Mike Woodson, Indiana Continue Crushing Recruiting Trail
When Indiana hired Mike Woodson as its head basketball last year the biggest question many had was how a college basketball coaching neophyte would fair on the recruiting trail. I'd say he's doing just fine, thank you.
On Monday, Woodson and the Hoosiers scored their second five-star commitment for the 2022 class. Former Florida commit Malik Reneau opened up his recruitment a few weeks ago after coach Mike White took the Georgia job. Indiana put the full-court press on the 6-foot-8 forward out of basketball powerhouse Montverde and fairly quickly landed him. It's a huge, late commitment for Woodson and his staff.
Reneau is teammates with fellow five-star Indiana commit Jalen Hood-Schifino. The two are close and Hood-Schifino was a big part of reeling Reneau in. The Montverde pair is joined in Indiana's 2022 class by top-75 forward Kaleb Banks and three-star shooting guard C.J. Gunn in Woodson's first full recruiting class.
Indiana's class is now tops in the Big Ten and ranks fifth nationally on the 247 Sports Composite. Woodson landed two five-stars, a four-star and a three-star in his first class. That's a stunningly good haul and the best Indiana recruiting class since 2013. In roughly a year, Indiana has pulled in three top-30 recruits with Tamar Bates (in the 2021 class), Reneau and Hood-Schifino. The Hoosiers are also in the mix for a number of top recruits in the 2023 class and already boast the fifth-ranked class nationally.
So what has been the key to Woodson's success on the trail? Top assistant Kenya Hunter was the lead recruiter for Bates, Reneau and Hood-Schifino, while fellow assistant Yasir Rosemond has done excellent work as well. Newly elevated assistant Brian Walsh was also key in landing 2023 commit Gabe Cupps.
Like any good coach Woodson has surrounded himself with excellent assistants who are doing work in recruiting. He's also become an excellent closer with top players in a short time. For a guy who had never coached in college at any level and came to Indiana after nearly 25 years in the NBA, he's done incredibly well.
Now it's on Woodson and his staff to turn this big recruiting haul into wins. Indiana went 21-14 (9-11 in the Big Ten) during the 2021-22 season and was bounced from the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hoosiers need to take a big leap next season. Luckily for Woodson & Co., they have a huge influx of talent, plus a number of key returners like Bates, Xavier Johnson, Race Thompson and, potentially, Trayce Jackson-Davis, to help achieve that goal.