BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana basketball season begins next Tuesday with an exhibition game against Gannon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, but this weekend might be even bigger for the Hoosiers.
It's a huge recruiting weekend because 5-star big man Dawson Garcia from Prior Lake. Minn., is in town through Sunday on his official visit. He's the most important target on Indiana's list of potential recruits for the Class of 2020. He's one of the top-five big men in the country.
From what we know so far, he spent Friday morning with IU coach Archie Miller and his staff and was spotted having lunch on Friday afternoon at Buffa Louie's just off campus. He did pose for a few pictures, and seemed to be having fun.
Garcia, whose list of schools is down to Indiana, Minnesota, Memphis and Marquette, seems set to make a decision soon. According to a recent interview with Garcia, what comes next could be a decision as early as next week.
“I’m probably going to figure it out after my Indiana visit,” Garcia said in a video this week on Peegs.com. “Sit down with my parents and talk things over.”
Garcia has talked often about how much he enjoys Indiana's coaching staff and players, and he is familiar with 2020 Hoosier commits Trey Galloway and Anthony Leal. They all played together all summer.
It's no surprise that Indiana's other Class of 2020 commitments are in full recruiting mode, too. Bloomington South's Anthony Leal, the state's No. 1-ranked player who committed to IU in August, took to Twitter upon Dawson's arrival to make a push.
Garcia would be a huge get for the Hoosiers, who need big men desperately. The Prior Lake, Minnesota native has been recruiting hard by Miller and IU assistant Tom Ostrom, who has strong Minnesota ties. He also recruited current Hoosier Race Thompson out of Minnesota.
It's going to be interesting to see if a commitment comes this weekend, or soon thereafter.
4 Big Ten teams in preseason AP poll
Indiana didn't receive any votes in the Associated Press preseason basketball poll, which wasn't surprising. But what will be surprising is if that doesn't change down the road.
Michigan State was the prohibitive No. 1 team, earning 60 of the 65 first-place votes. Maryland was No. 7, Ohio was No. 18 and Purdue was No. 23. Illinois and Michigan were the only other conference teams to receive votes.
Indiana falls between seventh and 11th in various preseason rankings in the Big Ten. And their chances of winning the Big Ten? The Hoosiers are 22-to-1 odds to win the conference, according to Bovada. They are 100-to-1 to win the NCAA title.
IU's exhibition game set for Tuesday against Gannon
Indiana props open the doors to Assembly Hall on Tuesday when it takes on Gannon University in its only exhibition game of the season. The game starts at 7 p.m. ET.
Gannon is a small Catholic college in Erie, Pa., that plays in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, a Division II league. They were picked to finish sixth in the nine-team PSAC West Division.
The only connection to Indiana is with Gannon's senior point guard, Matt Johnson. He played high school basketball with Indiana's Justin Smith at Stevenson in Illinois. Johnson was two years ahead of Smith.
Indiana adds Cincinnati freshman Michael Shipp as walk-on
Michael Shipp, who won back-to-back state championships at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, has joined the Indiana basketball program as a walk-on player.
The 6-foot-3 freshman guard joins junior guard Cooper Bybee, freshman guard/forward Nathan Childress, junior guard Jacquez Henderson, and senior guard Adrian Chapman as walk-ons this season.
Shipp averaged 6 points a game last year for Moeller, which finished the season unbeaten (29-0) a year ago.