Oumar Ballo, top player in transfer portal, picks Indiana

Arizona transfer Oumar Ballo, the No. 1 player in the transfer portal, committed to Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday, he told ESPN.

Ballo visited the Hoosiers' campus the past couple of days and opted to end his recruitment before taking any other visits. Louisville, Kansas State, North Carolina, Florida and Arkansas had all pursued Ballo prior to his commitment.

A 7-foot center from Mali, Ballo entered the transfer portal last week and immediately became the best player available. He's a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection and also earned all-defensive team honors this past season.

Ballo averaged 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds this season, tallying 20 double-doubles and shooting nearly 66% from the field. He went for 15 points and 15 rebounds against Clemson in Arizona's season-ending Sweet 16 loss in the NCAA tournament.

During his breakout 2022-23 campaign, Ballo averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds, shooting nearly 65% from the field.

He began his career at Gonzaga, then followed Tommy Lloyd from Spokane to Arizona when Lloyd became the head coach of the Wildcats.

Ballo's commitment is a huge statement by Indiana coach Mike Woodson, who will enter the 2024-25 season under pressure after the Hoosiers missed the NCAA tournament and finished 19-14 overall. Indiana will bring back honorable mention All-Big Ten forward Malik Reneau and the league's co-Freshman of the Year in Mackenzie Mgbako. They've also already landed a commitment from Washington State transfer Myles Rice, one of the best guards in the portal.

How Woodson uses Reneau and Ballo together will be a storyline for the Hoosiers entering next season. Indiana ranked near the bottom of Division I in 3-point attempt rate and percentage of points from 3-pointers last season, making double-digit 3s just once all season and averaging 5.0 makes per game.

Reneau has attempted 53 3-pointers in two seasons, with 45 of them coming last season, while Ballo is yet to attempt a 3-pointer in four college seasons.