Indiana Hoosiers land top transfer portal center for stunning NIL price

The transfer portal gives each player in college basketball the opportunity to become a free agent after each season, making it an extremely lucrative deal for a select few players coveted by the sport’s biggest brands. There is. Omar Balo knows this better than anyone.

Baro was a consensus top-100 four-star player in the 2019 class, behind top prospects like Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman. He committed to Gonzaga, redshirting his freshman year and playing sparingly in 2021 for the Zags’ nearly undefeated powerhouse. When assistant coach Tommy Lloyd was hired by Reed’s Arizona, Burro followed suit. He’s outperformed some of the more productive big men in the country each of the past two years as a punishing low-post scorer and rebounder and a solid enough defender in the paint.

All players who registered during the pandemic are given an extra “corona year”, so Baro has one more season of eligibility. He opted to leave Arizona and enter the transfer portal and was arguably considered the top center available in a class that also included former Indiana State big man Robbie Avila. Baro was headed high for a school in desperate need of a veteran big man, and on Tuesday afternoon he found the perfect fit.

Baro is indiana hoosiers. This job reportedly earned him a salary of more than $1 million.

Indiana had a desperate reason. The Hoosiers missed the NCAA Tournament last season despite being ranked 13th in the preseason poll. Indiana didn’t have a replacement for injured guard Xavier Johnson, had zero shots, and looked like he was snakebitten all year despite a big play in Kel’el Ware. With Ware currently a first-round NBA Draft pick, Indiana needed to find a top center to fill that void if it wanted to bounce back in 2024-25. Baro was their prized pick.

Indiana has already landed State of Washington Guard Miles Rice in the portal. Stanford guard Kanaan Carlisle is expected to be acquired next. If that happens, these three players will likely form one of the top transfer classes in the country. Bloomington still has plenty of intriguing players from last season, including bouncy forwards Malik Renaud and Mackenzie Mugako.

Goodman said on his podcast earlier this season that Indiana has about $4 million in its NIL pool. Head coach Mike Woodson couldn’t afford another down season and put the money to good use. It’s a shame he missed out on a deal from five-star wing Liam McNeely, because that would have really made IU cook. Still, if Woodson can put together enough shots, this team looks like it could become a Big Ten contender again almost overnight.

Even five years ago it would have been difficult to imagine a world in college basketball where players were transparently paid more than $1 million a season, but it’s a new world in sports. This system is especially great for top-of-tops. Indiana and Burro proved just that.