An early look at the 2011-12 frontcourt

We detailed a few early backcourt storylines on Monday. Today, a look at the frontcourt:

– Cody Zeller’s arrival: Fresh off a summer where some veteran players appear to have taken an important step in maturity and leadership, Zeller’s inclusion should do much to keep the good vibes going in Bloomington. It’s been said before, but the Washington native’s ability to do a lot of fundamentally sound and smart things on both sides of the ball will not only give Indiana a high-level frontcourt talent for the first time in the Tom Crean era, but it’s likely the other four guys on the court with Zeller will reap the benefits of his game, something that should translate into the ultimate goal: more wins.

– What will we see from Tom Pritchard?: After averaging almost 10 points a game as a freshman, Pritchard’s offensive game the last two seasons has suffered. Last season, he used the least amount of possessions– garnering a “nearly invisible” tag from KenPom — of any player getting rotation minutes. Pritchard also made just 34.8 percent of his free throws in 2010-11. The addition of Zeller could allow Pritchard some more confidence in a secondary frontcourt role. Additionally, Derek Elston noted in comments he made to the media earlier this month that “the free-throw thing is not a big issues anymore” for Pritchard. And if Pritchard can show this kind of swagger and fire alongside Zeller consistently this season, his senior year could be one in which he rebounds a bit.

– Can a three-man rotation get it done?: After Zeller and Pritchard, Elston — who may be in for a bit of rebound himself if he’s back to full health this season — could exist as a sound third option in the frontcourt. But with the Hoosiers losing out on Garrett Green, Bobby Capobianco’s transfer and Jeff Howard not seeing much time in 2010-11, depth may be a concern for the Hoosiers. It’s likely Christian Watford will be called upon to play the 4-spot at times next season, though it would probably benefit the team more to keep him out on the wing as much as possible.

– Fouling: It’s no secret Indiana fouled far too often last season, which kept them from having more success on the court. After Capobianco (10.7 fouls per 40 minutes), Pritchard (6.5) and Elston (5.7) ranked as the biggest culprits. If Elston and Pritchard are able to flash more improvement in this area by moving their feet and playing straight up, it’ll make the aforementioned depth issues less of a concern. But should fouling keep these two off the court on a consistent basis, Zeller may have to shoulder more of the load at times.

(Photo credit: Tom Crean on TwitPic)

  • kentuckyHOOSIER

    Yeah , Ive heard that hernia problems can cause it’s victims to suddenly trip people unexpectantly

  • Anonymous

    his ten ppg as a 5th year senior raised his career avg to 5 ppg, he also avg 3 rebounds over his career, as a 7 footer who played significant minutes, that always disappointed me, but you are right, I would be ecstatic if Jeff Howard could play as well as lindeman, being that he is a walk on and only 6″8

  • Data 72

    Here’s hoping TJ and DE have a geat year both offensively and defensively. The addition of Zeller may pay big dividends in more ways than one. Agree with the fouling situation. Love the guards, but thier lack of contolling the backcourt put the bigs in precarious situations far too often.

  • Diesel

    Aye, like it.  I support the “really dumb foul” theory myself. 

    It’s going to happen, guys are going to get beat (hopefully at a lesser rate), but this doesn’t mean that the big has to then foul.  Move your feet, get position, help rotate, etc.  Learn to play without fouling.  Part of the game.

  • Anonymous

    Not unless it’s a zone. Probably a 1-2-2 with Hulls out front with Watford & Jones on the wings to take advantage of their height and long arms.

  • Anonymous

    I hope the wildcard here is Remy Abell. I’m really anxious to see how he changes our team. If he can defend like JR last season and has the ability to drive, dish or shoot, then pairing him and VO with CWat, CZ, and Pritchslap may be a very promising lineup. Go IU!

  • Anonymous

    Unlike.

  • Anonymous

    I hope TP makes you eat your helvetica. He and CWat are in the best spot to achieve their potential with the addition of Zeller. TP takes far too much crap here for a site devoted to supporting our team. Not saying we can’t be critical at times, but i think we need to feed TP’s confidence a little more on here. Yes, i wrote moreon;) Go IU!

  • Anonymous

    Jerry, what do you think of a backcourt of Remy and VO?

  • http://weeklycritiquely.blogspot.com/ IUfanPurduePhD

    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Tijan Jobe is no longer on the team.  Have a good cry, drink a few beers, soldier on.

  • http://weeklycritiquely.blogspot.com/ IUfanPurduePhD

    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Tijan Jobe is no longer on the team.  Have a good cry, drink a few beers, soldier on.

  • MillaRed

    Oh Bawa where art thee when we need thee?

  • Anonymous

    OK, point well taken, but there are times when Derek is hot from outside.

  • Anonymous

    OK, point well taken, but there are times when Derek is hot from outside.

  • Anonymous

    When IU drives the ball, feeds Zeller, who passes out of the double team to Pritchard wide open from 6-10′ has got to produce 2 points! Not sure if you call that a “play”, but everyone knows that it will happen often. So Tom has to score and hit his FT’s.

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