Evansville’s Khristian Lander reclassifies join IU basketball a year early

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BLOOMINGTON – Highly touted basketball recruit Khristian Lander is set to be an Indiana Hoosier a year early after reclassifying into the 2020 class.

Lander was the 12th ranked prospect in the ESPN 60 for 2021 and the top-ranked point guard in the class.

Lander announced his decision Monday to forego his senior year at F.J. Reitz High School in Evansville to attend Indiana University in the fall.

“We are thankful to his family, the trust that goes into this is not easy,” said IU men’s basketball head coach Archie Miller. “Indiana University and Bloomington is the perfect stage for him to grow on and off the court, as well as a student on campus.”

Lander totaled 1,314 points at Reitz and averaged 21 points per game last season. He guided the Panthers to a sectional title and was named second-team All-State and an Indiana Junior All-Star.

Lander told FOX59’s JoJo Gentry he has known for several weeks that he wanted to play for IU sooner rather than later, so he took advantage of an NCAA rule that allowed him to begin playing a year early.

“It’s a really big weight off my shoulders. I put a lot of thought into it going into the class of 2020,” Lander said. “My family felt like I was ready to do that.”

Lander says his expedited transition to IU has not been easy on or off the court, but he says he has felt encouraged by his father’s support.

“He was cool with either way, but he felt like I was ready to go in 2020,” Lander said. “It didn’t matter to him if I went 2020 or 2021. He felt like if I wanted to go 2020, I could be ready for it.”

Before Lander could qualify to reclassify, he had to take four classes. Lander said his studies consumed four to five hours of his daily schedule.

“I had to do economics, government and two semesters of english,” he said. “I just had to buckle down and know there was going to be a whole lot of work to do, and it wasn’t going to be easy. That was the hardest part.”

Laser focus on the court is required of Lander, too. He told FOX59 he has been working out in a private gym during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I work out four times a week strength-wise,” Lander said. “I get into the actual basketball gym three times a week.”

Lander joins three additional commits in IU’s 2020 class, including Bloomington South’s Anthony Leal and Culver Academies’ Trey Galloway, players Lander knows well.

“I feel like this is going to be a continuation of the AAU season that we had together,” Lander said. “We are going to have a lot of chemistry with each other since we’ve already played. That’s going to make stuff a lot easier.”

Reitz boys basketball head coach Mike Adams told FOX59 he wishes Lander the best in his next chapter.

“It has been a joy and blessing to have coached Khristian,” Adams said. “We at Reitz wish him all the success in the world.”

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