The Indiana Hoosiers recently received some welcome news as fans learned that three of the team’s key pieces from last season would be returning for another go around with the team. While the news wasn’t shocking in itself, Al Durham, Devonte Green, and Justin Smith all announced that they would be returning to campus after exploring the 2019 NBA Draft.
Per IU, Devonte Green, Justin Smith and Al Durham have all removed their names from the draft. Here’s an idea what the lineup could look like next year. https://t.co/cmVzc0IhF4— Dustin Dopirak (@DustinDopirak) May 29, 2019
As mentioned above, none of these three players were major NBA prospects following the close of last season. They all arrived on campus with impressive recruiting profiles, but none of the three were projected as early picks this year. However, that doesn’t mean their returns won’t be welcomed with open arms by Hoosier fans.
During last season, all three finished in the top six of team minutes, including Durham who finished three on the roster. That stat gets even more significant when one considers that the two players above Durham were Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan, who are both departing the program this offseason. Additionally, Green averaged 9.4 points per game and Smith averaged 4.5 rebounds per game. The trio combined to start 71 games last season.
It would be disingenuous to pretend that these three returning guarantee the Hoosiers success for next season. While all have proven to be capable college players, none were top tier Big Ten players and are unlikely to be next fall either.
But that doesn’t mean their returns aren’t significant.
By any measure, these three are going to form the core of what should be a pretty solid Indiana team heading into next season. Indiana is welcoming a talented 2019 class and hopes some of last year’s freshmen can take a step forward as well, but the Hoosiers need experienced options as well and that’s where these three fit in. They’re going to (hopefully) help the younger players on the roster mature into top tier options.
There’s still plenty of offseason left ahead for Hoosier fans, but this news certainly has to be encouraging and could really tell a lot about next year’s team.