Indiana basketball just scored a big win on the transfer portal front, with Joe Tipton of On3 reporting on Saturday that the Hoosiers have landed the commitment of one of the best-ranked players on the portal in the form of Kanaan Carlyle.

“NEWS: Stanford transfer Kanaan Carlyle, a top-10 player in the portal, has committed to Indiana, @On3sports has learned. The 6-3 freshman guard averaged 11.5 PPG this season. Former top-50 recruit.”

Carlyle's looming official addition to the Hoosiers roster could prove to be pivotal for the franchise. The Atlanta, Georgia carries to Bloomington plenty of promise after averaging 11.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 23 games with the Stanford Cardinal in the 2023-24 season — his freshman campaign. Carlyle could still use plenty of work and polishing on at least a few facets of his game, including his accuracy from the field, so perhaps a move to Indiana basketball would help him improve in those areas. During his first season in college basketball, Carlyle shot just 38.6 percent from the field and 32.0 percent from behind the arc. He also converted only 77.6 percent of his attempts from the free throw line.

In what could be his best game so far in his college basketball career, Carlyle dropped 28 points in a 100-82 Stanford win over then-No. 4 Arizona Wildcats at home on Dec. 31. He shot 7/13 from the field and hit six of eight attempts from the 3-point region while adding enough rebounds, and assist, and two blocks in 29 minutes of action.

Kanaan Carlyle forming lethal Hoosiers backcourt with fellow transfer

Stanford Cardinal guard Kanaan Carlyle (3) dribbles against the Washington State Cougars during the second half at T-Mobile Arena.
Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

With Carlyle expected to play for Indiana basketball starting in the 2024-25 campaign, the Hoosiers could start dreaming of having an electric backcourt in the coming new season. Carlyle's decision to transfer to Indiana came a little over a week since it was reported that former Washington State Huskies combo guard Myles Rice was going to the Hoosiers via the portal.

There is a common denominator — of sorts — for Carlyle and Smith, and that's new Stanford head coach Kyle Smith. Rice was recruited to Washington State by Smith, who at the time was the head coach of the Huskies. Smith's departure from Washington State to coach Stanford might have played a role in Carlyle's decision to leave Palo Alto through the transfer portal.

And since both Carlyle and Smith spent their freshman seasons in the Pac-12, they were able to share the floor twice in the 2023-24 campaign. In their first college meeting, Carlyle dropped 31 points on 10/18 shooting from the floor with three 3-pointers, albeit in an 89-75 loss to the Huskies, who had Rice scoring a game-high 35 points on 15/24 shooting with five triples on Jan. 18. Nearly a month later, on Feb. 17, the two met again, with Carlyle and Rice having cooler hands that time around, as the former scored 12 points and the latter generating only 14 points in an another Washington State win, 72-59.

Apart from Carlyle and Rice, Indiana basketball also is injecting its frontcourt a big boost with seven-footer Oumar Ballo transferring from Arizona to the Hoosiers.

Reactions to Indiana basketball transfer portal success

“Indiana lands Stanford transfer Kanaan Carlyle, he announced. The 6-3 guard averaged 11.5 points and shot 32 percent from 3 as a freshman last season. Hoosiers have now added PG Myles Rice, big man Oumar Ballo and combo guard Kanaan Carlyle. Three talented guys,” said basketball analyst Jeff Goodman.

“Stanford transfer Kanaan Carlyle has committed to Indiana, he announced on IG. Third significant addition of the offseason for Mike Woodson, joining Oumar Ballo and Myles Rice. Three starters are also back. Still a shooter short, but there's plenty of talent on the IU roster,” said ESPN's Jeff Borzello.