2011-12 Player Profile: Tom Pritchard

  • 10/19/2011 8:34 am in

(Photo via Peter Stevenson on TwitPic)

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Tom Pritchard.

Here’s something.

Tom Pritchard made 59 percent of his 2-point attempts in 2010-11. No one on Indiana’s roster fared better. (In fact, because Pritchard attempted no 3-pointers last season, he also tied for the best eFG% on the team with Jordan Hulls at 59 percent.) Pritchard’s offensive rating — which measures a player’s offensive efficiency — was also second best on the team to Hulls.

So why is it he only averaged 2.5 points a game as a starter? Well, the problem was two-fold: The Ohio native’s fouling issues only allowed him 18.2 minutes per game. And despite shooting such a high mark, Pritchard only attempted 61 shots all season, down from 92 as a sophomore and 233 as a freshman.

Simply put, he was an afterthought on offense last season.

But there’s another issue lurking under the surface here: Pritchard has had some serious issues at the foul line (just a 34.8 percent mark last season and 37.3 percent as a sophomore), which may have him shying away from taking more initiative around the hoop, despite shooting such a high percentage.

But to beat a dead horse, the arrival of Cody Zeller could take some pressure off Pritchard as the lone “true” big in the frontcourt, which may help boost his confidence around the hoop as the second option. (But when he did flash some confidence last year? Whoa boy.)

Beyond his offense, Pritchard finds himself among the better rebounders on the team (third among regulars in defensive rebounding percentage, second among regular returnees in offensive rebounding percentage) and uses his body well to set screens.

So he’ll bring experience and value to a squad that now finds itself with more scorers.

Best-case: Pritchard plays with more assertion on the offensive end and shoots better from the line in his senior season. He also stays on the court more by curtailing his fouling, thus leaving Bloomington on a high note.

Worst-case: The big man continues to miss the mark at the line and gets lost on offensive again with the arrival of Zeller.

Quotable: “The free throw thing’s not a big issue anymore.” – Derek Elston to the media on Pritchard in August.

All stats in this piece from KenPom and Statsheet.

Previously: Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey, Verdell Jones III, Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo

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  • Anonymous

    If that quote from Elston is correct, and he can translate that to in-game situations, plus limit his fouling, he can be a very pivotal player for us. I mean there are times when he is going to have to come in and produce when Zeller and Watford need a break or have to go to the bench for some other reason.

    If he could average 6-8 points (even by just crashing the boards) and get rebounds that afford us second and third attempts per possession, he could be huge.

    Here is to Pritch going out on Senior Night with a crowd that is happy to see him help us to a postseason birth, instead of one that is glad to see this era end.

  • Anonymous

    My hope for Pritch?  Have a Jared Odle-type senior season.  High hopes I know.  Don’t think he will do nearly that well, but the effect should be the same with Zeller in the game.  

  • Anonymous

    Have always appreciated the effort TP made his freshman year..and the hammering he took in B-ten play. That said…I see him as a role player at best this season. P-time will be determined by the opponets line-up..foul trouble on Zeller..and the need for offense. Given his FT shooting history..Tom can’t be in there at crunch time. He is no threat to score and can’t make the FT’s if he’s fouled on a folo-up. Too many times in the past 3 years, IU has had a team on the floor where at least 2 and probably 3 players were no threat offensively. We have those guys now..and they need to be used. TP will make his contribution..but I’d be shocked if he didn’t have fewer minutes than last year.

  • Anonymous

    There was a 2-3 month period during his freshman year where he looked like he would be an awkward beast for 4 years, putting up a very unsmooth 15 and 8 every night.  I would love to see that come back.  He seemed like one of those guys opponents would get annoyed by as he continually puts in awkward shots and makes good basketball plays.  Hope he finishes off his career on a high note.

  • Anonymous

     I hope he ends well also..but can’t see him as anything but the last option in any possession he’s on the floor for. Just being honest.

  • JerryCT

    Offensively he was a much better scorer when he played with Taber vs Watford. I wish I had some film to watch to see what was different.

    While we often remark that CZ will make TP better. Few offer any reason sfor this. Here are mine:

    + CZ can pop from outside and should set the high pick not TP
    + This leaves TP active in the low post to receive the kick vs CWAT
    + If CZ is doubled and teams fear the kick out for the three , TP might be loose down low

    I will claim that TP will make CZ better. He will be able to stop CZ stone cold in getting deep position in practice and enabling CZ to develop low post moves against lesser bodies.

  • Devout Hoosier

    TP needs to play great defense and get 10 rebounds a game.  Concentrate on that and it will be a hugely successful year.

  • MillaRed

    His decline is second to Mo’s injuries in terms of disappointment.

    What would this team be like right now with a healthy Mo and a 2008 Pritch?

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Would you die from sheer happiness if TP made third team all Big Ten?

  • He’s first team all-blue tongue already.

  • Anonymous

    Even if The Pritch just lives off scraps from Cody, he’s gonna have a pretty decent season.  He’s not alone down low anymore and maybe we can consistantly hit some 3’s to open it up just a little more.  Besides Hulls, we haven’t had many good shooters (that played much anyway) so teams just packed it in down low for the boards.  Cody will draw a lot of attention and The Pritch should be free to roam a little down there which should translate into 3-4 put backs a game and a few boards as well.  I love The Pritch and hope he comes out on fire this year.

  • MillaRed

    I am hearing Cody ran the “slimmer, thus more conditioned Pritch” into the ground in the scrimmage. Not sure what the final stats were, but he looked like the 2010 version

  • Anonymous

    To me, his main goal this season should be to stay injury-free. If he goes down then things light in the big man depth chart. He is what he is in the other areas. Plays good D, hedges well on screens, fouls at a high rate, etc.

  • Anonymous

    A whole lot better.  Although, if Creek played as well as he did against Kentucky for two full seasons, he might be in the NBA by now.

  • Anonymous

    I think so too- of course I want/hope Pritch to have more success offensively but staying on the court for defensive & rebounding is absolutely necessary for IU. With such thin depth on the front line, TP is a huge component for this team.

  • MillaRed

    Indeed. I keep trying to make sense of The Pritch and it’s not easy. That 233 shots as a freshman is a glaring statistic.The simple math tells you if he takes 233 shots instead of last years 61 and shoots 59% again, he is a double digit scorer. Is there enough shots to go around? Maybe not. But it sure is puzzling to see a guy shooting that high of a percentage taking so few shots.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed.  Weird to see a guy play his best during freshman season conference play and never reach that height again.  

  • MillaRed

    Doubters has a negative tone. I think everyone wants the best for Pritch. There are reasons to be skeptical.

    You mention his FR year and the reason he had success. But I don’t agree with that. TP looked very skilled as a FR. He was dominant in the post, confident and was very exciting to watch.

    We really haven’t seen that since. Every category has fallen with better talent around. He has the ability and I really hope he harnesses it this season.

  • JerryCT

    I have watched that game several times and every time I swear that tongue is downright blue ………….. deserves all first team Cirque de Freak anyway

  • JerryCT

    Cody indeed ran the floor well however on at least 2 breakaway baskets he was out by the 3 pt line , not blocking out or competing w TP for the defensive rebound. Watch the scrimmage again.

    Don’t know about you but I want my bigs to defend and compete for the rebound first , then run the floor.

    I donot recall him scoring on TP at all from the field. Once he scored as TP was forced to defend a driving Jones and then the 2 foul shots on the bad call where TP takes a charge. His other FG was on Howard.

    I recall TP may have blocked his shot and a foul called

    TP hit a jumper on CZ out by the 3pt line and also beat him on a pick and roll.

    Both players set some picks that worked.

    I think whoever you heard things from may not have watched the scrimmage and noted where guys when they scored

  • Agree completely, I said this last season and it applies this season, but the only thing on TP’s mind entering every game should be ‘post defense and lead the Big Ten in rebounding’. That’s all he should worry about, if he focuses on those two things then everything else will take care of itself. 

    He’ll should get points off of o-boards and dishes from Hulls/Zeller or anyone else. But, all he should ever be concerned with is rebounding and defense. I think if he does that then he could have a very solid and successful senior season. 

  • Anonymous

    I think the fact that Pritch has 3 years of experience helps this team quite a bit this year. I wanna see Zeller at C and Pritchard at PF starting every game. Pritch is not an elite B10 player but his size and experience will help out alot at the PF spot this year. With watford at SF and Hulls and Jones at the points I think we’re gonna be better than alot of people realize. Especially with the bench players we have available

  • stonaroni

    I really don’t think TP’s numbers improve much this year because he will see shared playing time with DE.  CZ will steal some minutes too if they go to a 3 or 4 guard offense pushing CW back into playing the PF.

    Let’s be real here.  DE was hurt last year and struggled down the stretch with a hernia, but he avg 4.9ppg and 3.7 rpg.  TP, HEALTHY, only gave us 2.5 ppg and 3.8 rpg.  DE stands to gain the most this year.  We need Elston’s athleticism in the game.  The only thing TP has on DE is defense.  TP is far superior, but if CTC can coach, DE will be remarkably better on D this season.

    Last season TP, DE and BC avg 8.4 ppg and 8.7 rpg collectively.  The addition of CZ this season should increase the scoring by 10 ppg.

    As long as DE doesn’t play Hack Attack basketball this season, he could work well with CZ on the floor and in the post since they both have solid jumpers.

    IU will run more 3 and 4 guard offensive sets this season since CW is 6’8″ and the team wants to push the tempo. This doesn’t bode well for TP.

  • MillaRed

    So it’s official, your man-love for The Pritch has your brain believing he can hang with Cody. Now that, my friends, is true love.

  • MillaRed

    Last season TP, DE and BC avg 8.4 ppg and 8.7 rpg collectively.

    YIKES

  • cooper

    As much as this guy has regressed, I think it could be a perfect situation for him this year. He can come in and play 15 min a game off the bench, foul as much as he wants and try to get something done on offense. At worst he is a serviceable breather for Zeller. At best he provides some second team stability and points

  • Anonymous

    The injury to DE was a shocking surprise to learn AFTER the season ended. Almost seemed to me like it was a crutch to lean some poor stats on. Why not make an announcement about his injury and have him rest a few games..it’s not like our record was going to suffer. Shoot, we did that with Jones and Watford, so i’m buying the BS about how we needed his size.

    Bottom line: EVERYONE will compete for time on the court this year since our roster is deeper and more talented. If DE takes minutes from TP, it’ll be because he simply improved in areas we need and TP did not. Or…the other way around. In an uptempo offense one still needs to get defensive rebounds to kick start the fast breaks. I think this actually bodes well for TP.

  • IUball

    Watch the scrimmage on the link above, you will see Pritchard rolling to the basket with purpose. He scored on a dump down from Will one play where Tom did an excellent job of shielding off Cody to catch the pass and make the lay up. Another play he got it in the post and went right up with a nice hook attempt. He missed it but I think his confidence is very high.

    I just can’t wait for the season.

    Finally time to dust off our dancing shoes!

  • JerryCT

    I think the photo says it all

  • jaywiz

    as awesome as that putback was… and awesome indeed. The tip in against Illinois was far and away a better play. Soft hands, boxing out, finishing. Pritch needs to be playing. Period. The amount of minutes he plays rests completely on his own shoulders.

  • MillaRed

    If he has a very good year this team makes the dance. I really do believe that.

    No pressure Pritch!

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    It’s a father-son bond, methinks.