BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The transfer portal has become a massive factor in the college basketball landscape the past few years, and roster movement throughout the country is just getting started.
Four Hoosiers – Rob Phinisee, Parker Stewart, Khristian Lander and Michael Durr – have left, and as those dominoes fell, Indiana coach Mike Woodson and his staff is hard at work on his 2022-2023 squad.
The Hoosiers had a full complement of 13 scholarship players last year and, because of COVID eligibility rules, all 13 could have come back. Four left, but there are four newcomers on the way after five-star forward Malik Reneau committed to the Hoosiers on Monday.
So even though the Hoosiers seem to have a full roster, they are still actively courting potential shooting help in the transfer portal. They’ll worry about the numbers game later.
Wichita State guard Dexter Dennis visited Indiana on Monday and would provide a veteran guard presence for the Hoosiers. Dennis started 94 out of 112 games for the Shockers over the last four seasons, averaging between 8.4 and 9.6 points per game each season. He is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard from Baker, La., who has the experience to immediately replace Phinisee and Stewart in Indiana’s backcourt.
Dennis has had an interesting career at Wichita State from a shooting perspective. As a freshman, he shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in just under four attempts per game. His three-point percentage decreased or stayed the same over the next three seasons, dipping to 29 percent as a senior on just over four attempts per game.
Dennis could be more of a weapon on the defensive end. Possessing a 6-foot-8 wingspan, Dennis was named American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year last year after blocking 24 shots to go with 23 steals. When Wichita State played Oklahoma State during Dennis’ junior season, he was the primary on-ball defender of 2022 NBA Draft No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham, who scored just 10 points in this matchup.
Dennis is a high-flyer who could help Indiana on both ends, providing a level of athleticism at the guard position that the Hoosiers have somewhat lacked in recent years. He is also a career 76 percent free throw shooter who shot 84 percent from the line as a sophomore.
The second player Woodson is targeting in the transfer portal is West Virginia guard Sean McNeil. The three-year Mountaineer shooter will visit Bloomington this weekend, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. McNeil, a Union, Ky. native, stands at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and could provide a shooting boost for the Hoosiers.
McNeil played sparingly as a freshman, averaging 5.5 points off the bench, but started 55 of 61 games for West Virginia during his sophomore and junior seasons. He more than doubled his scoring output in his second season under Bob Huggins, scoring 12.2 points per game on 38 percent three-point shooting on 6.1 attempts per game.
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He averaged an identical 12.2 points as a junior and saw his three-point shooting drop to 36 percent on the season. McNeil is an excellent free throw shooter, connecting on 86 percent of attempts across three seasons.
He helped West Virginia reach the 2021 NCAA Tournament, scoring 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting in the Mountaineers’ round of 64 win over Morehead State. In the Mountaineers three-point loss to Syracuse in the round of 32, McNeil scored 23 points and connected on 7-of-13 attempts from 3.
With the departure of Indiana’s top 3-point shooter form 2021-2022, Parker Stewart, McNeil would provide Power Five starting experience and contend to be Indiana’s top long-range shooter next season.
As for the Indiana players leaving, Phinisee, the three-year Indiana starter, announced that he will use his fifth year of college eligibility and transfer to either Butler or Cincinnati. Former Ohio State coach Thad Matta spent last season as an associate athletic director of basketball administration for Indiana but recently accepted the head coaching job at Butler, his alma mater.
Cincinnati is coached by Wes Miller, who is considered one of the top young coaches in college basketball after making two NCAA Tournament appearances at UNC-Greensboro.
When Stewart initially announced his decision to leave Indiana, he said he would either attempt to play professionally overseas or transfer to another college program. His 2021-2022 season of 6.2 points per game and 39 percent 3-point shooting marked Stewart’s fifth season of college basketball. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard visited Minnesota last weekend, and no other visits have been reported.
As for big man Michael Durr, the 7-footer’s career in Bloomington is over after one season. He averaged 1.5 points and one rebound, playing seven minutes per game. CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported that Durr has received interest from Arizona State, Pepperdine, UCF and NC State. Rivals’ Russ Wood reported that Durr visited UCF on April 15.
The final outgoing transfer for Indiana, as of now, is Khristian Lander, whose career as a Hoosier never quite panned out. Lander was a five-start recruit when he arrived in Bloomington a year earlier than expected after reclassifying and played 377 minutes in 39 games across two seasons. Potential visits for Lander have not been reported.
But the chaos that the transfer portal has brought to college basketball is far from over. With nearly two weeks until the May 1 deadline to enter the transfer portal, it’s actually just getting started.
And with an April 24 deadline to declare for the NBA Draft and a June 1 deadline to withdraw from the draft to return to college, there is sure to be plenty more movement on Indiana’s roster. All-American big man Trayce Jackson-Davis declared for the NBA Draft with the option to return, and he represents perhaps the most impactful decision Indiana awaits this offseason.
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