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The Journal Gazette

Friday, May 10, 2019 10:10 pm

Indiana target chooses Memphis; Hoosiers must look elsewhere

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

For the second time in two days, an Indiana basketball recruiting target committed elsewhere. On Thursday, it was four-star 2020 guard Ethan Morton choosing Purdue over the Hoosiers. Today, 2019 guard Lester Quinones also spurned the Hoosiers, picking Memphis and coach Penny Hardaway over Indiana.

The news of Quinones' decision wasn't a complete shock: his recruitment had been trending Memphis' way for nearly a week and all the crystal ball predictions had him choosing the Tigers. Still, it's a blow for Indiana; he would have filled out the 2019 class nicely, complementing the two players already in the fold. As it stands, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Armaan Franklin stand alone as freshmen, although graduate transfer Joey Brunk from Butler should provide frontcourt depth.

The loss of Quinones – a national top 50 prospect in the class – leaves Indiana with two open scholarships and few options from the incoming freshman class. The only player that is still considering the Hoosiers is elite forward Trendon Watford, brother of former Hoosier star Christian Watford. He has Indiana in his top four and could decide in the next several weeks, but right now it seems like the Hoosiers are more of an afterthought in his recruitment. LSU, Alabama and Memphis all appear to have better chances of landing him.

That would likely lead Indiana back to the path that got Brunk to Bloomington: graduate transfers. Guard depth is probably the priority as De'Ron Davis, Jackson-Davis, Brunk, Race Thompson and (hopefully) Jerome Hunter should comprise a functional frontcourt at the very least. 

There are plenty of talented guards on the grad transfer market, but Indiana will have to re-orient quickly to try to grab one or two of them. It's also possible that coach Archie Miller could simply keep the scholarships in reserve and use them to snap up players who might reclassify from 2020 to 2019 later in the summer. That's how the Hoosiers landed Thompson two years ago. Still, sitting on scholarships is risky for a team that's already lacking depth. 

The Hoosiers are running out of options after a tough couple of days on the recruiting trail. The next couple of weeks will be pivotal in filling out the remainder of the 2019 class.

dsinn@jg.net