Indiana’s 2016 class opened up with Crown Point guard Grant Gelon’s commitment in mid-August. Now, the Hoosiers are in the teeth of official-visit season, with the November signing period just two months away.
With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Hoosiers need in 2016, and where things stand with the current senior class.
Grant Gelon, 6-5, 165 pounds, guard
Known for his 3-point shooting ability, Gelon committed to Indiana on an unofficial visit in August, upon receiving his official IU offer.
Little-known nationally until this summer, Gelon made his name playing with Indiana Elite’s top 2016 team in Las Vegas. Alongside the likes of Virginia commit Kyle Guy, he excelled as a complementary player with a good feel for how to spread the floor and find open shooting space. Kristof Kendrick, his coach with Indiana Elite, described Gelon as “an absolute steal,” because of his ability to excel playing alongside the penetrating guards IU often recruits to its back court.
CLASS SIZE: 4-6
NEEDS: Pick one. Gelon ensures the program doesn’t lose shooting touch in the foreseeable future (and we saw the need for shooters when IU had none, in 2013-14). Yogi Ferrell, Max Bielfeldt and Nick Zeisloft are gone after this season. Players including Troy Williams, James Blackmon Jr. and perhaps even Thomas Bryant could have professional futures to consider.
The most glaring need is probably in the back court, where the Hoosiers are sure to lose two of the four players they have listed on their roster as guards. But the front court will need rebuilding as well, and Tom Crean’s best teams have always included versatile wings.
This class will likely be well-rounded, positionally.
TARGETS (in alphabetical order)
*All rankings are from 247Sports Composite.
Rawle Alkins, 6-5, 210 pounds, No. 15 overall, No. 3 SG
Alkins is a longtime priority for Indiana in 2016, but he’s also wanted by most of the blue-blood programs in the country. He visited last year for Hoosier Hysteria, and is planning a springtime decision. It’s unclear whether he’ll take an IU official visit.
Miles Bridges, 6-6, 218 pounds, No. 12 overall, No. 3 SF
Another player on Indiana’s radar for quite a while now, Bridges has already taken his IU official visit. It went well enough that, when he trimmed his list of finalists from five to three this week, Indiana made the cut, alongside Michigan State and Kentucky. Conventional wisdom, however, says those schools could be hard to beat. Bridges took his Michigan State official visit last weekend. Kentucky comes next month.
Bruce Brown, 6-4, 201 pounds, No. 39 overall, No. 6 SG
Brown, an athletic, versatile guard in the defensive mold IU coach Tom Crean craves, has a relationship with Indiana dating back to this time last year. The Hoosiers have been recruiting him hard out of Vermont Academy ever since, and they’re expected to receive an official visit before his final decision. A date for that visit has yet to be confirmed.
De’Ron Davis, 6-10, 235 pounds, No. 38 overall, No. 11 PF
Indiana offered Davis a scholarship during his freshman year of high school and has made him a priority ever since. Even the departure of Steve McClain, one of his lead recruiters, hasn’t slowed things down. IU recently visited Davis in Colorado. He also expanded his top three to a top six, adding UConn, Arkansas and Mississippi State to a group that previously included IU, Arizona and Texas.
Jaylen Fisher, 6-2, 170 pounds, No. 59 overall, No. 11 PG
Fisher isn’t the only guard on this list IU sees playing the point, but he might be the purest of the bunch at that position. Indiana has come on strong late with the Tennessee prospect, and the Hoosiers have an in-home visit set up with him for this week. UNLV, Memphis, Baylor and Arkansas have visits scheduled as well.
Curtis Jones, 6-3, 170 pounds, No. 83 overall, No. 10 CG
A prep school teammate of Bridges, Jones also took his official visit to Indiana at the same time in late August. The Hoosiers made his final four this week, alongside Cal, Georgetown and Oklahoma State. The Hoyas might be IU’s stiffest competition right now, with Cal coming in late for the Huntington (W.V.) Prep guard.
Mario Kegler, 6-7, 225 pounds, No. 32 overall, No. 6 SF
A later addition to IU’s recruiting board in 2016, Kegler has gotten serious quickly with the Hoosiers. He’s expected to take an official visit late in October, which could coincide with the yet-to-be-confirmed weekend of Hoosier Hysteria. The Hoosiers’ chances with him might be clearer after that visit.
Thon Maker, 7-foot, 205 pounds, No. 8 overall, No. 2 PF
Maker is the highest-ranked player on this board, and probably the hardest one to peg. Indiana has already hosted him on a campus visit, and the Hoosiers are consistently mentioned among his most persistent suitors. But Arizona State is also in a strong position, Notre Dame has come in late and, truthfully, Maker could still bypass college altogether. IU is right to keep working hard here though – he’s a prodigious talent.
Lamar Stevens, 6-6, 190 pounds, No. 88 overall, No. 19 SF
Another wing on this list, Stevens is a tough-minded prospect, perhaps underrated nationally. He’s also strongly considering Penn State alongside IU, making this an unconventional Big Ten recruiting battle. The Nittany Lions are in a good position, but Indiana hasn’t gotten an official visit yet. If/when that happens, the Hoosiers will get their chance.
Follow Star reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.