The Four Spot: Who ya got?

  • 01/30/2008 8:12 am in

mike_white.jpg(Yes, we are aware of the Eric Gordon wrist injury rumors floating around various message boards. We’ll keep you updated if anything official comes to the surface. Now, onward…)

Ahh, the four spot. No doubt about it, the lack of production from this particular position has been a killer for the Hoosiers in their two losses. Here are the numbers and there’s no way around it, they’re ugly:

Xavier: Lance Stemler and DeAndre Thomas combined for 31 minutes, four points, seven rebounds, one block and eight fouls.

Connecticut: Lance Stemler, DeAndre Thomas and Mike White combined for 34 minutes, five points, four rebounds, no blocks and two fouls.

Now, before I dig into this deeper, first let me say that I’m not expecting one of these three fine gentlemen to morph into Luke Harangody. That would be too good to be true (and really awesome).

What I would like to see is some form of consistent contribution from this position. Guys, you don’t even have to score. That’s already covered. Play good defense, take a few charges, rebound on occasion and I’m ecstatic. That said, it’s just not happening right now. So let’s examine the three choices and then get your take (OK, I might give mine too) on who the best option is to get the bulk of the minutes.

Lance Stemler: Of the three choices, Stemler is currently getting the most minutes at just over 22 per contest. His hustle is looked upon favorably by yours truly and a lot of you, but when we go right to the root of things, diving on the floor constantly doesn’t really do much good if you don’t come up with the ball. That point aside, Stemler is the best scorer of the three and he’s only committed six turnovers. The problem with Stemler is that he’s often caught out of position on defense because of his lack of athleticism.

Mike White: He’s listed at 6-6 and he’s really about 6-4. Coach Sampson pulled the redshirt off of White because “the team needed him.” Despite his lack of size, he’s the best rebounder of the three. However, his lack of ability on offense is a huge problem because it allows teams to leave him wide open and double-team D.J.

DeAndre Thomas: If Billy Packer’s analysis of Big Dre were a true indication of the player he is, we’d have a Charles Barkley on our hands. The reality is Thomas has shown flashes of offensive brilliance against lesser opponents and has failed to show up against big time opponents (see Xavier and Connecticut). The potential for a breakout game is there, but make no mistake about it, DeAndre needs work on his defense and rebounding.

Of the three, I would take Stemler for a couple of reasons. First, he takes care of the ball. Second, you can’t teach hustle. As ridiculous as some of his floor diving antics are, there’s no question he plays hard. Third, he can step out and hit the three which can take some of the defensive vultures away from D.J.

So I’ve said my piece, now it’s time for your thoughts. Who ya got at the four spot and why?

Filed to:

  • Puck Furdue

    Have you heard of the rumor about Gordon having a broken wrist? The rumors are flying all over the message boards.

  • Disco Briscoe

    The 4 that plays is going to be game to game (maybe minute to minute), match up based. You can't pick one of those three because as you said they have different pos/neg attributes. Might as well throw Ellis/Ratliff in that mix too.

    What is this about Gordon's wrist?

  • Puck Furdue

    it's a big rumor as of right now. it looks to be false but i'm still worried.

  • I'm sticking my support behind Stemler. However, I'd like him to play in the exact same spot that the other two do. I realize he has an outside scorer's mentality, but Big A, you're exactly right (and wrong at the same time): we don't need this position to score.

    Stick him under the basket, and let him do the Mikan Drill. We need 8 points from this position, all layups. The opportunities are there. Now can someone hit a layup?

    PS, Big A, thanks for channelling Don Fischer about Stemler: Averaging 22 minutes per contest. His use of “per contest” and mis-accenting “Assembly Hall” make him music to my ears.

  • xxZPxx

    I actually liked Mike Whites physical play at the beginning of the UCONN game but then he started taking shots. I think the 4 man needs to understand his role more than anything. When Mike White is in to guard bigger, physical players he needs to do just that. He comes up with big boards on occasion and his strength on defense can sometimes overcome the fact that he is not a great basketball player. On the offensive end he needs to only set screens and go for offensive rebounds. We should never throw him the ball in the post, ever. Lance should get the bulk of the minutes unless the other teams 4 man is huge. He is a smart enough player to understand what he can and cant do and the last few games he has been the least 4 man to make me agitated. Deandre Thomas, wow, I can not believe that he attempted a turn around jumper in that UCONN game and was not immediately taken out of the game. I just dont think he can play against most teams. He seems to hurt us more than help us and I think that brings me back to what Big A is saying. We dont need a whole lot from this position. The only time any of these players should attempt to score is when they have a wide open lay up or Lance has a wide open trey. And I mean wide open. Mike White going up for a contested shot is almost comical. So if these three can understand their purpose on this team and not do things they cant do than I think we can survive. However, the 4 position is without a doubt the main reason why we arent a top 5 team. Even though he was a relatively small 3-4, I miss Vaden more than ever this year.

  • Mr_C

    I think the four man in our case should play with the great Ron Artest philosophy of “no layups”. They need to come in and not look to foul, but make it hurt when they do — especially against a guy like Thabeet who can't shoot charity shots. Also with the sheer size of MW and De, they should be setting more screens and jamming the lane. When it comes to the offense Lance is obviously the best bet. I like the physical play of MW, but he can't finish.

    I heard that there is no break, just a hairline fracture.

  • plane1972

    There are 12 fouls to give between those three guys. It would have been nice to see some big bodies (that were not wearing the home whites) moved around in the paint during the UConn game. I don't want opponents to get injured playing us, but I want them to have some scrapes and bruises from being under the bucket. Certainly Kong and Dre can make their presence felt more around the basket. Let's just get tougher down low. That is the missing “identity” that Kelvin was constantly talking about last year. It's not there right now.

  • plane1972

    Mr_C,
    Great minds think alike.
    Good post!
    plane1972

  • kelin

    My vote is still for DT…that is why we brought him here. I do not believe for one second this is the first time this kid has played against someone taller than he is. It is a matter of having a place in our offense and working “with” DJ. That simple…

    These EJ rumors I have just hear about but it is simple to smash…has anyone seen him on campus with a freakin' caste on his arm? Someone speak up….

    Screening 2008

  • Chris Engel from the basketblog just posted that he heard from J.D. Campbell, the media relations contact for IU hoops, and Campbell hasn't heard anything about Gordon being injured.

  • Quincy

    The Indy Star is reporting that EJ fell in practice and caught him self with his non-shooting hand. Is is reportely ok to play against Wisconsin. He may wear a pad on it.
    Now Lets Go take Bucky Badger Down!!!!

  • Steve

    my vote is none of the above. play McGee

  • ChicagoHoosier

    Just to add a little more:

    The IndyStar report that “A wrist injury will not keep Indiana University star guard Eric Gordon off the court for Thursday's game against Wisconsin, his father said this morning. Gordon came down hard when going for a rebound in practice Tuesday and put his left (non-shooting) hand out to protect himself.
    “He did injure his wrist, but there's no swelling,” Eric Gordon Sr. said. “He's going to be able to play. What they'll probably do is put some protective padding on it, and he'll play.” Gordon is the leading scorer in the Big Ten at 21.7 points per game.
    IU (17-2, 6-0 Big Ten) leads the conference while Wisconsin (16-3, 6-1) is tied with Purdue and Michigan state for second. Gordon likely will have to play with protective padding for several weeks, his father said.”

  • T

    I still like Mike White getting the bulk of the minutes.

    That position isn't supposed to score. That's what Gordon, White, Ellis and Basset are for.

    Mike White is the toughest and the best defender out of the three. If our offense is struggling to score, that's when Stemler or Big D can come in and help.

    Right now i'd say the order of minutes should go White, Stemler, Big D

  • We can't play 4 on 5 on offense, no matter how good the 4 we have are.

  • Tom

    white>thomas>stemler
    i agree that we these guys should just concentrate on being gritty inside, we have others to do the scoring.

    you know who i miss? jeff newton. i know it's random, but if we had someone like him this team would be so much better.

  • Alan

    Though I do not think Stemler has the toughness and strength needed to play down low he has to be my first choice because he can hit an open lay up, knock down the wide open trey on occasion and does hustle more then Dre. Second choice would have to be M. White, he can push people around wih his strength and has been a decent rebounder at times, no shot though even on bunnies. Dre really bothers me, missing two uncontested lay ups is unacceptable for a man of his size. I do not like his rebounding at all, does he ever get one, and can he even jump haven't seen much air between his feet and the floor all year. His size doesn't help much when he won't hustle, rebound or hit shots when asked to.

  • kylehornsblyrules

    I think we need to go with the 4 guard line up with dj alone. Make the other team adjust to us. crawford, gordon, bassett and ratliff. Those for need atleast 28 minutes a game

  • deedubbadoo

    It should go White>Stemler>Thomas. Mike White maybe undersized but his strength is his redeeming quality. Unlike Stemler when he gets a rebound he can actually hold on to the ball and not let someone rip it right out of his hands. Look I will be honest when Stemler was brought in, he was supposed to be lights out from 3 point range. That is great but means nothing if he is scared to shoot the ball, no one else has a problem chucking threes up, why does he seem hesitant? Aside from Gordon and Basset is shooting the 3 ball better than both Crawford and Ellis. Mike White for boards and defense, Stemler for hustle and offense. DeAndre if both of them need a break at the same time. I still would like to see more of Brandon McGee though.

  • deedubbadoo

    It should go White>Stemler>Thomas. Mike White maybe undersized but his strength is his redeeming quality. Unlike Stemler when he gets a rebound he can actually hold on to the ball and not let someone rip it right out of his hands. Look I will be honest when Stemler was brought in, he was supposed to be lights out from 3 point range. That is great but means nothing if he is scared to shoot the ball, no one else has a problem chucking threes up, why does he seem hesitant? Aside from Gordon and Basset he is shooting the 3 ball better than both Crawford and Ellis. Mike White for boards and defense, Stemler for hustle and offense. DeAndre if both of them need a break at the same time. I still would like to see more of Brandon McGee though.

  • peaychris

    What about just going small and running all over the place? i think it would be a good thing to put crawford (TUO) in the starting 5. you always have the flexability to use stemler or De if you need to. I like the fact that we could have potentially 3 people that can drive the lane at any time. It seems to me they arent getting and quailty shots. Since i spent the last 3 years in miami i got to watch D Wade play and i think EJ could style his play a little more like him. EJ is so strong i would love to see him drive it and kick out to crawford. i also think that this would take pressure off EJ to have other scorers on the floor.

  • Jerry

    I think if the question is offense then my first option is for Ellis to score more so this position is not as critical…………lets run some offense for him instead of forcing him into garbage.

    My next option is McGee due to his offensive mindset . Dre needs to play more so we can better see what he can do before he is an option fo rme. Stemler does not appear able to adjust his game to be more offensive minded. WHite is an offensivve zero

  • Jerry

    Crawford showedon Saturday he can guard an athletic 6'9″ guy so he could in fact play in a 4 guard set but not play man to man D. UCONN absolutely killed us when we tried this man to man. Why did't Samson watch the Providence game film and zone these guys.

  • PB

    Man, that lack of production is shocking…Does George Leach have any eligibility left?

  • Chuck

    The biggest thing Deandre Thomas needs to work on is his ATTITUDE! Right now it is not a good one. He gets that taken care of and I think he has the skills to be a nice contributor.

  • DS

    Bambale Osby!

  • I hear Ivan Renko is available…

  • T

    I guess the best thing about Big D is he's the best passer of the three.

    That and he is most in sync with Ellis because they've played together for so long.

  • plane1972

    Not questioning here, Chuck. Just curious what you've been seeing. I hadn't picked up on that.

  • I hear Ivan Renko is available…

  • T

    I guess the best thing about Big D is he's the best passer of the three.

    That and he is most in sync with Ellis because they've played together for so long.

  • plane1972

    Not questioning here, Chuck. Just curious what you've been seeing. I hadn't picked up on that.