Hoosiers make big add late with No. 9 Mgbako

Top 10 senior Mackenzie Mgbako, who decommitted from Duke last month, announced Friday he will play basketball for Indiana this season.

Mgbako chose the Hoosiers over Kansas. He also previously visited St. John’s and considered Louisville before narrowing in on his final two schools.

He originally committed to Jon Scheyer and Duke in April 2022, but he reopened his recruitment shortly after potential first-round pick Kyle Filipowski announced he planned to return to the Blue Devils.

“My decision will put me in a position to flourish and thrive,” Mgbako told ESPN. “The staff showed a lot of love and I trust them. They have a need for my game. It’s a great fit. If I do my job, I will have the opportunity to start. I can bring scoring, rebounding and passing.”

Mgbako spoke with Carmelo Anthony, who played for Indiana coach Mike Woodson while with the New York Knicks. He said that Anthony told him, “[Woodson] is a genuine guy. But on the court, he will push you.”

Mgbako’s name, image and likeness opportunities in Bloomington was also a factor in his decision.

“It works hand in hand with the decision,” he said. “You get paid for what you love to do. Indiana has great NIL opportunities.”

A 6-foot-8 forward out of Roselle Catholic High (New Jersey), Mgbako is ranked No. 9 in the ESPN 100 for the 2023 class. He’s considered one of the best offensive players in the country, averaging 16.5 points and 7.6 rebounds last spring and summer on the Nike EYBL circuit with the NJ Scholars.

Mgbako also stood out at the recent Nike Hoop Summit, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds playing for the World Select team. He also was a McDonald’s All American selection.

Mgbako brings high-level shooting ability and is especially strong inside the arc with long 2-pointers and midrange shots. He has proved to be a strong catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter. Because of his strength and willingness, he can rebound at both ends of the floor, and Indiana can use him as either the screener or ball handler in ball-screen situations.

Mgbako is Indiana’s highest-ranked recruit since No. 5 prospect Romeo Langford committed to the Hoosiers in the class of 2018. He joins a six-man newcomer group that includes ESPN 100 point guard Gabe Cupps, four-star shooting guard Jakai Newton and transfers Kel’el Ware (Oregon), Payton Sparks (Ball State) and Anthony Walker (Miami). Coach Mike Woodson needs to replace four starters from last season’s NCAA tournament team, including All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis and potential lottery pick Jalen Hood-Schifino.

Indiana was unranked in ESPN’s most recent Way-Too-Early Top 25, although the addition of Mgbako likely leaves the Hoosiers just one perimeter scorer away from increased preseason buzz.

Ron Holland, the No. 2-ranked senior who requested his release from Texas earlier this spring, is now the only top-50 prospect in the 2023 class still available.

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