With the start of the college basketball season slated for late November, we are our take on other Big Ten programs to our player-by-player previews of Indiana’s 2020-21 roster. Today, our player profiles begin with a look at rookie Jordan Geronimo.
The least-known product of Indiana’s four freshmen, Jordan Geronimo, arrived in Bloomington over the summer with little fanfare. His three freshman comrades, originally from Indiana, are players whose fan base was already familiar from their prep careers in the state.
Geronimo, who is originally from Newark, NJ and played at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, was not well known on the national recruiting radar until the summer of 2019.
But after playing for Mass Rivals on the adidas Gauntlet circuit in his last summer of baseline basketball, Geronimo’s national profile rose and resulted in a wave of high school offers. Scouts and coaches were in love with his athleticism, height and wingspan, which is an impressive 7ft 4in. In June, former Rivals.com analyst Corey Evans, who now works for the Oklahoma City Thunder, compared Geronimo to former IU forward OG Anunoby on Podcast on the Brink.
The No. 96 player nationally in the 247Composite for the 2020 promotion, Geronimo visited Indiana last fall and engaged with the Hoosiers days later. At the time, his interest in recruiting seemed to be increasing and the list of suitors was growing.
But it all quickly came to a halt after a fall weekend in which Geronimo fell in love with the IU campus and its basketball program.
“It was all really fun and energetic,” Geronimo told Inside the Hall in September 2019. “I really trusted them to get me to where I need to be. The community was very lively when I was there, and they had so much energy. The icing on the cake that really won me over was how the rich basketball history Indiana was able to project into the community.
After his engagement with the Hoosiers, Geronimo won the title of Gatorade Player of the Year in New Hampshire. He averaged 18 points, nine rebounds, two steals, two assists and two blocks for St. Paul’s as a senior.
The 6-foot-6 forward arrived at Bloomington this summer and quickly went to work with Clif Marshall to improve his strength and conditioning. By the end of July, the changes were apparent.
– Jordan Geronimo (@ JordanGeronimo2) July 29, 2020
Described by several of his teammates as an athletic “monster” on Indiana Media Day earlier this month, Geronimo and the IU coaches now face the challenge of turning potential into production.
Max Gordon, who coached Geronimo at St. Paul’s, told Inside the Hall in early September that his former player has always held to a high standard.
“Jordan always responds,” Gordon explained. “I feel like I’ve said this so many times that it almost sounds too good to be true, but that’s him. He wants to be coached, he wants to be held responsible. “
Indiana’s frontcourt rotation was already full of talent and experience before Geronimo arrived, so any role he wins as a rookie will certainly be deserved. The Hoosiers welcome back four players in Trayce Jackson-Davis, Jerome Hunter, Joey Brunk and Race Thompson, all of whom played big roles in last season’s 20-game winning squad.
His best shot at carving out a role as a rookie may be similar to how Indiana deployed Anunoby and Juwan Morgan in the 2015-16 campaign. Anunoby and Morgan were replacements to start their careers at Bloomington, who offered output in the form of energy and defense off the bench.
“What’s going to get him on the pitch, as you develop your offensive skills and keep learning, is that he can cover,” Vin Pastore, who coached Geronimo with Mass Rivals, told Inside the Hall. earlier this fall. “He’s going to defend himself. He’s going to wreak havoc on the defense, which is going to allow him to be on the pitch, which will allow him to get the minutes he needs to continue to grow as an all-around player.
At the end of the line: The depth of the Indiana frontline is strong enough to allow Archie Miller to facilitate Geronimo in the rotation in his first season. With the Hoosiers set to play one of the most ambitious non-conference programs in the country, the development minutes for Geronimo to gain experience are unlikely to be many. Still, he’s perfectly built for Miller’s pack line defense and, as he acclimates to the speed and physicality of college play, he might have the most long-term potential of one. new players on the list.
To quote: “He has all the intangibles needed to be a good defender in the Big Ten right now. You can put Jordan on a point guard (and) he can move up to four positions. It’s size, speed, (he) plays bigger than he is. (He) moves like a little guard, exceptionally long. All of this enables him to do these things. – Pastore on Geronimo’s defensive versatility.
Filed to: 2020-2021 Season Preview, Jordan Geronimo