Indiana Hoosiers won transfer portal, and more talent could be coming

The Indiana Hoosiers were among the most disappointing men’s basketball teams in the country this past season. After making the NCAA tournament in each of head coach Mike Woodson’s first two seasons leading the program, the wheels fell off during the 2023-2024 season. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was wrong with the team.

Indiana was just about the worst shooting team in America. The Hoosiers barely ever shot a three, and when they did, they probably missed. Only 27.8 percent of Indiana’s field goal attempts came from three-point range, which ranked No. 351 in DI. The team’s 32.4 percent three-point field goal percentage ranked No. 255 in DI. Indiana’s guard play struggled as starting point guard Xavier Johnson was in-and-out of the lineup with injuries, and the team never really recovered.

At one point during conference season, Indiana lost eight of 10 games against Big Ten opponents. That’s when rumors began swirling that Woodson could be on the hot seat. As Johnson got healthier Indiana started playing much better, winning its final four games in the regular season and its opener in the Big Ten tournament to finish 19-14 overall, and 11-11 in conference including the tournament.

The late season hot streak wasn’t good enough to get Indiana into March Madness, but it did save Woodson’s job, if it ever really was in jeopardy. From the moment the season ended, this became a critical offseason for the coaching staff to get in the transfer portal and reload the roster — especially after five-star freshman Liam McNeeley decommitted.

So far, the Hoosiers are crushing it in the transfer portal. The Hoosiers have the No. 1 transfer class in the country according to 247 Sports, with Kansas, UCLA, Missouri and Illinois rounding out the top-5. Indiana landed three terrific veteran players, and a few more could be on the way.

Let’s go over the Hoosiers’ haul, and where they could go next in the transfer portal with their remaining scholarships.

Stanford v USC

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Kanaan Carlyle gives Indiana a bucket-getting combo guard

Carlyle was the No. 59 overall recruit in the class of 2023, according to 247 Sports, and immediately lived up to the hype upon debuting for Stanford in Dec. He dropped 28 points against a loaded Arizona team in his fourth career game, and followed it up with 31 points against a tournament-bound Washington State team a couple weeks later. Carlyle was briefly on NBA radars as a one-and-done, but his three-point shot eventually tailed off and cooled interest. He entered the transfer portal after head coach Jerod Haase was fired, and was ranked as a top-10 transfer in the country by 247 Sports.

A long 6’3 combo guard, Carlyle is talented at creating shots for himself and his teammates even if he’s not always the most efficient scorer. He can get off a decent look at all three levels, showing an ability to shoot three-pointers with volume even if they didn’t always go in by finishing 32-for-100 from deep on the year. He loves to pull-up from mid-range off the dribble, making near 40 percent of his non-rim twos on the year with only 12.5 percent of those baskets being assisted. His finishing needs work (54 percent at the rim), but he has the tools to be there if he adds craft. Carlyle’s defensive ceiling is also intriguing with his length, but he looked like a freshman for most of the year on that end.

Washington State v Iowa State

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Myles Rice is the floor general Indiana needed

Washington State point guard Myles Rice was one of the best stories in college basketball last season. After enrolling during the 2021-2022 season, Rice was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and missed two years recovering. He debuted this past season as an older freshman, and was immediately one of the best players on a solid Cougars team that reached the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. He was named 2024 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year at the end of the season.

At 6’3, Rice has good size for a lead guard. He more of a playmaker than a scorer, and finished the year with an impressive 22.7 percent assist rate. Rice is not a good three-point shooter — only 27.5 percent from deep last year — but the fact that he took a lot of triples (131 attempts from three) and shot 81 percent from the foul line hints that he could be in for a leap as a shooter next year. Rice and Carlyle complement each other well — Rice as a playmaker, Carlyle as a scorer — as long as they can improve as shooters.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 02 Oregon at Arizona

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Oumar Ballo was the best center available

Kel’el Ware was the biggest bright spot for Indiana last season. The former McDonald’s All-American transferred in from Oregon after a down freshman year, and immediately reminded everyone how good he is once he got to Bloomington. Ware left school after the season to enter the 2024 NBA Draft, where he’s a projected first round pick. Woodson targeted Ballo after two standout seasons at Arizona, and he committed to Indiana with reports of a $1.2 million NIL payment.

At 7-foot, 260 pounds, Ballo is the type of big man teams need to compete in the Big Ten. He’s already been a productive and efficient scorer for one of the best teams in the country for multiple seasons. He’s an excellent rebounder and can capably play drop coverage while deterring shots at the rim. Ballo finished in the top-20 in the country in both offensive and defensive rebound percentage, and his five percent block rate was No. 175 in the country. ESPN had Ballo rated as the top overall player in the portal.

Indiana still has three open scholarships

Woodson already landed three starters in the portal. With Trey Galloway, Mackenzie Mgbako, and Malik Reneau all returning from last year’s team, Indiana is building a deep, veteran team with a high ceiling.

There’s still three open scholarships, and the Hoosiers should only be targeting one thing: shooting.

An intriguing shooter joined the transfer portal on Monday when Illinois wing Luke Goode submitted his paperwork. Goode is a 6’7 wing who made 38.8 percent of his threes over three seasons with Illinois. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Goode has Indiana ties all over his family, including his uncle Trent Green, the former NFL QB.

Indiana will have no excuses for missing the NCAA tournament next season. With Purdue and Illinois turning over huge portions of their roster, the Hoosiers will be expected to compete near the top of the Big Ten entering the season. Indiana added two tremendous guards, an experienced and productive big man, and still have a few more roster slots left.

No one has nailed the transfer portal this season quite like Indiana.

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