Monday, April 20, 2009

Crean and Crimson

2009-2010 Indiana Hoosier Basketball Preview

Why I feel confident that the turn around will be remarkable from 2008-2009: When I say remarkable, I mean a disappointing season to me is 16-15 and an upside I could see 19-12.

This year’s winnable games:

Northeastern (55-42), Lipscomb(74-69), Iowa(65-60), Michigan(72-66 OT). Will Manny Harris turn pro? Penn St.(65-55). PSU loses 2nd leading scorer, Jamelle Cornley and 3rd leading scorer, Stanley Pringle. Minnesota(67-63), Northwestern(77-75). NW loses 2nd leading scorer, Craig Moore. Minnesota(62-54), Penn St.(61-58), Michigan St.(64-59). Wisconsin loses leading scorer, Marcus Landry and starter Joe Krabbenhoft. Add to that that the word is we’ll have a weaker non-conference schedule.

Purdue’s 2007 recruiting class. Purdue went 25-9 with freshmen Moore, Hummel, and Martin the top 3 out of 4 scorers. Kramer and Grant were the only 2 significant returners and they were sophomores. We match up very well with what they brought in:
(According to Rivals)
Purdue 2007 Indiana 2009
#35 E’Twaun Moore #34 Christian Watford
#42 JaJuan Johnson #59 Maurice Creek
#75 Robbie Hummel #98 Derek Elston
#76 Scott Martin #106 Jordan Hulls
#111 Bawa Muniru

If you want to say some of those guys won’t pan out for us, I’d agree, but you can also consider Bobby Capobianco who Rivals and ESPN both have ranked. Not to mention we can add Jeremiah Rivers who played for a top 10 team and was Big East All-Defensive team as a back-up PG. So is it feasible to say 4 of our 7 newcomers will pan out the way Purdue’s did? Were Kramer and Grant any better than Pritchard, Dumes, and Verdell Jones?

Also keep in mind that Williams(145), Jones(126), Pritchard(NR), and Dumes(NR) were all 3 star recruits. 5 of our 6 ’09 recruits are ranked higher than our ’08 highest(Jones) and Capo is too depending on where you look. Watford, Creek, and Elston are all 4 star recruits.

A look at what we’ve got:

F-Christian Watford-6’8’’-Rivals #34 Scout #47 ESPN #29. I might have put Creek higher, but just purely from need of position, Watford may be our most valuable commodity. He’ll give us a little more size(he’s taller than anyone on last year’s roster other than Pritch and Jobe) and a type of scorer that we just didn’t have. I’m hoping we could possibly compare Christian to a Jared Jeffries type talent. A good sized forward that can handle the ball pretty well and has pretty good range. A little skinny and may not be much of an inside force. He turned down an offer from Memphis to come to IU. He averaged 25.9ppg and 13.2 rpg. I see him starting at SF or PF.

PG-Jeremiah Rivers-6’5’’-This position will be by far the most upgraded. Although Verdell cam on very well, he’s just not a point guard to me. Rivers is much more of a leader. He brings Big East experience, and he’s immediately our best defender. He may not score much, but that isn’t necessarily what we need from that position. I see him fighting Hulls for the starting PG position.

PG-Jordan Hulls-6’0’’-Rivals #106 Scout #50 ESPN NR. What I just said above in Rivers summary and he and Rivers are nice opposites. Hulls isn’t as quick, not as big, no college experience, and probably not a great defender. That said, the thing they both share is more leadership ability than anyone on last year’s squad. Hulls, unlike Rivers, is a solid 3-point shooter. Much better ballhandler and decision maker than anyone on the 2008-2009 roster. I’m thinking we can hope he’s a cross between Tom Coverdale and Neil Reed. He’s built more like Reed. He turned down Purdue, Stanford, and Duke for IU. He’s currently averaging 16.8ppg and 5.1 apg.

PF/C-Tom Pritchard-3rd on the team in scoring at 9.7 ppg and led in rebounding at 6.4rpg.
I see him as our starting center again this year, but greatly improved with more scoring and ballhandling around him, some experience, and more size and depth to go with him.

SG/SF-Maurice Creek-6’5’’-Rivals #59 Scout #41 ESPN #63. Turned down Texas, Pitt, Georgetown, Marquette, and Maryland for IU. Averaged. Great 3 point shooter and good athlete. I see him starting as a SG or SF.

G/F-Verdell Jones-2nd on the team with 11ppg, and led team in assists. VJ3 really surprised me. I thought for sure he would be odd man out until about halfway through this season. Then he started taking the ball to the basket pretty well. Then my knock was that I don’t see him starting at PG, but he doesn’t have the 3-point shot to be a SG/SF in Crean’s system. Well, then he started hitting some. If Indiana Jones bulks up and really works on his 3 point shot, he may start at SG or SF. I don’t think so, but I think our 2nd leading scorer this year can be in the top 7 or 8 rotation. Not bad.

SF/PF-Derek Elston-6’8’’-Rivals #98 Scout #77 ESPN NR. Turned down Purdue, North Carolina, Iowa for IU. I think this will be a huge wild card for us. He played against mostly inferior talent in HS. His rankings have been up and down due to his injury. If he’s good enough to start at SF or PF as a freshman, I think we’ll be really tough. He shoots, passes, and handles the ball more like a SF I am told. Maybe a poor man’s Robbie Hummel? He’s currently averaging 19.9 ppg and 10.6 rpg.

PF/C-Bobby Capobianco-6’8’’ Rivals NR Scout NR ESPN #100. Turned down Marquette, Iowa, and West Virginia for IU. Averaged 17.7 ppg 9.1rpg (He averaged 21ppg and 11rpg as a junior). I think we’re going to love Capo. I think this kid is Mr. Indiana. He’s so happy to be a Hoosier. He even helps us recruit. I think he’s going to be really tough and hard nosed and really help bring attitude to our team. Sounds like he has a pretty good jump shot. I think it will come down to he and Bawa for some major minutes inside and I think he’ll win that spot.

C-Bawa Muniru-6’11’’-Rivals #111 Scout NR ESPN NR. Turned down Louisville and UCLA for IU. This is easily our biggest question mark/wild card. His senior season was very difficult to get any updates on, but when we did get them, he wasn’t putting up good numbers at all. He had big programs looking at him and is fairly highly rated. All indications are that he runs the floor well, block shots and rebounds well, and has a great attitude. All indications are that he’s atleast better than Jobe and he has 4 years of college ahead. I’m hopeful that once with CTC and staff he can have a role this year. I think it will be either him or Capo, but not both. If he’s not going to beat out Capo, I’d love to see him redshirt.

SG-Devan Dumes-Led IU at 12.7 ppg, 3-pointers made, and 3-point %(other than Taber). I have said all along that I think Dumes will be a nice player next year when he’s not looked at as the go-to guard. I think his shot selection will improve dramatically. If that’s the case, I think he’ll be a nice weapon to go along with the others. Just one more guy you can’t double off. Atleast he can create his won shot. Now, if his shot selection doesn’t change with his new teammates, I hope he sits A Lot!

SG-Matt Roth-Started 7 games. 2nd on team in 3-pointers made, led team in FT %. I see Roth fighting for the #9 or #10 position which I do think puts him just barely in the rotation in a running system. I do think with more scoring options, and more inside threats that he’ll become more valuable. It just drove me crazy when he’d launch 30-footers! I see him as a career Leary or Hornsby type.

C-Tijan Jobe-7’0’’-Hey, he dunked in the last game! I know we all want to think he’ll be one making room for a scholarship, but sometimes it’s just not that easy. If he’s around, I think his only role will be one on one games with Bawa. I read an interesting post wondering what would happen in a one on one game with Job and Ben Allen. That really made me laugh.

Now obviously we need to improve at the free throw line. We need to drastically cut down turnovers (especially unforced ones). I also think Crean will have us running and trapping a lot more. As you can tell, I’m a little excited!