BLOOMINGTON — IU finished second to Memphis in pursuit of four-star shooting guard Lester Quinones’ commitment Friday, leaving two scholarships open for next season and raising serious questions about backcourt depth for Archie Miller in 2019-20.
Quinones picked Memphis over the Hoosiers on Friday afternoon. A top-50 player in 2019 per the 247Sports Composite, he also considered Michigan, Maryland and LSU in the final weeks of his recruitment.
His decision, while not unexpected given the apparent direction of Quinones’ recruitment in its final days, leaves Indiana with more questions than answers late in the spring recruiting window.
Romeo Langford is headed for the NBA. Two more guards, Devonte Green and Al Durham, are declared for the draft but could return. Zach McRoberts is out of eligibility.
Indiana looks increasingly out of clear-cut options to bolster a guard rotation that could use some tending to, even if Durham and Green return to school. Neither appears likely at this point to be drafted.
Depth was a problem for IU all over the floor last winter, thanks to injuries that affected more than half the Hoosiers’ roster. Miller’s backcourt was not immune.
Green was absent in separate stretches with a thigh problem and through suspension. Durham absorbed a flurry of minor injuries. Rob Phinisee missed time with a concussion, and needed several games to regain his early season form after returning to the floor.
Langford, Indiana’s leading scorer, played through a thumb problem before leaving for the NBA. McRoberts also spent much of last season dealing with various injuries, but when healthy he was a reliable defensive stopper, rebounder and energy player as a redshirt senior.
Even with Indianapolis city player of the year Armaan Franklin inbound, and Damezi Anderson given another year to develop, do the Hoosiers have enough in their guard rotation to manage an important season upcoming?
Langford’s points need replaced. IU as a team must improve on a single-season program-worst 31.2 percent from behind the 3-point line. Miller could probably use a little more competition in the backcourt.
IU’s coach hasn’t been shy about sitting on scholarships before. But with two still available for next year, it’s not clear whether the Hoosiers can — or plan to try and — add another body before players report to campus in June for offseason work.
Miller and his staff have worked through the spring on options, hosting both Quinones and one-time Virginia Tech commitment Anthony Harris on campus visits. But Harris landed at North Carolina and Quinones is now headed to Memphis.
Indiana did well to strengthen its forward rotation with Butler graduate transfer Joey Brunk.
With Jake Forrester (transfer), Clifton Moore (transfer) and Juwan Morgan (graduation) gone from the frontcourt, the Hoosiers needed quality depth there to supplement De’Ron Davis, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. Brunk should bring that.
But the route that brought Brunk to Bloomington — the graduate transfer rule — isn’t a guarantee either. Plenty of teams are looking for guard help, and the grad transfer market gets as thin as the graduating senior class by mid-May.
Stadium’s Jeff Goodman keeps a running list of transfers in college basketball. His list includes a little more than 150 grad transfers. Many are already committed, and not all are guards to begin with.
The point is, the grad transfer field has already helped Indiana get stronger this offseason, but it’s not guaranteed to have everything for everyone all the time.
That leaves the possibility of Miller sitting on his two remaining scholarships for the time being.
The one other time he entered the summer with an open scholarship, in 2017, Miller wound up using it to take Thompson, a top-100 forward in 2018 who elected to reclassify. So IU’s coach could have options beyond Friday’s commitment.
None are clearly defined as yet, however.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.