BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Anthony Leal had the shortest trip of any of the freshmen when it came to moving to Indiana. The Bloomington South star and 2020 Indiana Mr. Basketball had just a short ride up the road to campus from his Bloomington home.
He was a three-star guard in the composite rankings, and the 6-foot-5 guard was part of a four-person class that ranked No. 15 nationally. His first year at Indiana was quiet, though. He played in 20 of the 27 games, never started, and made just 10 shots all year.
Here's a breakdown of his season, what I liked and didn't like, his best game and future prospects and – of course – his final grade.
There's also a terrific video chat with Hilltop30 Scholarship Fund winner Haley Jordan, so check that out as well:
Anthony Leal by the numbers
- Games played: 20 of 27
- Games started: 0 of 27
- Average minutes: 11.1
- Points per game: 1.6
- Rebounds per game: 1.4
- Assists per game: 1.0
- Steals per game: 0.45
- Field goal percentage: 31.3 (10-for-32)
- 3-point percentage: 30.0 (9-for-30)
- Free throw percentage: 60.0 (3-5)
What I liked
The sample size was very small this year, and that was partly because Archie Miller really cut back on his playing time down the stretch. During the final month of the season, Leal never got more than eight minutes of playing time in a game, and made only one basket in his final nine shots.
The point there is that there's still a lot of unknowns about Anthony Leal. What I liked, first and foremost, was the local kid's commitment to Indiana, both in signing with the Hoosiers in the first place and then not even thinking about entering the transfer portal when Miller was fired. He's a Hoosier, through and through, and I like that. He was never going anywhere.
I also like that he put in the work in a very difficult COVID-interrupted year. He has decent shooting stroke, and he works hard at his craft. There were a few moments when he hit some big shots. I like that.
What I didn't like
What was disappointing was that he was far too gun-shy, especially early in the season, which isn't all that uncommon among freshman. He looked to pass first when the ball came his way, instead of just catching and shooting when he was open, which was often. That assertiveness never really showed up this year.
A lot of that can be blamed on Miller, of course, who was fired on March 15. Confidence and player development were major issues with this Indiana team, and it was very clear among Leal and his freshman teammates that they didn't feel comfortable on the floor. That's why they're getting passes from me, at least for this year, in a lot of cases.
I watched enough of Anthony in high school to know that he knows HOW to be assertive. I'm looking forward to seeing that be a big part of his maturation process.
This is an easy one for me. Leal's best game, by far, was his nine-point performance in the double-overtime loss at Wisconsin back on Jan. 7.
The Kohl Center has been a virtual houses of horrors for the Hoosiers through the years, but they went up there and played well that day, and Leal was a big reason why. He hit three three-pointers, all at critical times, and kept the Hoosiers in the game.
With several new guards joining the roster after Mike Woodson took over as head coach, there's going to be a lot of competition for minutes and playing time at Leal's position. He will benefit greatly from a change of coaches, and a fresh start will probably do him good.
The talent is there. The work ethic is there. The confidence is not, but that will come. A lot will change between April and November in behind-the-curtain workouts and scrimmages, and it will be interesting to see where Leal fits next year when Indiana has its first full 13-man roster for the first time in three years.
Final grade: C
C: My initial leaning on his grade was to give him an incomplete, because I felt like we just didn't see enough of him, especially in the final third of the season. But I've opted for a C, the lowest grade I've doled out so far. It's average.
We just didn't get to see much from Anthony this year. He did OK on the defensive end, though he did get confused on screen/rolls a few times. And offensively, he was strictly a perimeter shooter. Thirty of his 32 shots this season were from behind the three-point line, He needs to add so much more to his game. The bright side, at least, is that I think he is capable of doing that.
Previous 'Final Grades' stories
- TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis was Indiana's leading scorer and rebounder this year, and there was no question he was the Hoosiers' best player. Here's his grade. CLICK HERE
- ARMAAN FRANKLIN: Sophomore guard Armaan Franklin made great year-over-year strides and emerged as Indiana's best perimeter threat on both sides of the floor. CLICK HERE
- RACE THOMPSON: Redshirt junior Race Thompson fought through injuries at the end of the season and battled in the post all year during his fine season. CLICK HERE
- AL DURHAM: Senior guard Al Durham was up and down, but he conclude his career as one of 53 Hoosiers to score 1,000 points all-time. CLICK HERE
- ROB PHINISEE: Junior guard Rob Phinisee really struggled with his confidence this season, and it really affected his shooting numbers. CLICK HERE
- JEROME HUNTER: It was nice to see redshirt sophomore Jerome Hunter stay healthy all year, and he made some big shots along the way. CLICK HERE
- TREY GALLOWAY: The first freshman to make an impact for Indiana this season Culver's Trey Galloway, who got the most playing time and made seven starts on the season. CLICK HERE
- NEXT UP: Indiana freshman Khristian Lander.
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