BLOOMINGTON – The high sign was given Friday, but on Tuesday, Mackenzie Mgbako was officially unveiled as an Indiana Hoosier.
The McDonald’s All-American from Gladstone, New Jersey, has signed his letter of intent to play for the Hoosiers. He is immediately eligible for the 2023-24 season.
“He has the chance to have an immediate impact on our program. He’s a tremendous offensive player who gives us athleticism, length and the ability to be an inside/out threat,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said in a university statement.
Mgbako is listed at 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds. He played his final season at Roselle Catholic in New Jersey where he averaged 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds. Roselle Catholic won the private school B state title.
“He can beat people off the dribble, rebound, run the floor and guard multiple positions. Like most freshmen, he will benefit greatly from time in the weight room,” Woodson said.
Prior to playing at Roselle Catholic, Mgbako was a Skyland Conference Player of the year at Gill St. Bernards High School.
Mgbako should slide in as an immediate starter for the Hoosiers. He would be part of a projected starting lineup with center Kel’el Ware, forward Malik Reneau and guards Xavier Johnson and Trey Galloway.
“He is a winner who has played against high-level competition and was a state champion in high school,” Woodson said.
He is the son of C.Y. and Daphne Mgbako and has an older brother, Ife, an older sister, Mikaylah, and a younger brother, Ethan. Daphne Mgbako was born in Haiti. C.Y. was born in Nigeria.
He is the 33rd Hoosier recruit who has played in the McDonald’s All-American Game. Mgbako and Oregon transfer sophomore center Ware will give the Hoosiers two McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster for the first time since 2016-17. He is the highest rated Hoosier recruit since seventh-ranked Romeo Langford chose IU in 2018.
Mgbako joins incoming guard Gabe Cupps from Centerville, Ohio, and guard Jakai Newton (114th, 247Sports) from Covington, Georgia, as freshmen coming into Indiana’s program.
Transfers Ware, junior forward Payton Sparks (Ball State) and graduate student forward Anthony Walker (Miami) are also newcomers to the Indiana program.
Former Indiana players Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trayce Jackson-Davis are participating in this week’s NBA Combine in Chicago. A few surprises have been revealed.
The most pleasant one, for Jackson-Davis and his draft status, was his showing in a 3-point shooting drill. On Monday, Jackson-Davis made 9-of-12 attempts from 3-point range.
While one drill does not an improved draft status make, it gave at least a small sample size to demonstrate Jackson-Davis can spread his range, something he was never asked to do at Indiana, where he never made a 3-pointer in his four seasons.
Right now, Jackson-Davis is projected as a second-round draft pick by most experts, though his stock would rise if he could consistently demonstrate he could shoot from the outside.
Hood-Schifino is more highly coveted in the draft, being projected as a mid-first round pick, but perhaps the biggest reveal in his case was his size.
Indiana listed Schifino at 6-foot-6, but measured without shoes, Hood-Schifino was 6-foot-4 ¼. Whether that size difference has an impact on his draft status remains to be seen.