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!


jdhoosier said...

Coach, great job, I love the site. I have a lot of thoughts on next year's team, but I will have to save those comments for later because I don't have time at the moment. So, for now, I will just comment on the site itself. I was checking out all the stuff down the right-hand side and at the bottom and love all the pictures and all that, but my two favorite things were the shout-out to Don Kistler and the definition of "Boiler Up".

I'll have more to say later....

jdhoosier said...

I'm probably not quite as optimistic on next year's record. I'm very optimistic about the future, but I think next year will still be a struggle at times. I've been thinking right in the 15-16 or 16-15 range with sneaking into the NIT as a success. Keep in mind that 16-15 would still be a 10-game improvement which is quite a bit.

I think they will play in A LOT of close games next year, so one of my key questions is whether we have someone that can step up and be the go-to guy that delivers in the clutch. If someone can fill that role and really come through in the clutch including some game-winners, then maybe we can get closer to 20 wins. Unfortunately, I think our hope for a clutch performer has to rely on one of the incoming freshmen. Nobody from last year's team was really able to deliver in close games including Dumes, Roth, Jones, and Pritchard. Rivers is not enough of an offensive scoring threat to be the go-to guy. So, hopefully one of these incoming freshmen will have ice-water in their veins, want the ball at the end of the game, and be able to deliver the big bucket. I would see Creek or Watford as the most likely candidates. Or maybe Verdell could step up and deliver. Or maybe simply by having an all-around better team would lead to better looks for guys like Dumes and Roth that they would have a better chance of knocking down at the end of the game. Regardless, I do think how we perform in close games could mean the difference between a record of 11-20 and 20-11.

Besides how we perform in the clutch, I think two other keys for next year's team is how much does Jeremiah Rivers have to offer and how good can we be on the defensive end of the floor. And these two things are tied together. It's pretty common to look at the offense of incoming freshmen, but many of them tend to suck at the defensive end. Enter Jeremiah Rivers. I think Rivers is going to set the tone defensively and will be able to take opposing teams out of their offense. This is going to be a huge upgrade for the Hoosiers. In addition, I think the increase in overall talent level will give Crean many more options if guys are not defending the way they should. Last year, if Crean wanted to bench someone for playing poor defense, he was going to be forced to bring in a walk-on baseball player or a kid from Lafayette of all places. This coming year, there will be competition and Crean will be able to use playing time as the ultimate motivator.

Tom Earth said...

I personally prefer Jeff's site. I seem to be mentioned in it more. Kind of curious why Norman Dale was not on your list of coaching influences. I figured you would have used the line "My team is on the court" once or twice in your coaching days.

I am looking forward to next season for several reasons. One of the biggest is that I may actually be able to resell my IU tickets next year. For the first time ever I actually lost track when IU was playing during the week. There were times when I would look at the paper the next day and realized that they had lost.

TheCoach said...

JD-i remember the early morning practices with Kistler and having to run the belachers if you were late. him keeping track of missed lay-ups before games and making us run for that. he was a tough SOB. the only good coach i ever played for! i actually got to tell him that a few years ago. i love the urban dictionary def. of "boiler up!" i am very excited for the turn around of IU b-ball! sorry for the norman dale slight tom. i actually have a pic of you on my Cubs site. isn't that enough!?

jdhoosier said...

The Cubs have been boilering up for over 100 years.

TheCoach said...

uh, excuse me JD-no Cub bashing on this site-even if it is at purdue's expense.

jdhoosier said...

Trust me, I would have never mentioned the Chubs on this site, but once you brought them up, I figured it was fair game. And really, they are the most pathetic franchise in all of sports.

Tom Earth said...

Jeff...I say put that post on a sign and bring it to the Bleachers on Saturday. I think it will go over really well. Don't worry. I'll sit next to you with a shirtthat has an arrow point at you that says "This Guy Barks at the Moon Naked."

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