Former Bloomington South guard Johnny Jager, a starter this past season for Division III Wabash, will walk on at Indiana this season, he said.
A 6-foot guard, Jager was the second-leading scorer at Wabash as a freshman at 15.0 points per game. He was one of three Wabash players to average 30 minutes per game.
He will sit out the 2016-17 season under normal transfer rules then have three years of college eligibility remaining.
Jager wrote on his Instagram page: “Blessed and thankful for Coach Crean and the opportunity to pursue a career in coaching and a lifelong dream of becoming a Hoosier as I intend on transferring to Indiana University and walking on as a member of the basketball team. #BornAndRaised #HoosierNation.”
As a freshman at Wabash, he shot 35.6 percent from the arc and 39.6 percent from the floor overall to go with 72 percent from the line.
His primary role is expected to be in practice, and his stated goal is to get into coaching.
At Bloomington South, he averaged 13.2 points, 5.1 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals, according to the Bloomington Herald-Times.
Jager made the decision to walk on at IU after talking with IU coach Tom Crean about getting into coaching.
“I was at Wabash, which I loved and still love. I was planning on being a biology major and becoming a dentist. After one semester, I knew that was not going to be the case. I was not enjoying it and it was really hard,” Jager said with a laugh.
“I was doing a lot of soul searching about what I wanted to do, and I kept thinking about coaching. I’ve been around basketball my whole life and basically grew up on the basketball court.
“I contacted coach Crean because we have a personal connection from our families being friends for a while. I was asking him what would be the best way to make that possible, how to achieve my goal of getting into coaching.
“We got to talking, and with Harrison Niego transferring, there was a spot on the roster for another walk-on and that’s how I came into play.”
Jager started at shooting guard as a freshman then moved to point guard when Tucker Blackwell, headed to West Point this fall, came along.
Jager is regarded as a very heady player.
He said he had the thought of walking on at IU previously.
“Growing up in Bloomington, people would ask about walking on. I always though about it, but never really had the opportunity until this came about,” he said.
“When I talked with coach Crean about coaching, I mentioned getting the most experience possible would be the best way to make the most connections to get the to the Division I level and it fell into line.
“I’m really looking forward to learning from the IU coaches. I’ve been around good coaches my while life. I’ve had good AAU coaches. Coach Criss Byers is one of my favorite coaches. Coach (J.R.) Holmes is a hall of famer. Coach (Kyle) Brumett at Wabash is great coach.”
Jager knows he’s going from being a starter in Division III to a much different role at Indiana.
Jager, who turns 20 in September, has been a regular at IU basketball home games since kindergarten.
“My expectations and coach Crean’s expectations are on the exact same page. I’m going to come in every single day, work as hard as I can to reach my goal of earning a spot and trying to get on the court someday in my career,” he said.
“I realize the fact that it’s possible I could never step onto the court and play in a live game. I’m going to have the attitude that I’m going to work toward it. It could pay off. If not I’ll still get an experience not many have ever had. If nothing else I’ll push the other guys as much as I can.
“All I know is the attitude I’m going go in there with, working hard and pushing everybody. If I can’t play, I still have to be a contributor, doing the scout the right way every single time, being a cheerleader on the sideline, whatever it is.
“I’m there to help whatever way I can.
“There are two aspects to this. One is the dream. Growing up in Bloomington, going to my first game in kindergarten, being a ball boy in fifth grade when they had Eric Gordon, the dream of being an Indiana kid and playing for Indiana.
“The other aspect is of it hopefully being my career path.”