Indiana basketball's long pursuit of former Wichita State wing Dexter Dennis ended Friday when Dennis committed to play for Texas A&M next season.
The Hoosiers had Dennis on campus for a visit the weekend of April 23-24 and made the top six for the reigning American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, but he ultimately decided to go elsewhere.
Dennis took an unusually long time to make his decision, waiting until well after his last visit to announce his decision. Early in the process, it seemed as though he was trending toward choosing IU – Hoosiers coach Mike Woodson was reportedly enamored of his defensive ability – but his recruitment hit a snag when Indiana's Race Thompson decided to return for another season and the Hoosiers earned a commitment from five-star incoming freshman forward Malik Reneau.
The decisions from Thompson and Reneau within a week of one another in April left Indiana with 12 of the maximum 13 roster spots filled. The Hoosiers are also waiting on a decision from All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is testing the NBA Draft waters and has until June 1 to decide whether to return to Indiana for another season. If Jackson-Davis returns, Indiana would be out of scholarships, leaving no room on the roster for Dennis. It's possible the former Shocker waited a while to see whether Jackson-Davis would officially enter the draft, but ultimately decided he couldn't drag his decision out any further.
Now, Indiana's roster-building process is on hold until Jackson-Davis makes his final decision, which likely won't come until after the NBA Combine ends May 22 – the IU forward was one of about 75 players invited to the event, which runs all of next week. If the 2019 Indiana Mr. Basketball decides to return for his senior season, the Hoosiers will be at their full complement of scholarships and likely won't have any more roster movement this season. If Jackson-Davis decides to depart for the NBA, Indiana could leave one scholarship open next season or it could dip back into the transfer portal for anyone still looking for a home. Among those in the portal right now is former North Side star Keion Brooks Jr., a 2019 five-star recruit who averaged 10.8 points for Kentucky last season. Brooks is also going through the NBA Draft process, though he did not get an invite to the Combine and is unlikely to be drafted. If he chooses to come back to college and Jackson-Davis leaves, I'd be surprised if Indiana doesn't at least give him a call to gauge his interest.
Either way, Indiana will know Jackson-Davis's decision within three weeks. Dennis's decision could well mean the 15th-leading scorer in IU history is leaning toward returning, but if he shows up at the Combine and starts hitting 20-foot jumpers in scrimmages against some of the top players in his draft class – his lack of shooting in college is the one real hole in his profile – his draft stock could skyrocket and change the calculus of his decision.