Thursday, July 25, 2024

Realistic expectations for Indiana’s 2024 transfers: Roles for Myles Rice, Oumar Ballo, Luke Goode, others

Indiana basketball went 19-14 and ended the 2023-24 season ranked No. 91 on KenPom, its worst finish since 2010 when the program was still recovering from NCAA sanctions.

The consternation after a lost season mixed with an influx of green-laced resources has crescendoed almost flawlessly in the transfer portal.

Coach Mike Woodson, armed with a war chest, hit the portal with a fury looking to throw his weight around and land the top players at IU’s biggest positions of need.

Consider the job well done.

Indiana reeled in the No. 1 transfer class in the Big Ten, and the Hoosiers have the second-best transfer haul in the country, per 247Sports. Winning in the transfer portal doesn’t always equate to success on the hardwood (see: Villanova or Arkansas last year), but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Let’s dive into the scouting reports and realistic expectations for each of Indiana’s transfer additions.

Luke Goode, from Illinois

Expected role: Wing rotation

Goode knows where his bread is buttered. The 6-foot-7 wing is a pure off-ball, sniper. Goode shot over 38% on 132 catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last season. If he can get his feet set, it’s over. Goode is a bullseye machine in transition, and he can read a defender and get to his sidestep trey with ease. Goode’s gravity is his best way onto the floor, especially with the double-teams that Oumar Ballo will demand.

Goode will willingly hit the glass, and you better box him out or he’ll rack up offensive boards galore. He’ll be in the right spots at the right time defensively, but he’s a bit matchup-dependent on that end. Opposing defenses started hunting him routinely last season with big wings or speedy guards. There are some limitations athletically, and he hasn’t showcased much of a knack for shot creation. That’s not his job and shouldn’t be his gig at IU.

Myles Rice, from Washington State

Expected role: Starting point guard

Indiana’s pitiful pick-and-roll offense needed a life raft, and Rice is half of the solution. The vibrant point guard waltzes into a new-look backcourt with a real chance to be “the man.” Rice is a jitterbug with the ball in his hands. An explosive first step helps Rice navigate into the paint left and right. Washington State played two non-shooting bigs so often last year, so IU’s crowded paint won’t be anything new to Rice. He’s a capable shooter but he wasn’t efficient last year because he was often Washington State’s late-clock, bail-out guy. He makes up for it with a barrage of finishes and proficient reads in the ball-screen game.

Rice is also an awesome point-of-attack defender who more than held his own for a Washington State defense that finished second in the Pac-12 in league play. Rice, simply, refuses to get screened. That’s a skill. Rice can be a first-team, All-Big Ten player next season. He’s that good. Oh, and he beat cancer and last year was his first season hooping in a hot minute. He will get better. That’s the fun part.

Oumar Ballo, from Arizona

Expected role: Starting center

Indiana’s rebounding was not a strength last year, but Ballo can single-handedly raise that floor significantly. The 7-foot, 260-pound center is impossible to move, and he’s become one of the best rebounders in the sport, period. Ballo is an outstanding play-finisher in pick-and-rolls and should set bone-crushing screens for Rice. That pick-and-roll duo should be really successful.

Ballo will seal his man and finish in the paint efficiently with post-ups. He also offers a strong rim presence on defense. Arizona’s top-10 defense was fantastic with Ballo on the floor, but he’s pretty much limited to just drop coverage and teams will try to exploit that. Ballo is far from perfect. He’s not a good free throw shooter, and he offers little-to-no floor-stretching abilities or playmaking abilities. But he’s excellent at what he does. Big men like Ballo are a cheat code for regular-season success, at minimum. 

Kanaan Carlyle, from Stanford

Expected role: Guard rotation, potential starter

Woodson will play his bench. That’s pretty clear. With Indiana’s current roster construction, Carlyle may be a good bet to be that second-unit lead guard who is wired to get buckets. Carlyle was a former prized prospect but his freshman year at Stanford was filled with extreme highs (31 points against Washington State) and gut-wrenching lows (4-for-17 shooting against Colorado). He gives IU a second dynamic lead guard who can go get buckets in pick-and-rolls. He took more off-the-dribble two-point jumpers (55) than catch-and-shoot three-pointers (53). Get to the middle of the floor, and make something happen. That’s his game. Refining his decision-making is paramount because the turnovers and shot selection were rough last year.

Carlyle has a chance to be an excellent player down the road if the jumper sticks and he improves his meager 19% rim rate. He’s too fast to let defenses off the hook by settling for pull-ups that often. A sixth-man role makes sense next winter, but Carlyle can earn a spot in the closing lineup if he guards his tail off.

Langdon Hatton, from Bellarmine

Expected role: Frontcourt depth

Hatton likely won’t be Ballo’s backup center — Indiana could downshift Malik Reneau to the five and get another playmaker onto the floor — but the Bellarmine transfer big man should offer a rock-solid depth option. He’s comfortable handling the ball at the top of the key and initiating some of the actions, and Hatton has shown a little ability to stretch the floor. He’ll need to expand that area of his game while getting stronger in order to work his way into the rotation. 

How are Indiana’s transfers and recruiting newcomers looking in summer workouts? The Indiana insiders at 247Sports’ have you covered. In anticipation of a busy next few months, including the start of IU football fall camp and IU basketball recruiting heating up, they’re offering Hoosier fans a chance to test drive a membership for $1 for one month. Join today! 

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