Where will Ratliff fit in Hoosier rotation?

  • 11/08/2007 5:00 am in

th_23656_commentary_122_1025lo.jpgOne of the more disappointing pieces of news this offseason was the announcement that A.J. Ratliff would be academically ineligible the first semester. I’ve always liked Ratliff’s talent, but he’s never really put it all together for a full season in a Hoosier uniform.

As a sophomore, his signature performance was a 21-point effort during IU’s 79-53 rout of Kentucky in the RCA Dome. Last year, he dropped 20 on No. 2 Wisconsin to lead IU past the Badgers, 71-66. I was optimistic heading into the offseason that this was the year Ratliff would experience a breakthrough.

As we sit here today, I’m not so sure that breakthrough can become a reality for Ratliff. If he regains eligibility for the second semester, he’ll be hard pressed to score significant playing time. Armon Bassett, Jamarcus Ellis, Eric Gordon and Jordan Crawford will be fully entrenched in IU’s rotation and Ratliff will have to prove he deserves to take minutes from one of those guys. The past couple of seasons, losing a player with Ratliff’s talent level would have been a huge blow. But this year, will the team even skip a beat without A.J.?

Color me pessimistic, but I don’t see the potential for a drop in minutes for Bassett, Gordon or Ellis. And if Crawford continues to assert himself at his current pace, he’ll be the first man off the bench. He seems to be more valuable than Ratliff thus far because he can create off the dribble as well hit the outside shot. Ratliff hasn’t shown the consistent ability to hit the midrange shot, take the ball to the basket or create off the dribble.

So, where does Ratliff fit in upon his return? Will he see significant minutes? Or is he an afterthought for this team? If the latter is true, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for someone who didn’t take care of his work in the classroom. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

(You know I couldn’t leave this out. The “Billy Clyde Era”, as Big Blue Nation likes to call it, is off to a great start down in Lexington. And by great start I mean getting blown out at home against Gardner Webb, a team that won nine games a year ago. The Bulldogs were picked to finish 8th in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Props to Grayson Flittner, an Indiana boy from Tri-Central HS who put up 22.)

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  • Newt

    There is not enough bourbon here in KY to help ease the pain of last night’s loss…

  • Newt

    There is not enough bourbon here in KY to help ease the pain of last night’s loss…

  • Newt

    What about redshirting Ratliff? It would help him in the long run….

  • Newt

    What about redshirting Ratliff? It would help him in the long run….

  • McNasty

    What about giving up Stemler’s starting position for Ratliff when he returns? I think Stemler is going to prove a big let down again this year, as the exhibition game already proved it. When Lance misses his first 3 pointer of the night, he automatically becomes afraid of shooting the rock for the rest of the game, and he really isn’t that solid defensively either. I say give up Lance’s spot.

  • McNasty

    What about giving up Stemler’s starting position for Ratliff when he returns? I think Stemler is going to prove a big let down again this year, as the exhibition game already proved it. When Lance misses his first 3 pointer of the night, he automatically becomes afraid of shooting the rock for the rest of the game, and he really isn’t that solid defensively either. I say give up Lance’s spot.

  • Jordan

    He may not fit in as well as maybe in the past or as well as maybe he’d like, but that’s what makes a championship caliber team- when you have so much talent that people really have to compete for playing time.

    When IU needs a fresh set of legs and an outside shooter, they will turn to Crawford and Ratliff, just as they will bring in Deandre when they need a force down low, and I bet by the end of the season, Holman will be one of the first off the bench, if not a starter because it also looks like Stemler may drop out of the rotation- i mean he’s a set shooter who cant shoot anymore

  • Jordan

    He may not fit in as well as maybe in the past or as well as maybe he’d like, but that’s what makes a championship caliber team- when you have so much talent that people really have to compete for playing time.

    When IU needs a fresh set of legs and an outside shooter, they will turn to Crawford and Ratliff, just as they will bring in Deandre when they need a force down low, and I bet by the end of the season, Holman will be one of the first off the bench, if not a starter because it also looks like Stemler may drop out of the rotation- i mean he’s a set shooter who cant shoot anymore

  • kelin

    I am not sure where AJ fits in if Jordan continues to improve as he is currently. I would have said we could use AJ’s Senior leadership but that went down the drain with the academic problems….don’t follow that leadership.

    Defensively he could still be an asset on the perimeter but still off the bench. I think Stemler will be ok. Having a big guy who can guard out on the perimeter and in the post is a good thing to have.

    Another question to me is…..How is KS going to get Brandon McGhee on the court, I love that kid.

    I emailed Big A when MSU lost, and chalked it up as one of those things….then OSU lost and I said wait…there is a problem…NOW KY losses at RUPP. No coincidence, just an indication of what type of season this will be. I am not sold on MSU one bit, and I think it is easier than people think to take Neitzel out of a game.

  • kelin

    I am not sure where AJ fits in if Jordan continues to improve as he is currently. I would have said we could use AJ’s Senior leadership but that went down the drain with the academic problems….don’t follow that leadership.

    Defensively he could still be an asset on the perimeter but still off the bench. I think Stemler will be ok. Having a big guy who can guard out on the perimeter and in the post is a good thing to have.

    Another question to me is…..How is KS going to get Brandon McGhee on the court, I love that kid.

    I emailed Big A when MSU lost, and chalked it up as one of those things….then OSU lost and I said wait…there is a problem…NOW KY losses at RUPP. No coincidence, just an indication of what type of season this will be. I am not sold on MSU one bit, and I think it is easier than people think to take Neitzel out of a game.

  • kelin

    I just read on the Indy star blog they are considering red shirting….”Mike White”

  • Newt

    Stemler plays a role similar to Odle….he’ll get looks late in the year and he’ll convert. We need his leadership and moxie for this young team. Tha’t why he is out there…..

  • kelin

    I just read on the Indy star blog they are considering red shirting….”Mike White”

  • Newt

    Stemler plays a role similar to Odle….he’ll get looks late in the year and he’ll convert. We need his leadership and moxie for this young team. Tha’t why he is out there…..

  • Penguin

    I think that you are going to be looking at a 5 man rotation for spots… All 5 players are able to play the 2 and everyone but Bassett could play the 3… At the point, Bassett, Crawford, or Ellis could play the point, and Gordon in emergency… I think Mcghee is the guy on the outside on this b/c of Ratiff’s experience in the Big Ten… As the frontcourt is looking at 4 players, without Mike White, 9 deep seems to bring good depth to this team

  • Penguin

    I think that you are going to be looking at a 5 man rotation for spots… All 5 players are able to play the 2 and everyone but Bassett could play the 3… At the point, Bassett, Crawford, or Ellis could play the point, and Gordon in emergency… I think Mcghee is the guy on the outside on this b/c of Ratiff’s experience in the Big Ten… As the frontcourt is looking at 4 players, without Mike White, 9 deep seems to bring good depth to this team

  • jaime gongora

    I agreewith Kellen. If Gordan leaves perhaps redshirting him would be the best option. The 08-09 team would be a lot better with Aj. coming off the bench, allowing both bassett and crawford to rest.

  • jaime gongora

    I agreewith Kellen. If Gordan leaves perhaps redshirting him would be the best option. The 08-09 team would be a lot better with Aj. coming off the bench, allowing both bassett and crawford to rest.

  • Alex

    Let’s wait and see on how good Crawford is.
    I was impressed as everyone with his debut, but it was an exhibition game vs. N. Alabama. We
    can’t expect 30 a game out of him all season.
    I think we’ll need AJ this year for depth at guard.

  • Alex

    Let’s wait and see on how good Crawford is.
    I was impressed as everyone with his debut, but it was an exhibition game vs. N. Alabama. We
    can’t expect 30 a game out of him all season.
    I think we’ll need AJ this year for depth at guard.

  • brian

    With the scholarship loss there isn’t room for him to redshirt. Also, his wingspan is too important and he will see minutes because Crawford will be a liabilty on the defensive end this year. Ratliff is the only guard on the roster that can shut down someone, Ellis might be able to as well but hasn’t proven it at this level.

  • brian

    With the scholarship loss there isn’t room for him to redshirt. Also, his wingspan is too important and he will see minutes because Crawford will be a liabilty on the defensive end this year. Ratliff is the only guard on the roster that can shut down someone, Ellis might be able to as well but hasn’t proven it at this level.

  • PB

    He’ll fit right next to Ahlfeld ridin the pine!!

  • PB

    He’ll fit right next to Ahlfeld ridin the pine!!

  • james twitty sr

    AJ RATLIFT CAN AND WILL PLAY BIGTIME AT IU THIS AND NEXT YEAR,WAIT AND SEE.

  • james twitty sr

    AJ RATLIFT CAN AND WILL PLAY BIGTIME AT IU THIS AND NEXT YEAR,WAIT AND SEE.

  • James Twitty Jr

    Dad, AJ Ratliff is a senior in eligibility. I’ve told you that 5 times now.

  • James Twitty Jr

    Dad, AJ Ratliff is a senior in eligibility. I’ve told you that 5 times now.

  • Anonymous

    What is with Finkelmeier coming into a game before Mike White? Is he hurt or is he being benched for some reason. White had some serious playing time last season, dressed for the preseason opener, and sat on the bench all game. Whats the deal?

  • Tim

    What is with Finkelmeier coming into a game before Mike White? Is he hurt or is he being benched for some reason. White had some serious playing time last season, dressed for the preseason opener, and sat on the bench all game. Whats the deal?

  • L. rubes

    This is interesting. I think AJ gives us the better chance to win now other than Crawford or McGee, although both will be great given time. Redshirting AJ is an attractive idea but I dont think he will be up for it. And finally Im not a big Stemler fan and I think AJ will take his place once he is elgible

  • L. rubes

    This is interesting. I think AJ gives us the better chance to win now other than Crawford or McGee, although both will be great given time. Redshirting AJ is an attractive idea but I dont think he will be up for it. And finally Im not a big Stemler fan and I think AJ will take his place once he is elgible

  • I think AJ will have a role when it comes time for B10 conference play. I’ve only seen Crawford in the exhibition game and his offensive play was mesmerizing, but I’m not sure how he will be on the defensive end. When Bassett came out of Hargrave, his defense was horrible at the start of last season.

    I knew I was really going to enjoy this season for IU, but I didn’t expect to be able to enjoy a Kentucky loss before IU even played their first game! I’m lovin’ it!

  • I think AJ will have a role when it comes time for B10 conference play. I’ve only seen Crawford in the exhibition game and his offensive play was mesmerizing, but I’m not sure how he will be on the defensive end. When Bassett came out of Hargrave, his defense was horrible at the start of last season.

    I knew I was really going to enjoy this season for IU, but I didn’t expect to be able to enjoy a Kentucky loss before IU even played their first game! I’m lovin’ it!

  • I have to agree with some of the sentiments here that Ratliff can come in and grab some minutes with his D. He might just be the best perimeter defender we have.

  • I have to agree with some of the sentiments here that Ratliff can come in and grab some minutes with his D. He might just be the best perimeter defender we have.

  • chris

    AJ won’t take Lance’s place.
    Ratliff can’t play the 4.

    AJ might be better on defense than Crawford, I don’t think AJ is better on offense. Crawford has MUCH MUCH better court vision and passing. He looks very natural playing with EJ and the boys in an uptempo game and even in the half-court. When AJ is on the floor he’ll prety much be looking to shoor the 3…not a whole lot else. Sure, from the exibition it looks like Crawford only looks to shoot the 3 also, but he had 1 fast break dunk, 1 half-court dunk and a couple inside slasher moves for layups. He had 12 points, besides his 6 threes.
    I hope AJ provides quality Senior leadership, but I want him to EARN the PT in 07/08.

  • chris

    AJ won’t take Lance’s place.
    Ratliff can’t play the 4.

    AJ might be better on defense than Crawford, I don’t think AJ is better on offense. Crawford has MUCH MUCH better court vision and passing. He looks very natural playing with EJ and the boys in an uptempo game and even in the half-court. When AJ is on the floor he’ll prety much be looking to shoor the 3…not a whole lot else. Sure, from the exibition it looks like Crawford only looks to shoot the 3 also, but he had 1 fast break dunk, 1 half-court dunk and a couple inside slasher moves for layups. He had 12 points, besides his 6 threes.
    I hope AJ provides quality Senior leadership, but I want him to EARN the PT in 07/08.