What is Indiana getting in five-star Khristian Lander?
When he accepted the Indiana job in the spring of 2017, Archie Miller pledged to make locking down local talent a priority. I thought he could be successful in that endeavor, and man has he impressed.
As the Hoosiers continue to improve on the floor, Miller and his staff wrapped up another monster commitment on Tuesday night when five-star junior Khristian Lander ended things in their favor. His commitment makes it eight Rivals150 players from the state to choose to stay home in under three years.
That Lander would pick the Hoosiers wasn't a big surprise to me - especially with the success Miller and his staff have had locally. But, given there has been a lot of speculation about whether he would be a 2020 or 2021 recruit, the general thought had been that a decision on class would come first.
Lander's father was certainly surprised by the timing, as he indicated to Nick Baumgart of TheHoosier.com on the Rivals network.
"It's not the decision that surprised me, it was the timing," Keith Lander, Khristian's father, told TheHoosier.com on Tuesday night.
So, the question here is what exactly are the Hoosiers getting in Lander. How would a 2020 arrival change any expectations for his career path?
First, I asked my colleague Corey Evans for his breakdown of Lander.
"Lander is arguably the quickest guard in America and will be great for what Archie Miller likes and wants to do on the defensive end," said Evans. "He's arguably the most talented and impactful point guard that Miller will have coached at Indiana. He can be a playmaker, shoots, defends and finishes. Lander is the ideal two-way guard that IU has been in search of."
When I was listening to Corey's breakdown of Lander, I didn't have much disagreement. I also love his speed with the ball and I like that defenders also have to respect his jump shot and he does play hard on both ends.
So obviously, he's a big time pickup for the Hoosiers.
Now, should Lander elect to finish high school early and arrive in Bloomington for next season, expectations will need to be tempered some. Skipping a year of high school isn't easy and the area Lander needs the most development is with his strength. However, the good thing here is that because IU should have some backcourt depth next season there would likely be much less pressure on Lander in his first year if he arrived for 2020-21 rather than staying in 2021-22.
I wouldn't be surprised if the question of 2020 or 2021 takes until the middle or end of the summer to be decided. Either way, the way that Miller and his staff are locking down top local players is impressive and a guy like Lander should be another great piece in the Indiana rebuild.