 1998-99 team in scoring before transferring at the end of the season to Arizona, and then finally ending up at Iowa.
- Antwaan Randle El, the IU football star, would be a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2001, as well as remain the only Division 1 football player in history to throw for 40 touchdowns and rush for 40 touchdowns in a career. Randle El was a three sports star for Thornton Township H.S. in Illinois, and would go onto to be a three-sport athlete at Indiana (football, basketball, and baseball). Randle El’s lone season playing or Bob Knight would be 1998-99.