BLOOMINGTON -- Decisions, decisions, decisions.
That’s the best way to describe the Indiana University basketball roster that Archie Miller is inheriting now that he has officially been introduced as the head coach at IU.
Who will be the key guys coming back? You have to figure Robert Johnson, Josh Newkirk, Juwan Morgan, De’Ron Davis, Curtis Jones, Devonte Green, Freddie McSwain Jr. and probably walk-on Zach McRoberts are all in that company. Grant Gelon, with a year of seasoning under his belt, may have a chance to contribute as a sophomore. Tim Priller? He still has a year of eligibility so that may happen as well.
But what about the question marks?
Will OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant be headed for the NBA? Will James Blackmon Jr. opt to leave school and play in Europe or transfer and sit out a season before he could play somewhere else?
There is also some uncertainty about the incoming recruiting class, but that will get resolved as those players get audiences with Miller. So we’ll steer clear of those guys for now.
The one thing we are certain of is that there are a lot of moving parts as Miller gets well underway into his first week as the Indiana coach.
Let’s start with Anunoby and Bryant as they would appear to be the two players with the most options at this point.
The way this works is that players have until April 23 to declare for the draft and may withdraw their name any time until May 24 while keeping their eligibility. They also can participate in the NBA Draft combine from May 9-14 and starting in late April may work out for individual teams to gain feedback from scouts and team personnel.
For Anunoby, who suffered a torn ACL in January and had surgery last month, obviously he won’t be working out for anybody. And so his decision will be completely based on what he hears from NBA scouts.
ESPN’s Chad Ford ranks the top 100 players in the nation and has Anunoby at No. 18. He believes the worst case scenario is Anunoby would slide but not out of the first round.
So what does OG want to do?
Never a person of many words around the media, no one has really gotten much of an indication at this point. For me, it’s one of those situations where if I got on Twitter later today and read that Anunoby had declared for the NBA Draft and opted to get an agent, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went that route without an agent and began collecting information either. With that option available, I really don’t understand why more people don’t take advantage. That way if you hear enough positive feedback then you stay in, but if you don’t, you have the option to play college basketball next season.
It’s a little more of a question mark with Bryant, a player who after his freshman season was widely regarded as a potential first round draft pick in 2017. But then he played his sophomore year and some weaknesses were exposed. And now his stock has slipped on several boards.
Ford ranks him as No. 56 overall in a draft that has 60 selections. Ford lists his potential as either a late second round pick or a player that would go undrafted. NBADraft.net ranks him No. 53 overall.
So what will Thomas do?
Again, it’s just speculation. My guess is he’ll consult with his parents and his advisers and do what he thinks is best. Everyone has always known his affinity for Crean, and it’s hard to say what he thinks about Miller. Players were not made available to the media following Miller’s press conference Monday.
I can see both sides with Bryant. If he sticks around, his draft status could improve or it could probably slide some more. If you’re asking me if I think Bryant is ready for the NBA based on his performance last season, I would say no. But then nobody is asking me.
As for Blackmon, I think he expected by this point in his career to be NBA ready, but his injuries more than anything have pretty much derailed that process. So his decision would be to come back and play another season at IU or go play in Europe. I suppose he could transfer somewhere, but my sources have told me that there are no players on the current roster who are on scheduled to graduate early so he would have to sit out a year.
So now we sit and wait to hear what Anunoby, Bryant and Blackmon in particular will decide to do.
At that point, Miller will have a better idea of what he will be up against his first season in Bloomington.