Malik Reneau just made a great recruiting class SUPERB. Credit Jalen with his first career assist. Short thoughts.

I’m kind of in shock. Really when it was all playing out it made some semblance of sense, but nonetheless, I’m still in shock.

What an absolutely awesome thing to happen on what is normally one of the worst Mondays back to work. This is an absolutely incredible moment for our program. When Malik Reneau decommitted from Florida following their coaching change, I had the smallest glimmer of hope. Hope that Montverde forward Reneau would want to follow up his high school national championship run with a college run along with the same man dishing him the assists, Jalen Hood-Schifino.

So I’m going to come out and say that this big get is Jalen Hood-Schifino’s first assist for the Indiana Hoosiers. He really had to play the most essential role in convincing Malik to commit to play ball in the Hall. Credit to him. He is racking up wins for us and has yet to take the court. I love it!

These guys have championship chemistry. Their time together in high school is going to pay dividends on their ability to produce for the Hoosiers right out of the gate. The 5 we stand to have taking the court if our recruits are able to step up to the college game is truly dangerous. And elaborating a little on whether or not they will translate their games quickly to the college level, I have to say, they were playing at Montverde! Each game they played, they were playing against top recruits in the nation and BEATING THEM! They’ve been playing the most talented future stars of the game for much of their recent years and coming out on top with a High School national title again this year. I have no worry that these boys will step on campus and quickly prove that they not only have the goods, but they have got the GREATS.

Remember when Trayce and Xavier were playing the pick and roll to success this season? Jalen and Malik have been running the pick and roll at Montverde heavily, to much success. Their game is going to greatly impact the flow of the offense, allowing various guys relied on heavily last year to get open and freed up, thus creating other offensive threats. And with the prospective shooters coming in as well, this is very promising. Whatever gameplan Mike Woodson will seek to utilize on the offensive end Malik and Jalen stand to find immediate roles.

Renaue is ranked #21 on ESPN nationally. A certified stud. Joining Jalen Hood (#24), Kaleb Banks(#79), and CJ Gunn as the freshmen on the Hoosiers team next year. And what does this mean?

This means Indiana has jumped up the recruiting rankings into the 5th spot (according to 247 sports) for the upcoming season. The top spot in the Big Ten. And that is what it takes to compete in today’s NCAA landscape. You need to get the top recruits to consistently be battling in March and into April. And after his first season on record, he is bringing in top talent! It’s great to see that the program is in the hands of a true recruiter now. Above all else in NCAA Basketball, RECRUITING IS KING!

We finally got a closer.

Mike Woodson has been able to make such an immediate impact that I believe that this should absolutely be enough for the few dejectors to see that Indiana is on the mend. We are making the necessary moves to compete at the truly elite level. We are getting the guys, and if that means we need to trust that Mike Woodson’s disciplinary or administrative decisions, we need to do just that. The program is in good hands and we need to believe that and trust that until we can no longer do so.

Here’s to Coach Woodson for coming into Bloomington and changing the program for the better right out of the gate.

Just a little fan boy tangent, I can’t take the off season. I’m chomping at the bit to get back in front of the TV and watch the Hoosiers. This transfer portal era has made the offseason so much more open and really anxiety inducing. I am just hoping we win more than we lose in the portal. This team is going to be a lot to be excited about. This is the beginning of many good things to come. Here’s hoping we can capitalize on some of this elite talent while we still got them. These guys may not be long for college basketball. I NEED COLLEGE BASKETBALL BACK!!!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Why you shouldn’t be too worried about Trayce Jackson declaring for the draft. Short Thoughts.

No reason to go scorched Earth yet people. This is all part of the process for a guy in the position that TJD finds himself in. While many are freaking out that there goes another leaving, there is no reason to be seriously worried that Trayce won’t play for the Hoosiers just yet. While throwing his name into the draft may seem like his exit from Indiana to those unfamiliar with the process, I personally don’t believe he is all in on the draft just yet.

This is all Trayce Jackson-Davis jockeying himself for the best possible position after next season. While he declared this year, he has up until June 1 to back out and retain his eligibility. But having declared allows for him to workout with NBA programs and attend the combine next month. Doing all of this allows Trayce to get insight into where he stacks up talent wise, but more importantly gives him critiques to his game straight from the people drafting in today’s NBA. These workouts will be essential towards Trayce finding out just what he needs to address in his game to prepare for the league next year.

Who can blame him. If he’s still able to retain his eligibility and participate in pre draft activities, what is there to lose for him? I imagine he will continue to work out with the team and use the Indiana facilities and when he’s not he may be training with some elite NBA trainers and others that will definitely aid him and tell him exactly where he stands to improve in order to maximize his potential. By doing this process this year, and even attending the combine, he will be able to learn even more about the draft process. A practice draft for yourself isn’t a bad thing to have.

We need these two both steering this ship next season!

I don’t believe there is any way that we stand to lose Trayce next season. Trayce Jackson-Davis doesn’t seem to be on many mock drafts as of late, and he and his corner are well aware of this. No way they would put him in anything other than his best possible situation. And all things considered, Indiana is just that! Indiana by all barometers (albeit not very calibrated in the days of NIL deals) Indiana stands to be a team on the national radar next year. With young talent coming in, and a wide open transfer portal Indiana could put a mean team on the floor with Trayce at the helm.

Trayce knows how much Indiana fans love him and I think he’s one of the few guys on the squad that truly gets how prestigious a role, and how great an opportunity they have playing for the Hoosiers. He still stands to make more at Indiana under the Name Image and Likeness deals than he does playing in the G League. While I believe Trayce has NBA talent, and while I may be biased, I would think he wants to take this final year to put it all together with a contender and boost his profile playing on a hyped up Hoosiers team.

All of this to say, I do not speak for TJD! Whatever his next year holds I’ll be following it for sure… but man I really, really hope it’s in Assembly Hall. Trayce Jackson-Davis has absolutely earned his pinstripes in Bloomington. Here’s to his future and here’s to it hopefully being as the chief of the Indiana Hoosiers next season.

Looking forward to tons of “I’m Coming Home” tributes when he announces a return.

That song’s an absolute tune.

LUX ET VERITAS!

Final Statements, Mike Woodson needs to back Xavier Johnson in this moment (optics people. optics.) Short thoughts.

I posted why I thought Xavier Johnson should be held to a 5 game suspension in order to reconcile (hardly) for the charges brought against him, barring any further ramifications. I read many of the comments and the discussions across a few platforms and just wanted to elaborate a bit on what there is to lose from a potential dismissal.

I know the arrest of Xavier has been the subject of our discourse for the last few days, I just really want to alleviate, even a little, those calling for a Xavier Johnson’s dismissal from the program that is so dear to so many of us. I want to make make the case that whatever you may think, if this ship can be steered in the right direction, Mike Woodson stands to gain a significant feather in his coaching and recruiting cap.

Many of those calling for his head, point to the stupidity of the actions that Xavier made the night of his arrest. And I am not here to defend those actions as they are just that, stupidity incarnate. The dumb decisions of a truly unappreciative individual. The actions made by Xavier Johnson were incredibly air headed and dangerous.

But for the betterment of the Program, I say those in power to do so have to aid Xavier in rehabbing his situation and his character altogether. Mike Woodson can’t simply turn his back on a guy that chose to come and contribute to Indiana Basketball. Yes, I get that he doesn’t have the perspective to truly appreciate the situation he finds himself in. But where better to instill that in him than Indiana University?

Being a starter for Indiana University, heck as a player at all, is a role that kids dream of, that many of us taking the time to read about Indiana Basketball and consume it religiously would have killed for. A role that Xavier Johnson has truly, undoubtedly, and absolutely taken for granted. While that alone can piss any of the Hoosier Faithful off to no end, for the sake of the Program we need to look for anyway to make this story have a happy ending.

I’ve seen many people arguing that they would never do this. While I get the reasoning, its a fairly narrowminded way to frame this situation. We don’t know Xavier Johnson’s upbringing. While some may have had parents and a network coming up that instilled core beliefs of discipline and proper societal decorum, we can not speak to the upbringing of others. We can not speak to his life experience. This man needs personal accountability. And ultimately maybe it will take losing everything for him to appreciate anything, but I really hope we can exercise our options before calling for Xavier to be booted out the door.

IF ONLY FOR RECRUITMENTS SAKE!!!

In the days of some people backing Juwan Howard’s actions as defending his team, optics are everything. When times get tough the recruits around the nation want to play for a guy that will go to the mat for them. And while this is for better or worse, it is what it is in today’s recruiting game. We need to adapt or continue to live in our stagnant state. Hoping to get back to the Indiana days of old is becoming more and more a pipe dream in the ever evolving days of the NIL and more and more extensive recruiting. The top tier athletes are pampered because they’ve been hearing they’re the best all their lives. Because for most of them it is true. This is just the nature of the beast now. The carrot beats the stick on the recruitment trail these days. If we want the best, we need to play the game. Rehabbing Xavier’s character and perspective will greatly aid Mike Woodson in the frontier that is recruiting today.

What presents a better image and representation of Indiana University, kicking him out the door, or proving to others that you leave Indiana University a better person than you arrived?

All this being said, we don’t even know he’s cleared the justice system yet. So by God, who knows…

LUX ET VERITAS…

Why you should not be concerned about the Indiana Hoosiers entering the often feared Transfer Portal.

Everyone who sees the four most recent players to enter the transfer portal, you need to think about the circumstances pertaining to each players future, and just what the transfer portal stands to be in the age of the NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) agreement. So I’m going to write this in order to talk the less rational off the ledge and to put some minds at ease.

In 100 years when people look back on the history of NCAA Basketball, I honestly believe that the history will be divided and discussed in terms as two different eras, the pre-NIL era and NIL era. The ability to capitalize financially on your brand has established an unprecedented and monumental shift in the landscape of college athletics.

You know who can’t make a cent of the millions upon millions of dollars to be made by student athletes now? Athletes with dwindling play time. Many people think that the NIL agreement would mean the top schools with the largest fanbases will get the largest name recruits. Which will be the case. But think about the 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th guy on a squad. You honestly stand to make more money on endorsements by being the 1st or 2nd top billed guy within a mid level fanbase. So for all the athletes out there who realize that the NBA doesn’t seem like a valid possibility, it’s time to go out and make the money and find opportunity while you can. And none of these athletes should be demonized for it.

This is the new normal folks. Guys who see more earning potential for themselves elsewhere are going to be going into the portal. The 2nd guy on a mid major probably stands to make more in the age of NIL than the 8th or 9th guy at a power 5 conference. College town businesses will look to make deals with them far more often.

And just to express my speculation as to the reasoning, let’s just take a look at the 4 who have decided to test the waters of the portal this year, and where each of them currently stands within the program.

Rob Phinisee, while making a huge and iconic shot in Assembly Hall, his prospect for many minutes next year doesn’t look too promising. With the guys we’ve got coming in, I’ve got to believe that he sees the writing on the wall. The duties of bringing up the ball look on track to be split between Xavier Johnson and Jalen Hood-Schifino, whose size at 6-5 and his .998 247sports recruiting score looks to put him on pace to be the major catalyst of our offense next year. It looks like Rob will be playing even less minutes next year if he decides to come back to Indiana.

Khristian Lander, while I am sorry that Lander’s tenure as a Hoosier was most unremarkable, Mike Woodson has stated that he simply can not put such a defensive liability on the floor. If Mike Woodson’s program identity is going to be based on a lock down defense, I just don’t see him trusting Lander. And I’m sure Lander knows this. I am sorry that he didn’t develop more here in Bloomington. But if he isn’t gelling well with Mike Woodson’s game plan, he simply will not do. And if he finds success elsewhere, good for him. I hope he does find a welcoming home.

Parker Stewart, thank you for your efforts this season. I think that Mike Woodson knows shooting needs addressed and that means the team may look vastly different next year with who we could potentially get within the transfer portal. I think Parker Stewart sees an opportunity to play elsewhere to profit financially, honestly maybe even potentially play overseas and earn some coin. Could you blame him? The guy already has his Masters degree. Let him go elsewhere. I’m sure he may be ready to head out anyway. And good for him.

And Michael Durr. I appreciate the efforts, for better or worse. I wish you all the best. Don’t mind getting another scholarship in the chamber. Hope he finds a place that best serves him.

This is the future. The wild west of the NIL era. No rules. Just right. This is going to happen, guys are going to transfer. It’s happening elsewhere too. Don’t you worry. All of this transfer movement is for good reason, there are better things to fall in their place. Here’s to these guys finding better opportunities and here to whoever we decide to go after within the portal now.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “We stand today on the edge of a new frontier”. While he was talking about the 1960’s I think his words speak true about the NIL. Now’s the time to test this thing. To go out and win in the new era.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Your Indiana Hoosiers vs. St. Mary’s Gaels Primer / Blind Faith Boost!

Here we are. Round 1 officially… Following the First Four victory I was high on life. While the game against Wyoming was at some points painful to watch, we pulled out the win. And I will take ugly wins each and every day! Hey, so long as we can bring the opposition down to our game tempo and rhythm we will be just fine. This team is no stranger to adversity, so now is the time to weaponize that familiarity to low scoring yet still competitive tempo and gameplay. I mean we’ve seen our play drop at points over the course of the season. So, I feel like the Hoosiers had to have learned a thing or two to address these situations. And, while the First Four was close, I believe we addressed it. There were points I thought Maldonado may get hot but our boys were able to sever that before it got rolling each time! That’s growth people. But hey, that games behind us, time to press forward and go get the win over the Gaels of St. Mary’s College

St. Mary’s Primer

Listen, we know they play in Gonzaga’s conference. But what an absolute joke of a conference! The Hoosiers have been able to hold their opposition to 65.7ppg (58th across college basketball) in a conference of consisting of legitimate powerhouses of collegiate athletics. St. Mary’s held the opposition to a respectable 60.5 ppg. I say respectable because while that is the spot for 12th fewest across college basketball, THEY PLAY IN THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE!!!! While we were getting beaten and battered by the gauntlet of the Big Ten, St. Mary’s was beating up on schools like San Diego and Portland. So if there is an advantage to playing in that league, it is lesser skilled opponents may take less out of you over the course of your season. But I don’t resign to this. They had competed with Wisconsin and actually beat Notre Dame early in the season, but what does that mean in March? Jack squat. Teams can be entirely different entities by March. Look no further than the Hoosiers for that. We started the season hot, but settled into where we are currently. St. Mary’s has been playing very well, but ultimately against who?!

Many can say that IU is playing ugly basketball, but I say it does not matter if we can drag you down into playing that same basketball. Just did it to Wyoming. While some may attempt to battle us in slower, physical, iso, backdown play. You can try to adopt that play style, our boys were born into it, it seems.

The Gaels’ are extremely well balanced. Their leading scorer, 6-10 senior Matthias Tass, averages 12.6 points a game. Each member of their offense contributes though with no one being left off of the box score for them. But the only problem with matching up against us, is our defensive liabilities are few and far between. We never even really had to transition to a single double team against Wyoming’s “stellar big men”.

St. Marys can shoot the basketball. Which means we can not be cutting under the picks in this game. The second we give them an opening it’s daggers. Daggers that could spell a heartbreaking momentum shift. Our boys will need to be playing tight man throughout. I have full confidence in our boys to do just that. I see a lot of venom for Parker Stewart out there. But that guy has got some clamps. Needs to cut down on just some poor decisions on overcommitting on defense, but nonetheless he is giving it his all and can guard any 2 or 3 we may need him to.

I say we ride the hot hands and look for Xavier to get the ball to 2 guys, Trayce and Geronimo. Let’s hop on this wagon, currently being driven by Trayce with Geronimo riding shotgun, and ride them as far as they will take us.

Blind Faith Booster

For this Blind Faith Booster I would like to shortly discuss the words of one of the GOATs, a true champion, Muhammed Ali (ever heard of him?).

Muhammed Ali spoke about belief in oneself when he said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.

Words from a true legend to ponder heading into our bout against St. Mary’s. We all gotta believe it will happen tonight Hoosier Nation. You’d be amazed at the power of wishful thinking. Nothing in life is won without first imagining the manner in which it can possibly be won! No time for critiquing (after I had critiqued a bit earlier, I know). Our lads need our utmost support. They need to get out of this stretched out funk of limited shooting, and I think we can aid our guys in that endeavor through our support and appreciation. No doubt. No pessimism. Just optimistic unyielding, unbending, and unbreaking support.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!

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