That’s A Wrap: Tom Pritchard

  • 03/25/2010 7:00 am in

Indiana v Wake ForestWelcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on.

Final Stats (31 games): 4.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 60.9 % FG, 37.3% FT, 1.1 tpg.

When Tom Pritchard decided on September 17, 2007 that he would join the Indiana basketball program, he likely did so with the understanding that his playing time would be sparse early on.

The Hoosiers, after all, would be returning DeAndre Thomas, Eli Holman and adding Devin Ebanks to the front court.

The expectation, from the point of view of Kelvin Sampson and his staff, was that Pritchard would add depth as a freshman and perhaps challenge for a regular spot in the rotation down the line.

But sometimes, as is the case in all walks of life, things just don’t go as originally planned.

As a freshman, the 6-9 Pritchard was a pleasant surprise in a season of rebuilding. Thrust into a starting role more out of necessity than merit, the Ohio native put up respectable numbers in his rookie campaign: 9.7 ppg and 6.4 rpg in 29 minutes per contest.

With some hard work and improvement, Pritchard was likely on his way to a double figure scoring average and would be a solid contributor up front in Tom Crean’s second season, right?

Not so fast.

Statistically, the lefty regressed in every category as a sophomore, with the exception of field goal percentage.

His minutes decreased at a clip of nearly 10 per game, partly due to performance and partly due to his propensity to pick up unnecessary fouls early and often. His free throw percentage dipped to 37 percent. And he finished fifth in total rebounds after leading the team a season ago.

Over the season’s final four games, Pritchard averaged just 1.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11 minutes per game. He needed just 15 minutes to foul out in IU’s 74-55 loss at Purdue.

Pritchard’s struggles were a surprising development given how well he played as a freshman. Teammates were asked about his performance often throughout the season and the consistent response was that Pritchard’s performances in practice were outstanding.

But sans a bright spot or two (13 and 5 at home against Purdue), the Tom Pritchard of 2008-2009 was missing in action in 2009-2010.

The Bottom Line: The days of Pritchard being penciled into Indiana’s starting lineup are likely over. The improvement of Bobby Capobianco coupled with the continued pursuit of Moses Abraham, Will Yeguete and any other capable big man that will listen means that Pritchard will have to earn every second of playing time, which is exactly how it should be throughout the program. The potential for a bounce back season and emergence as a solid back-up is certainly there, but whether that happens is anybody’s guess.

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  • BigD

    Tom was faster, more agile, and jumped higher before he put all that weight on. I don’t know how much he put on the last year but he needs to take about half of it off.

  • HoosierChan77

    Im thinking TP would beome much more nimble if he was to drop 15-20lbs. Maybe that improves his foot speed, adds a few inches to his vertical and WHAH-LAH……2nd or 3rd off the bench and contributeing 7pts 4rebs a game….that is a reasonable expectation aswell as the ceiling of his talent level IMO. Good Luck where ever you may suit up next year TP!

  • Korey

    The Bottom Line on this article should read: Tom Pritchard just isn’t good.

    I’m puzzled as to how many of you say you were “pleasantly suprised” with this guy. He posted double-doubles early in the season his Freshman year against awful competition, then we got to see the real Tom Pritchard when we finally started playing against decent teams. He posseses none of the skills necessary for a PF or a C. He is unathletic, extremely foul prone and cannot shoot the ball outside of 2 feet. He may be a good “practice player” and that’s fine, but he has no business playing in Big Ten games. He is a Mid-Major talent at best. Myself, and many others that I’m speaking for would like to see his playing time next season dwindle down even more.

  • Indiana_Knight

    Pritchard's step back was so inexplicable to me… he really did have a very underwhelming sophomore season marked by poor effort, lazy defense (which lead to late rotations and fouls), and a lack of tenacity on the boards.

    After his play last year, which wasn't great but was at least marked by consistent effort, I really have a hard time wrapping my head around what could've gone so wrong. His game against Purdue really showcased what he was capable of when he set his mind to moving without the ball on offense. Pritchard could be a very good backup C or PF for us next year. He needs to rebound with aggressiveness because that'll help him get some easy scoring opportunities right by the bucket. I bet that if his rebounding improves his other stats will follow suit. Except maybe FG%… surprised to see he finished so high in that category because he seemed to get blocked with some frequency…

  • runelord

    With Pritchard receiving the Shaq affect, basically anytime he sneezed on the court he would get a foul called on him, it isn't any wonder that he didn't have any confidence nor agressiveness on the boards. The porous defense of his guards certainly didn't help much but alas he is 250lbs, not extremely coordinated, and those big feet just don't move as fast as they should. Since his elevation is limited, to say the least, it would help him immensely if he were able to develop some type of hook shot during the off season as this would be harder to block, especially as a lefty. The poor performance at the line is nothing more than practice and confidence. I love the monster picks that he provides and he actually hedges pretty well on screens, just needs to quit fouling with the undercutting as his opponent goes up for the shot.

  • spiderman0551

    Agreed on the Shaq effect comment. Once Creek went down for good, as well as Roth, we had very little outside game so the defense could just sit down inside and make his life hell. The guy couldn't run accross the lane to make a cut or pick without knocking someone over and getting called for a foul. I'm sure the coachs were yelling at him to stay out of foul trouble, then he got passive out there.. I think with the team seemingly getting better next year just because they are a year older, that Pitchard will too. I think he does need to play like he's a strong 250 lbs power forward and go to and work around the basket, he did well when he made good cuts and got the ball down low enough. I like TP and think by the time he's done, will be remembered as a kid who played hard, no matter what the stat sheet said. Also, would like to see Pitchard play with Elston at the same time, I think they would compliment each other well.

  • Diesel

    For sure a disappointing season, particularly the 3.5 rpg. Inexcusable. The other thing with TP is he has NO POST MOVES. He is not a threat on the block to score, so no double team forcing no rotation. TP is basically ineffective unless you are looking for someone to hedge and set screens. If IU is to move forward as a program, TP's playing time MUST decrease due to an influx in talent and capable players.

  • Wish

    I never understood why he didn't develop an 8-10 ft. jumper last offseason. It's always there for him to take and it's a known that he's not scoring on the block. I think he's a transfer possibility but if he stays I hope he works on that jumper a lot this offseason.

    I wish I could put into words what I think about his rebounding but it just comes out as….blech.

    8 pts and 6 rebounds is what this guy should be averaging next season if he wants to be a key contributor.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    I love Tom Pritchard. Not because of his performance, but because he came in to a difficult situation, remained committed to IU despite the coach who recruited him leaving, and…well that's about it. He has the frame, just no hops. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he transferred.

  • MillaRed

    The picture above speaks a thousand words. Another 220 pound forward flopping on TP like he got hit by a Mack truck. While watching IU this season, I really didn't see anyone else in the Big Ten officiated like TP. The kid could barely move. I never understood it. And every official did it with regularity. Meanwhile Juann Johnson draws 10 fouls a game if you get within two feet of the guy.

    I'm not making excuses for TP. He has a lot to work on. But the kid must feel like a bull in a china/crystal shop out there. It totally takes away from his game.

    I agree on the 15 pounds of weight loss and the work on that 8 footer. It really should open up his game. Good luck TP.

    I'm at a point where I think a flop should be called a defensive foul. The Wisconsin big men spend more time on the floor than they do on their feet. The rest of the league is catching on and I think it's bad for basketball.

  • JerryCT

    I would like to keep our fun battle on “Wraps” going but here I agree with you. ( BTW how badly did the Wisky fans beat you up this year ).

    Pritchard is a mystery to me but if you want some fun replay games and just watch him. He tells you all you need to know on offense an defense.

    1. Sets a monster high ball screen , no one on the team is even close to doing this well. This tends to tell you what offense we are in and what defense they are in
    2. But our offense does not have him setting low screens say for Watford or Elston. This tells you that we are relying on dribble drive or shot making fom guards.
    3. Rolls to the basket with never a look from the ball handler. Our PG's are not skilled at the pick & roll game
    4. Monster hedges on D and takes the guy to the sideline if he has to. Usually tells you which guards cannot go over the top of screens,
    5. Best help defender. This tells who just got blown by
    6. Alters shots underneath with his body. Shows how hard he is trying to limit his fouls
    7. Always bodies his man when rebounding enabling the guards to rebound ( ie JR, Jones ). Explains CTC's statements on guard rebounding

    His inability to score however seriously depressed me

  • MillaRed

    It is high time for UW fans Jerry. I have a UW wife, like 100 UW in-laws, and little ole me and one buddy from Bloomington (who is a UW grad, so he's a hybrid). I went to the game at the Kohl Center with my IU hat on and instead of feeling like the enemy, I felt like a poodle puppy at a Great Dane party.

    I think another problem with TP is his brick-like hands. The guards don't have faith in dumping anything remotely complicated down low because he fumbles with regularity. It is what it is. He has a chance to contribute next year if he works hard. I didn't get the impression he did so over last season. Would like to see him down below 240 pounds. Like I said, I wish him luck. We need him.

  • JerryCT

    amen !

  • IUDan

    If memory serves (which it doesn't much these days), I seem to remember Crean making some comments about being disappointed in TP's lack of work in the summer (also indicating he came into the season out of shape). My guess is that contributed to his lack of production as well as all the reasons others have highlighted.

    I like Pritch – he seems like a good kid who seems to have some good fundamentals – would love to see him get back to being that player he was early on and have success.

  • marchus

    My sources are telling me that MA's visit went great. Those inside the program believe we are now the front runner…… I have even heard he could sign with us in the next 24hrs

  • Bryan

    I remember Pritchard not really scoring much in 2008-2009 after the Big Ten schedule got underway. His 9.7 ppg average was more like mid-teens in November and December, and low single-digits during conference play. It was understandable at the time, he was one of our few options, and teams just cut him off, and he had real go-to move or counter to change that.

    This year, yeah minutes cut into his productivity, but for his numbers to decrease by half, when his playing time only went down by a third is a bit jarring. Statistically, he shot much better, but I'm not sure many of those were further than a few feet away from the basket. On the plus side, I don't remember feeling quite as agonized by his missing gimmies like during his freshman season, possibly evidenced by the fact that he converted at a much better clip.

    Simply put, the team has other options now, and if Pritchard can't give them something down low, well, there's other places to move the around to. Personally, I wish someone could figure out whatever happened to Kirk Haston, bring him in, and teach Pritchard a hook shot, cause I'm not sure if there's a better way for Tom to negate some the disadvantages he faces when being checked by a good number of the power forwards or centers in the Big Ten.

  • HiggiStardust

    I think the injuries to Creek and Roth had a big effect on this guy psychologically after coming off a miserable 6 win season. Prichard can still have a nice career at IU if he chooses, but he will have to work hard for his minutes and play with intensity and purpose. Furthermore, if Moses Abraham joins IU next season, Prichard may decide to transfer to a team where he is assured more minutes. I'd personally like to see Prichard stick it out and fight, and become a valuable contributor on an NCAA Tourney team next year at IU.

  • Agree on the jumper. Taking energy and effort out of the equation, the big difference right now between Capo and Pritch is that Capo can knock down the perimeter jumper, even out to the three-point line. That's so huge, and even more important when you have guys like Creek and Roth back.

    Indiana will be a much better offensive team when you have a lineup like Hulls, Creek, Watford, Elston and Capo. Not saying that's a starting lineup, but when that lineup is given minutes, every player on the floor can shoot from anywhere. That's a big advantage to have.

    Remember this season when IU would have Pritch and Rivers in together, that basically 3-on-5 on offense. Pritch needs to develop at least an elbow and baseline jumper to be real effective at this level.

  • He can't sign until the spring signing period, which begins on April 14.

  • BaseballBuc

    I don't know what any of you have been looking at but Pritchard was our MVP this year, in my opinion. Ok all joking aside, but you would think that with the year that he had last year, he should be vastly improved. I honestly don't know what the problem was. It's not hard to dominate in practice against this IU team and our low quality big men. Some was foul trouble, some was just stupid decisions, most was lack of development. I'm not sure about Big Tom's work ethic. You should try to add at least one dimension to your game every year and it looks like he subtracted dimensions from his game. I hope this is a sophomore slump, because he seems like hes a tough kid and he has the right attitude. Just needs someone to instill the confidence in himself as he once had it.

  • marcusgresham

    According to the rulebook, a flop is a technical foul. I've never seen it called (and for this Vlade Divac was able to have a long, fruitful NBA career,) but it is the rule.

  • HoosNation

    I couldn't have said it better myself. TP is in huge trouble when it comes to playing time next year if he decides to remain at IU. He had a good start to his career in the wake of “Hurricane Sampson”. However he has been exposed!