‘Everything is interchangeable’: Indiana men’s basketball embraces positionless style of play


With four talented freshmen joining the Indiana men’s basketball team this season, there are many questions about the team’s lineups, positions, and overall minute distribution.

While those questions have yet to be officially answered on the ground, the team has indicated that many of their players are in different positions on the pitch. It started with Kaleb Banks and Jordan Geronimo (who are traditionally power forwards) saying this summer that they will be playing a lot of small forward this season. This topic was continued on the media day on Thursday.

It started with Trayce Jackson-Davis discussing how he expects to play power forward with big men Malik Reneau and Logan Duncomb playing down center.

“[Duncomb will] play a bit of the five. I think Malik will rotate at five and four as well,” Jackson-Davis said. “But on our offensive everything is interchangeable.”

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“Being able to be a versatile big, not just playing at pole, but being able to play on the touchline, that’s definitely something that I and Coach Woodson talked about,” Reneau said .

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Trayce Jackson-Davis during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers and the Indiana Hoosiers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN. (Missy Minear/Indiana Hoosiers)

This style of multi-position basketball fits Mike Woodson’s NBA background. “Staple basketball” has been a term tossed around among the pros for years, and it feels like Woodson is embracing that path into his second season at the helm.

In 2017, Celtics president of basketball operations and former head coach Brad Stevens said, “It can now be as simple as three positions where you’re either a ballhandler, a wing, or a big.”

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The Hoosiers rely on this professional style of play. The team recently announced that they will be holding their first-ever Pro Day on Friday, October 7th. The event takes place in the afternoon as Hoosier Hysteria starts later in the evening. Representatives from all 30 NBA teams are invited.

“It’s something that’s never been done here before,” Woodson said Thursday of Pro Day. “I have to keep my connections with the NBA world anyway. I have many friends at the big level. It will be nice when they come in and see what we’re doing.”

This positional versatility will not only exist in advance. Guard Xavier Johnson said he will also play at multiple venues in 2022-23.

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“I’m going to be playing two positions this year, to be honest, so I have to learn two different positions,” Johnson said. “I just need to know where everyone is supposed to be because not only am I the point guard, I’m going to play the two with Jalen [Hood-Schifino].”

Seems like this will be a notable departure from the strict positional alignments the team had a season ago. This could be crucial for Indiana at either end of the court.

“Everyone is above 6-2 so that will be good to switch… Being able to play different positions will be a key thing for us. I think that’s a big deal for our team,” Reneau said.

Everyone is waiting to see how Woodson manages his lineups and which newcomers will play big minutes. But don’t be surprised if the majority of the team is playing in two or three positions this season.


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