Tuesday was a huge day for Mike Woodson and the Indiana Basketball program and there have been a lot of them this summer. Tuesday became one of the biggest when 2022 recruit Jalen Hood-Schifino announced his decision to play his college basketball for the Hoosiers. Landing Hood-Schifino (JHS) is a huge win for IU on so many levels.
First, it’s just further proof that Mike Woodson and his staff are not having any problems connecting with recruits on a personal level. Yes, from all accounts Kenya Hunter was a huge factor in landing JHS, but in the end, Mike Woodson had to sell his vision to the young man; his vision for the program, and his vision for JHS personally. Coach Woodson was able to do both. That is great news for Indiana.
Second, it also shows that this staff has the ability to go into places where Indiana has not gone before and bring in top-level talent.
Hood-Schifino plays his high school basketball at Montverde Academy, a prep school that is a national basketball powerhouse. Montverde churns out NBA talent year after year, including 7 players who were drafted in this year’s NBA draft.
IMG Academy where Tamar “Scoop” Bates played last season is another basketball powerhouse like that.
In those programs, these young men are competing against other D1 talent day after day. They are competing against other great players just for playing time, let alone in the games they play. I believe it gives them a definite competitive advantage going into their freshman season of college. Scoop showed that in the two recent exhibition games in the Bahamas.
Indiana being able to pull two recruits out of these powerhouse prep programs is a big deal. It’s not something that Indiana has done in the past. It’s big because it shows that Indiana is able to recruit players that are highly sought after by the best programs in the country. Indiana should be recruiting from the same pool as other blueblood programs, like Duke and Kentucky. We haven’t been.
I am not saying that Indiana hasn’t brought in some great players, even recently. They certainly have. TJD was a highly prized recruit, as was Romeo Langford before him.
What I am saying is, Indiana hasn’t been recruiting—or at least landing—the players out of these powerhouse prep schools that are a steady pipeline for the Duke’s and Kentucky’s of college basketball.
Perhaps this is a sign that is changing. If it is, it almost certainly has a lot to do with Mike Woodson and his NBA experience. The players at those prep schools have an eye on the NBA. It’s a realistic goal for many of them. They want to play at a school that can help get them there. They want to play for a coach who can help them get there.
Archie Miller was not that guy. There was nothing about Archie, or the Indiana program under his leadership, that assured that level of player that Indiana was the place that could help them get into the league.
Let’s be honest, if Romeo and Trayce weren’t from Indiana, Archie probably wouldn’t have gotten them. Thankfully, they were and he did.
Tamar Bates and Jalen Hood-Schifino weren’t Indiana guys. Yet, Coach Woodson and his staff were able to nab them regardless. I think that is a great sign for the program.
Another reason this commitment is such a huge deal for Indiana is, Jalen Hood-Schifino is a 6-5 combo guard. That means that he fits perfectly in the Indiana backcourt. If Xavier Johnson stays on at Indiana at season’s end, along with Scoop Bates, JHS could play right alongside them.
Even if Khristian Lander improves as much as we hope he does, JHS is comfortable playing off the ball as a shooting guard or a small forward. If Lander doesn’t make the leap we are hoping for, JHS’s versatility will be huge for Indiana. He can share the point guard responsibilities with Xavier Johnson for a season, before taking the reins the following season.
This commitment puts Indiana’s backcourt in a really good position going forward, barring the unforeseen.
Indiana’s 2022 recruiting class also includes 6-8 forward, Kaleb Banks, and 6-5 guard CJ Gunn, which at this point puts them as the number 2 recruiting class in the Big Ten currently, and number 5 nationally according to 247Sports.
The Hoosiers also await the decision of 6-9 power forward, Noah Clowney. Clowney has included Indiana in his final four schools. It has come down to IU, Virginia Tech, South Carolina (where he is from), and Xavier. He will be taking an official visit to Bloomington this coming weekend.
If Indiana could manage to land him along with the three recruits who have already committed, they would have a tremendous 2022 class coming in.
Hopefully, Indiana will have another big day when Clowney makes his choice.