A look at the decisions of the nine remaining IU basketball players in the 2021-22 squad – The Daily Hoosier
The news fell very quickly last week.
In the space of approximately 48 hours, IU went from being over-signed by three players to an open purse for the 2022-23 team.
Khristian Lander, Michael Durr, Parker Stewart and Rob Phinisee have all put their names on the transfer portal, and none of these decisions could have come as a major surprise to anyone paying close attention.
Indiana has three Class of 2022 recruits signed up for next season, which means they have a clear purse opening for the roster.
But we are not done with the decisions to stay or leave the 2021-22 squad. In the age of college basketball, everyone is seemingly on a one-year contract, with transfer portal “free agency” as a possibility, as well as professional options for some.
Let’s take a look at the calculation of the other nine, most of whom haven’t definitively announced their intention to return.
Trayce Jackson Davis is the headliner of the group. For the third consecutive season, fans are waiting for his next move. After his first season, the decision seemed pretty clear. But after a productive second campaign and a coaching change, many assumed the 6-foot-9 All-Big Ten performer would move on. Now that Jackson-Davis is considering a return for his true senior season (he has two years left of eligibility), there are new variables to consider.
The 22-year-old is currently a fringe player in the NBA, with elite athleticism but some gaps in his skill repertoire. He seems like a safe bet to enter the NBA draft process, if only to get some commentary, while still preserving his option to go back to college. NBA draft projections put him from late in the second round to undrafted. The dynamic has changed for Jackson-Davis since his decision a year ago. Although staying would mean giving up another year of professional income, NIL’s college opportunities can rival what he could earn, at least in the NBA G-league. This one seems to be able to go both ways.
The deadline for early-entry subclasses wishing to declare for the draft is April 24. They must withdraw by June 1 to maintain college eligibility.
Thompson race is considering a return for a sixth year at Indiana. This aspect in itself is part of its decision-making process. Had enough of college life? Thompson could surely move on to play basketball overseas if he so chooses, or he could move on to other career ambitions. He showed his hand somewhat while participating in Senior Night, although he later stated that no decision had been made.
Thompson has some risk in returning, at least to Indiana. Jordan Geronimo’s natural position seems to be the four. If he returns, Thompson could be pushed back into the five if Jackson-Davis leaves, or knocked out of the starting five if Geronimo continues to develop as most expect. Indiana is also recruiting 5-star power forward Malik Reneau to compete for the spot, and rookie Kaleb Banks will present another potentially more versatile option to the four.
Wherever he plays next year, the key for Thompson would appear to be the magic he found at the end of the season when he went from 11 of 23 to 3 points on a 13-game streak. .
Jordan Geronimo seems like someone who could wait and see what Thompson does. While he can certainly get the veteran four out of the starting spot on his own, Geronimo might prefer a cleaner path to more playing time as a member of the top class that doesn’t include beating a 62-game starter. . The other alternative for Geronimo develops in all three roles. This would require significant skill development, mainly in his ball handling and passing. But Geronimo probably has the highest cap in the squad, so major progress in those areas won’t come as a surprise. But we love him as a small four-man anyway, a role he flourished in on the defensive side late in the season. Geronimo also has the unique pressure of being away from his New Jersey home, something that seemed to weigh on him when he decided to step into the Portal last season.
Logan Duncomb is another player who seems to be heavily impacted by the decisions of others. He’s not going to eliminate Jackson-Davis from the top five if the veteran big man were to return, and Duncomb probably doesn’t want to spend another year chained to the bench. Durr’s departure at least opens up the backstop minutes, which may be enough for the 18-year-old who probably should have been in a redshirt last season rather than playing just 20 minutes.
Miller Kopp is in a somewhat similar position to Thompson, and in his case, Kopp is under competitive pressure from multiple directions. As mentioned, Geronimo could evolve into his three-man role, and Trey Galloway, Tamar Bates and others could push him out of lineup for more of a three-guard look. Kopp could also move into a small four-ball role. Whatever the move, he’s a known commodity at this point in his career – he’s a catch-and-shoot guy, and a pretty good one when the offense produces open shots. It’s something Indiana definitely wants to keep. The only question is how hungry is Kopp for guaranteed minutes?
Anthony Leal tweeted “Beyond blessing God allow me to wear INDIANA on my chest. Back to work for next season” two weeks ago. We suspect that was the extent of what you will hear from Leal in the offseason on that. He’ll be back for next season, and he certainly has the ability to push Kopp as well.
Trey Galloway is another player who is expected to be back, and we’re guessing his ‘We’ll be back’ post on Instagram, along with pictures of him playing for Indiana, was his announcement to that end . Galloway worked his way into the top five as a sophomore, and there’s no reason he can’t be there when the 2022-23 campaign begins in November, especially if his peripheral shooting presents itself.
Tamar Bates is the player who has the golden opportunity to take a major leap in his second season in college. The versatile wing fell into a mid-season slump but is another young player with a very high ceiling for the Hoosiers. If the family challenges of being away from home aren’t on your mind, expect Bates to return with renewed focus in Year Two.
by Xavier Johnson The end of the 2021-22 season was one of the main titles, if not the main title, of Mike Woodson’s first season. His mid-season improvement suggests a good fit with the IU head coach. It would be hard to understand why Johnson would want to go anywhere else after the progress he has made under Woodson’s tutelage. The only variable could be Jackson-Davis, who Johnson worked so well with late in the season.
He might prefer to have this elite big man to complement his game wherever he plays. But Johnson has a shot at being a first-team All-Big Ten point guard next year, as well as the chance to defend in the NBA if he can start making three-pointers on the dribble. Expect him to return and form a powerful playmaking duo with 5-star rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino.
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