BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (BVM) – Last season, Indiana showed that its program is heading in the right direction after clinching an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 2016. The Hoosiers’ late run in March is what this team will mostly be remembered for, as they knocked off Michigan and Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament to clinch a spot in the Big Dance.
The Hoosiers also defeated Wyoming in their First Four matchup of the NCAA Tournament before ultimately falling to Saint Mary’s in the round of 64.
Since the season ended, many questions have been answered about the roster for next year.
Seniors Trayce Jackson-Davis, Xavier Johnson, Race Thompson and Miller Kopp, as well as junior guard Trey Galloway, all announced that they will be coming back next season. Indiana will also be returning sophomore guard Tamar Bates and junior forward Jordan Geronimo. This leads Indiana to return 78.1% of the team’s minutes from a season ago.
The biggest news of the offseason was the announcement that Jackson-Davis is returning after testing NBA Draft waters. Jackson-Davis averaged 18.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game with 81 blocks last season. He’ll look to build off last season as he aims to lead the Hoosiers back to national relevancy.
“I would say the biggest thing for me is to try to win a championship,” Jackson-Davis said in an interview after announcing he was coming back. “Obviously, take it first with the Big Ten and then see what happens in the NCAA Tournament.”
Alongside Jackson-Davis, Johnson averaged 12.1 points and 3.8 assists and Thompson recorded 11.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this past season. Galloway, Geronimo and Bates are all projected to make big leaps after flashing potential as well in 2021-22.
Kopp is also expected to get back on track after an inconsistent first year in Bloomington where he only averaged six points after averaging double digits at Northwestern.
The Hoosiers did lose some key players to the transfer portal such as senior guard Parker Stewart to UT-Martin, senior center Michael Durr to UCF and senior guard Rob Phinisee — who hit the game winning 3-pointer to knock off Purdue in January — to Cincinnati.
"We just wanted to win the game, so I hit the big shot."
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) January 21, 2022
In addition to the players returning, Indiana head coach Mike Woodson was able to put together a top–10 nationally–ranked recruiting class. Indiana landed five-star guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, four-star forwards Malik Renau and Kaleb Banks, and three-star guard CJ Gunn.
Hood-Schifino averaged 12.3 points and 4.7 assists per game during his high school career at Montverde Academy which ended in a national championship.
Renau, who was Hood-Schifino’s teammate at Montverde Academy, averaged 20.5 points per contest.
Banks, who played for Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia, recorded 23.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game throughout his high school career. Banks was named the Class 4A player of the year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Gunn averaged 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in his junior year of high school which led Lawrence North to an Indiana Class 4A state runner-up appearance. Gunn also set a school record with nine 3-pointers in a game which helped make him a finalist for Indiana Mr. Basketball. After suffering a broken toe last summer, Gunn had to miss the first part of his senior season but was able to make the most of his return.
“I’m very excited to have these young men join the program and have the opportunity to attend what I feel is the greatest university in the country,” Woodson said in an interview in November. “As a group, we are bringing in versatile players who have a great work ethic and tremendous attitudes, and we believe that they will continue to better themselves not only as players, but as people as well.
The last time Indiana won the Big Ten was 2016, and since then, they have come nowhere close. With the returning players and new additions, the Hoosiers could soon find themselves competing for a Big Ten championship and making a run in the NCAA Tournament.