Ratliff’s return will provide defensive boost

  • 12/11/2007 1:22 pm in

A.J. RatliffAbout a month ago, I penned a post wondering where A.J. Ratliff would fit in the Indiana rotation. Since that time, we’ve watched the guards on this team struggle with their perimeter defense. At times I would characterize our perimeter defense as terrible (see the first half of the Chattanooga game). At best, judging it as an entire body of work, it’s been average.

Enter A.J. Ratliff. While he’s primarily a streaky shooter on the offensive side of the ball, he’s probably the best perimeter defender that Indiana has on its roster. And he’ll return (assuming his grades come in as expected) this Saturday against Western Carolina.

We’ve already seen enough of offense from this team to know they’ll be able to put up the points to win games. The Hoosiers don’t need Ratliff for his offense. They need his senior leadership and his tenacity on defense. Two seasons ago, he held Adam Morrison to 5 of 17 shooting in IU’s second round NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga. Ratliff’s addition will allow Eric Gordon to share the defensive duties on the opposition’s best player.

While Kelvin Sampson doesn’t expect Ratliff to start, he has said that Ratliff has been playing extremely well in practice and should fit right into the rotation.

So, what are your thoughts on Ratliff’s return? How much playing time will he get? Do you agree that he’s Indiana’s best perimeter defender? Is he the missing piece that can mold Indiana into a championship caliber team?

Filed to:

  • MKH

    Hopefully so. I certainly agree perimeter defense has been a flaw. AJ can help there. If he can score a bit, too, so much the better. It’s nice to have more talent to add to the equation, and I think AJ has proven he can put in some quality minutes.

  • MKH

    Hopefully so. I certainly agree perimeter defense has been a flaw. AJ can help there. If he can score a bit, too, so much the better. It’s nice to have more talent to add to the equation, and I think AJ has proven he can put in some quality minutes.

  • MKH

    Hopefully so. I certainly agree perimeter defense has been a flaw. AJ can help there. If he can score a bit, too, so much the better. It’s nice to have more talent to add to the equation, and I think AJ has proven he can put in some quality minutes.

  • Cutter in Chicago

    A few things:
    1) Was at the IU v. UK game. I was worried that without Gordon and Bassett, we’d have issues. I was obviously unaware of just how bad UK is. I’m going to say that, to date, they were the worst team we’ve played. Amazingly bad.
    2) Jordan Crawford is going to be good but he’s still careless with his dribble and ball handling. I’d like to see him get more focused on that aspect of his game, it will allow him to drive to the hoop much more effectively.
    3) The return of AJ Ratliff is going to be a good thing for us, for the defense and his outside shot. He allows someone who can also give minutes for Gordon and/or Ellis where needed.
    4) Ellis continues to impress me, he’s got a nose for rebounds and that southpaw shot is tough for a lot of guards to defend against. He made some suspect drives against UK though. He also needs to avoid fouls
    5) DeAndre looked pretty good against UK but then again, UK was awful
    6) Thank God Mike White is no longer red shirted.

  • Cutter in Chicago

    A few things:
    1) Was at the IU v. UK game. I was worried that without Gordon and Bassett, we’d have issues. I was obviously unaware of just how bad UK is. I’m going to say that, to date, they were the worst team we’ve played. Amazingly bad.
    2) Jordan Crawford is going to be good but he’s still careless with his dribble and ball handling. I’d like to see him get more focused on that aspect of his game, it will allow him to drive to the hoop much more effectively.
    3) The return of AJ Ratliff is going to be a good thing for us, for the defense and his outside shot. He allows someone who can also give minutes for Gordon and/or Ellis where needed.
    4) Ellis continues to impress me, he’s got a nose for rebounds and that southpaw shot is tough for a lot of guards to defend against. He made some suspect drives against UK though. He also needs to avoid fouls
    5) DeAndre looked pretty good against UK but then again, UK was awful
    6) Thank God Mike White is no longer red shirted.

  • b-side

    AJ should be playing about 18-22 minutes a game. While he may not be the ball hawker that EJ is, his court awareness will be vital. EJ’s greatest weakness on defense is when his man doesn’t have the ball. He gots lost following the ball instead of maintaining the proper balance. Of course, I have no doubt this will be corrected by Sampson in mid-January. Either way, we need more veterans and AJ provides that heading into the Big Ten season.

    With 5 extremely capable wing players (Basset, EJ, Ellis, AJ and Crawford) and no true point guard, we should be able to come at teams in waves of speed and athleticism. I hope to see a fair amount of full-court pressure on made baskets and pushing the ball in transition off an opponent’s missed basket. Now that DJ understands the importance of owning the glass, this team has all the weapons. Well, except a true point guard I guess — where is Michael Lewis when you need him?

  • b-side

    AJ should be playing about 18-22 minutes a game. While he may not be the ball hawker that EJ is, his court awareness will be vital. EJ’s greatest weakness on defense is when his man doesn’t have the ball. He gots lost following the ball instead of maintaining the proper balance. Of course, I have no doubt this will be corrected by Sampson in mid-January. Either way, we need more veterans and AJ provides that heading into the Big Ten season.

    With 5 extremely capable wing players (Basset, EJ, Ellis, AJ and Crawford) and no true point guard, we should be able to come at teams in waves of speed and athleticism. I hope to see a fair amount of full-court pressure on made baskets and pushing the ball in transition off an opponent’s missed basket. Now that DJ understands the importance of owning the glass, this team has all the weapons. Well, except a true point guard I guess — where is Michael Lewis when you need him?

  • Steve O

    The only thing that worries me other than some suspect defending at times is the the presence of an assist making, pass oriented point guard. As B-Side said, we have 5 really good wing players, none of which is a true PG. If teams decide to come at us full court, I have a feeling we could get into alot of trouble. Crawford made some really bad decisions against Kentucky while bringing the ball up the court and a couple times it resulted in turnovers. Against a good team with good full court pressure, this could be a nightmare for us. Hopefully someone can emerge as a go to ball handler soon just in case someone decides to pressure us full court.

  • Steve O

    The only thing that worries me other than some suspect defending at times is the the presence of an assist making, pass oriented point guard. As B-Side said, we have 5 really good wing players, none of which is a true PG. If teams decide to come at us full court, I have a feeling we could get into alot of trouble. Crawford made some really bad decisions against Kentucky while bringing the ball up the court and a couple times it resulted in turnovers. Against a good team with good full court pressure, this could be a nightmare for us. Hopefully someone can emerge as a go to ball handler soon just in case someone decides to pressure us full court.

  • Steve O

    The only thing that worries me other than some suspect defending at times is the the presence of an assist making, pass oriented point guard. As B-Side said, we have 5 really good wing players, none of which is a true PG. If teams decide to come at us full court, I have a feeling we could get into alot of trouble. Crawford made some really bad decisions against Kentucky while bringing the ball up the court and a couple times it resulted in turnovers. Against a good team with good full court pressure, this could be a nightmare for us. Hopefully someone can emerge as a go to ball handler soon just in case someone decides to pressure us full court.

  • Steve O

    The only thing that worries me other than some suspect defending at times is the the presence of an assist making, pass oriented point guard. As B-Side said, we have 5 really good wing players, none of which is a true PG. If teams decide to come at us full court, I have a feeling we could get into alot of trouble. Crawford made some really bad decisions against Kentucky while bringing the ball up the court and a couple times it resulted in turnovers. Against a good team with good full court pressure, this could be a nightmare for us. Hopefully someone can emerge as a go to ball handler soon just in case someone decides to pressure us full court.

  • MTM

    I would agree with B-side that waves of speed and athleticism should be possible and obviously fun to watch. I hope that AJ will be confident enough to attack the rim at will. He can obviously jump out of the building and should be able to draw defenders and dish to open shooters/dunkers. When opposing defenders don’t collapse on him, he should be able to finish one-on-one against (almost) anyone in the country.

  • MTM

    I would agree with B-side that waves of speed and athleticism should be possible and obviously fun to watch. I hope that AJ will be confident enough to attack the rim at will. He can obviously jump out of the building and should be able to draw defenders and dish to open shooters/dunkers. When opposing defenders don’t collapse on him, he should be able to finish one-on-one against (almost) anyone in the country.

  • MTM

    I would agree with B-side that waves of speed and athleticism should be possible and obviously fun to watch. I hope that AJ will be confident enough to attack the rim at will. He can obviously jump out of the building and should be able to draw defenders and dish to open shooters/dunkers. When opposing defenders don’t collapse on him, he should be able to finish one-on-one against (almost) anyone in the country.

  • PMK

    I yearn for a new podcast.

  • PMK

    I yearn for a new podcast.

  • Mike M

    I foresee Ratlif winning a Big Ten road game for us. He will take over in the second half when none of our young kids can buy a basket. He will also shut down there best scorer. Touch blue make it true.

  • Mike M

    I foresee Ratlif winning a Big Ten road game for us. He will take over in the second half when none of our young kids can buy a basket. He will also shut down there best scorer. Touch blue make it true.

  • Mike M

    I foresee Ratlif winning a Big Ten road game for us. He will take over in the second half when none of our young kids can buy a basket. He will also shut down there best scorer. Touch blue make it true.

  • Steve O

    MTM, what makes you think AJ will attack any basket? Whether it be at the grocery store, during a picnic, or especially during and IU basketball game? I mean I’ve seen him throw it down before, but in a game situation he usually stands outside and takes jumpshots. I hope you’re right though. And either way he plays good d.

  • Steve O

    MTM, what makes you think AJ will attack any basket? Whether it be at the grocery store, during a picnic, or especially during and IU basketball game? I mean I’ve seen him throw it down before, but in a game situation he usually stands outside and takes jumpshots. I hope you’re right though. And either way he plays good d.

  • Steve O

    MTM, what makes you think AJ will attack any basket? Whether it be at the grocery store, during a picnic, or especially during and IU basketball game? I mean I’ve seen him throw it down before, but in a game situation he usually stands outside and takes jumpshots. I hope you’re right though. And either way he plays good d.

  • Nathaniel

    THE RAT TRAP IS BACK

  • Nathaniel

    THE RAT TRAP IS BACK

  • AJ is the best three pt shooter the hoosiers have. Let it be known he is more consist with the 3 than EJ.

  • AJ is the best three pt shooter the hoosiers have. Let it be known he is more consist with the 3 than EJ.

  • AJ is the best three pt shooter the hoosiers have. Let it be known he is more consist with the 3 than EJ.