Indiana filled its final basketball scholarship on Sunday by adding Pittsburgh transfer Josh Newkirk, a 6-foot-1 point guard. Newkirk will have to sit out next season and will have two years of eligibility remaining after that.
Newkirk averaged 5.9 points per game for the Panthers as a sophomore last season. He had surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his knee in early May, and is currently in the middle of a six-month rehab process. Newkirk moved to Bloomington this weekend and is expected to begin classes on Monday with the rest of IU students.
The whole process came about rather suddenly. Newkirk had planned to transfer closer to North Carolina, where his family resides, but Indiana called, and Newkirk listened. IU was the second school to offer Newkirk a scholarship during his original recruitment, and he took an official visit to Bloomington last Monday-Wednesday. Shortly thereafter, he decided to make IU his new home.
"IU offered Josh when he was in the 10th grade, but he wanted to stay in the ACC so he could be around his hometown a lot," Newkirk's father, Reggie, told AllHoosiers.com. "But it didn't really work out at Pitt with the offense they run. It just wasn't a good fit. So when he got a release, he initially wanted to come back closer to home. But while waiting, he got a call from IU and he remembered how much of a transitional team they were from the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. He fell in love with them all over again."
Pittsburgh announced that Newkirk would transfer on August 9. Newkirk, a three-star recruit in the 2013 class, also originally had offers from Arizona, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Missouri, N.C. State, Oklahoma State and Tennessee.
Newkirk's fit seems like an ideal one. He will have a year to sit out, let his injury heal, and adjust to the new school, and then figures to have an opportunity to take over the starting point guard spot when Yogi Ferrell graduates next May.
"Coach Crean said it makes good sense to bring in a seasoned point guard after Yogi leaves to fill the void and not lose anything," Reggie Newkirk said.