If you were looking for some in depth researched article, discussing all of the prior evidence pointing to IU eventually becoming a recruiting juggernaut in college basketball… look elsewhere. This post is the tirade of an unapologetically optimistic Hoosier fanboy, and must be taken as such. So I just wanted to air out that disclaimer before beginning to express why Indiana is set to establish a farm system in the form of Montverde high school.
I’m beginning to think that the Jalen Hood-Schifino commitment will now be a milestone moment in the history of Indiana Basketball. Upon this rock, Woodson looks to build his church, trying to own Montverde as a pipeline. With official visits from 5 star commits Derik Queen and Liam McNeeley last weekend, Mike Woodson seems to be laying the seeds for a very fruitful recruiting harvest.
Montverde, for those unaware, was home to both Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau. As the previous home to our two most hyped recruits in some time, Montverde is a national high school powerhouse. Needless to say, Derik Queen and Liam McNeeley play Montverde’s brand of basketball. That brand being utter decimation of their opponent.
McNeeley is the number 21 overall player for the class of 2024. At 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds, the small forward has the prototypical frame of an NBA 3. This will be his first winter will be his first season with Montverde (his junior year). Him and Derik Queen’s recruitments do look intertwined as the two have look to have expressed interest to follow up their junior years at Montverde with commitments to possibly the same program.
Getting Derik Queen would impact our program immensely. The young man is a 6-foot-9, 220 lb. center from Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently ranked the no. 15 overall recruit and the no. 2 center in the nation. Both of these guys will be a target for each and every title contender in the nation. Here’s hoping Mike Woodson can continue getting into the ear of these top level recruits and sell them on a tradition and idea of Indiana dominance to come.
If Indiana can lock up these two and sell them on running it back with their team’s alumni at the highest level, year after year, I don’t see why we couldn’t keep the trend going and establish the single most valuable recruiting pipeline at this point in college basketball.
We’ve got the money to get the top of the top guys in Bloomington. Now it’s just a matter of being able to get into the ears of those guys. What better way then to have the ears and hearts of the guys they will be reaching out to for advice in managing the next year entering college? They will keep tabs with old teammates. That means that this year they will be keeping tabs on the Hoosiers. They’ll be watching, now it’s up to Mike Woodson and his staff to get the team ready and provide a product worth buying into for these young recruits with every opportunity possible available to them.
While no duh it would be nice to establish this connection and avenue for Montverde recruits possibly heading towards the NBA, I honestly believe Indiana has a rare opportunity to do it. It would be one thing for a smaller school to go get these guys hoping to establish a continuous connection, the backing of the Indiana Basketball fanbase is quite the bankroll. We will be able to keep the opportunities coming to Montverde recruits committing to Indiana in a manner that most teams could only wish to. Now that we’ve got our foot in the door, and Mike Woodson is able to get the attention of these top tier recruits no reason Indiana can’t make this coming season the first in a long history of title contending basketball for years to come.
Mike Woodson continues to impress me beyond all initial hopes I had on the recruiting trail. While other programs will be offering the bag to get these guys, you know Indiana basketball will be able to keep in tow with the other top dogs. What is now the most important is providing evidence of a program worth signing on for. That means it’s time to start winning, and I don’t mean fight for the dance ticket each year winning. I mean “each game is a test on ourselves to prepare for our inevitable tournament run” winning. That’s the type of winning Indiana needs to get back to. That’s the type of winning that the caliber of recruits Montverde produces will be looking to have at the next level. It’s a new recruiting landscape and for all of you with the “what happened to playing for your education?” retractions for the NIL era, I have to tell you that Indiana Basketball is equipped to do very well within the new parameters of recruiting going forward. So don’t worry if it’s a money and crowd backing game, Indiana Basketball is going to compete with the best of them.
Here’s to more good things to come from our Indiana Hoosiers!
This may all seem crazy and spiraling out of nothing. But, I did give that disclaimer up top.
LUX ET VERITAS!!