29 Apr

Arizona big man gives Hoosiers a top-10 prospect in portal

Indiana made another big addition to its transfer class on Tuesday, when coveted center Oumar Ballo committed to the Hoosiers. Ballo is the No. 9 player in the CBS Sports transfer rankings after earning all-conference honors at Arizona each of the past two seasons. The 7-foot bruiser began his career at Gonzaga and has one season left to play.

He will be critical in replacing the production void left by Kel’el Ware, a 7-footer who declared for the NBA Draft after leading Indiana in scoring, rebounding and blocks during a breakout sophomore season. Ballo should pair well with junior power forward Malik Reneau to give IU one of the Big Ten’s top frontcourts next season.

The upcoming campaign is critical for coach Mike Woodson after the Hoosiers missed the NCAA Tournament with a 19-14 record in 2024. Woodson, who is entering his fourth season, is enjoying a strong portal cycle thus far after also landing a commitment from 2023-24 Pac-12 Rookie of the Year Myles Rice over the weekend.

Ranked the No. 26 player of the offseason, Rice will bring a much-needed upgrade to IU’s backcourt, while Ballo will bring heft to the interior. Unlike Ware, who was slight of frame and able to stretch the floor as a shooter, Ballo does essentially all of his work near the rim.

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Oumar Ballo scouting report
Ballo averaged 12.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in 26 minutes per contest for Arizona this past season while hitting 65.8% of his shots from the field. His sheer size is a problem for most opponents. Though Ballo logged significant playing time in an up-tempo system at Arizona, which is a testament to his conditioning, he’s not particularly agile. Instead, 247Sports director of scouting Adam Finkelstein described Ballo as a “monster in the paint.”

“He has a huge frame that is as powerful as it is large, and he knows how to use it,” Finkelstein wrote. “Ballo excels at getting deep post position. He’s extremely physical prior to the catch, both by ducking in hard to seal defenders under the rim and pushing them up the lane when he’s fronted. If they play behind him in the post, he looks to bully them with his dribble to get to point blank range. While Ballo lacks an overly refined post-game when he isn’t able to get deep real estate, he does possess good hands and solid footwork. He’s an emphatic dunker who virtually rips the rim down at every opportunity. He also puts a ton of pressure on the rim rolling off ball-screens, virtually running to the rim to create maximum separation from the ball-handler.”

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