Indianapolis – Tom Crean’s 2015 recruiting class was not a highly rated one, but all the players in it have found their way to the NBA, including OG Anunoby, who scored a career-high 25 points on February 10 as his defending champion Toronto Raptors won their 15th straight game.
Indiana’s 2015 class — which also included Thomas Bryant (Wizards) and Juwan Morgan (Jazz) — is Indiana’s only class since 247sports.com began tracking recruiting rankings that has seen all the members move on to the NBA. And the class ranked just 32nd collectively in the country at the time in 2015.
While Bryant was hyped and ranked no. 20 nationally in the class, Morgan was ranked #117 and Anunoby was even lower at #294.
Anunoby said he is happy to be see an entire class play at the highest level.
“It’s cool, we’re all excited,” Anunoby said. “We all like the NBA so it’s cool.”
Morgan said he is happy to follow the path of his former IU teammates Anunoby and Bryant.
“It speaks to the level of development that’s happening at IU and the amount of talent that comes out each and every year,” Morgan told assemblycall.com when interviewed about his IU career on November 27.
Bryant said despite his success, he is still just attempting to carve out his niche at the pinnacle of basketball.
“I’m still working to try to make it big in the NBA,” he told assemblycall.com when interviewed on November 6. “Always have a real great work ethic. Just always try to work as hard as you can day in and day out, and always believe in yourself.”
For Anunoby, he was part of the Big Ten Title team his freshman season at IU along with Bryant and Morgan. After a slow start to the season for the team and himself personally, Anunoby came into his own in Big Ten play averaging 5.8 points during conference games (up from 4.8 overall). His biggest contributions, of course, came on the defensive end and Anunoby’s emergence was pivotal in helping to secure the conference crown.
Anunoby said coming out on top in the Big Ten was a season highlight for him.
“Just winning the Big Ten. That was my favorite moment,” he said.
His sophomore season saw his scoring up to 11.1 per game. However, opposite of his freshman year, the team started strong with wins over highly ranked Kansas and North Carolina before tailing off in Big Ten play and missing the NCAA tournament.
Anunoby also dealt with injuries all year and played in just 16 of 35 games, missing three games in December following a knee injury. He then suffered a serious knee injury against Penn State that caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Anunoby believes the season may have had a different outcome for the team had he not been dealt these setbacks.
“I think we would have made the tournament if I didn’t get hurt, but that’s what happened,” he said.
Despite the injury, Anunoby still shot up draft boards and declared for the NBA the following year, where he was selected 23rd overall by the Raptors.
He said working back from the setback was trying, but very rewarding, as he got his pro basketball career started.
“Recovering from the injury was a lot of hard work but it was worth it,” he said.
Anunoby continues to play a significant role for Raptors. He has also become just the seventh former Hoosier with an NBA title and the first since IU great Isiah Thomas in 1990.
Anunoby has a career average of 7.4 points and has upped his scoring average each season while starting 61% of the games in his NBA career.
He said contributing to a championship team has been a great experience.
“It’s always fun to win so I enjoy that a lot,” he said.
He returned to Indiana on February 7 to play the Pacers in Indianapolis. In doing so, he became the first former Hoosier player to play against Pacer star and former IU player Victor Oladipo during the 2019-2020 season following Oladipo’s return from his year long injury absence.
Anunoby said playing against Oladipo was a cool experience.
“It (was) fun to play against him,” he said.
For the game Anunoby scored 16 points while Oladipo added 15.