Heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season, the Indiana Hoosiers starting lineup is as follows:
Indiana Basketball Starting 5
- PG–Xavier Johnson
- SG- Trey Galloway
- SF- Mackenzie Mgbako
- PF- Malik Reneau
- C- Kel’el Ware
Indiana Position Groups
The Hoosiers roll out a large starting lineup this season, which should come as no shock with head coach Mike Woodson at the helm. Woodson loves to deploy “two-big” lineups, focusing on scoring points in the paint at a high percentage and hitting the glass hard. That said, Woodson will try playing five-star sophomore Malik Reneau at the power forward position this season instead of at center. Below is a brief breakdown of each position for Indiana that aims to provide insight into how they stack up against other competition in college basketball.
Indiana Point Guards
Indiana will play two point guards this season: Xavier Johnson and Gabe Cupps. Johnson will be the de facto starter for Woodson’s Hoosiers, as the super senior is well-positioned to be one of the premier guards in the Big Ten. Johnson’s strengths are as a point-of-attack (POA) defender, using his lateral quickness, sharp reflexes, and strong upper body to deter drivers. Improvements in his three-point shot and turnover numbers will only boost the Hoosiers that much higher. The backup point guard for Indiana will be freshman Gabe Cupps, a player who compares closely to former Hoosiers legend Jordy Hulls. Cupps’ success this season will be predicated on how quickly he can adjust to the physicality of the Big Ten.
Indiana Shooting Guards
Starting at shooting guard this season for the Indiana Hoosiers will be Trey Galloway, a 6-foot-4 “Swiss Army Knife” senior who can do a little bit of everything: pass, handle, shoot, rebound, and defend. Galloway turned himself into an excellent catch-and-shoot three-point marksman last season, shooting 46.2% from deep last season. Further, Galloway’s maturity, discipline, and energy/effort level make him an ideal Big Ten starter. If he can improve on shooting off the dribble and half-court playmaking, Indiana could be a tough out in March. C.J. Gunn could see some minutes off the bench, too. Gunn is a bouncy two-guard whose shooting mechanics are far better than his shooting percentage was; however, he will have to figure that out if he wants to see the floor consistently.
Indiana Small Forwards
There’s a reason that Mackenzie Mgbako came to Indiana. He resembles, in many ways, a young Carmelo Anthony; he has a scorer’s mentality and is 6-foot-8, athletic, and can play either forward position effortlessly. Carmelo’s head coach for a while in New York just so happened to be Indiana’s head coach, Mike Woodson, connecting the two even further. Mgbako will be leaned on heavily this year since the Hoosiers must fill scoring gaps created by Trayce Jackson-Davis’ absence, but the upside and shooting talent is there. Kaleb Banks could see some minutes as the backup small forward, too.
Indiana Power Forwards
Five-star sophomore Malik Reneau will start at power forward for the Hoosiers this season, and he certainly has huge shoes to fill after Trayce Jackson-Davis declared for the NBA Draft. Reneau had solid moments last season, showing his impressive footwork and touch around the rim, but consistent play, shooting outside of the paint, and defense are areas of improvement. Specifically, Reneau will also have to improve foot speed on defense, foul discipline, and shot selection, but he can be a strong Big Ten player over the next few seasons. Anthony Walker, a Miami transfer and senior power forward, will back up Reneau, bringing energy and versatility to the bench unit.
Kel’el Ware will start at center for the Indiana Hoosiers this season. A former consensus five-star, Ware transferred to IU after an underwhelming freshman season at Oregon. Ware had a lot of competition to fend off his first year for the Ducks, and the fit was not ideal for either party. However, Ware now finds himself at IU, a program that has highly valued centers and big men over the past number of seasons. Ware’s size and length will be paramount in helping the Hoosiers become one of the best rim-protecting and top-rebounding teams in the nation. Backing up Ware will be Ball State transfer Payton Sparks, a big man who provides energy, rebounding, and touch around the rim.
Indiana Full Roster
Indiana Starting Five FAQ
Who Is Indiana’s Head Coach?
The Indiana University Men’s Basketball Coach is Mike Woodson. Woodson has been the head coach since 2021 but he was also a former player, suiting up for the Hoosiers from 1976-1980.
Who Is Indiana’s Starting Point Guard?
Xavier Johnson starts at point guard for the Indiana Hoosiers for the 2023-24 regular season. Johnson sustained a season-ending ankle injury in December of last year and got a medical hardship waiver to return this year.
Who Is Indiana’s Best Player?
Indiana’s best player is probably five-star freshman Mackenzie Mgbako, a 6-foot-8 forward who can score from all three levels on offense. Mgbako could be a “one-and-done” for the Hoosiers if he plays up to his potential.