It’s back to work for Verdell following Minnesota loss

  • 01/13/2012 11:15 am in

As I walked out of the media room last night, the sound of a ball pounding Branch McCracken Court immediately hit my ears.

So before hitting the exit in the south end of Assembly Hall, I took a quick peek around the corner to find a familiar face hoisting up shots.

It was Verdell Jones.

Headphones on. No expression on his face. Just Verdell, the ball, a student manager to rebound and the basket.

Roughly eighty minutes earlier, the buzzer sounded on arguably the worst stat performance of Jones’ Indiana career: 0-of-6 from the field, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and three turnovers in 23 minutes. Scoreless for just the second time in an IU uniform.

A bad game made worse by the fact that the Hoosiers, who had just three days ago soared to No. 7 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll, lost for the first time this season at home to Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers, previously winless in Big Ten play, were coming off a 13-point loss at home to Purdue.

And in what may have been an even more shocking development than the loss for a team that has far exceeded expectations to-date, a smattering of boos were unleashed as Matt Roth was subbed out for Jones late in the second half.

Jones has been the most discussed and critiqued player on the roster for most of his time in Bloomington. Some of the criticism has been justified. Some of it has not.

The overriding theme, at least in the comments from this community, has been “Good Verdell” vs. “Bad Verdell.”

Most of the frustration around “Bad Verdell”, I believe, derives from the belief that he has, at times, tried to do too much. The reality is that’s the position Jones has been placed in for the majority of his career.

And while placing him in that position hasn’t produced a bevy of wins over the past three seasons, those fortunes have changed this season. Jones’ efficiency numbers are down, but lest we forget so quickly his 17 points earlier in the season at Evansville or 14 points, including 6-of-6 free throws, less than two weeks ago against Ohio State. Or how about the game-winning assist against Kentucky and the mid-range jumper to seal the win over Michigan.

With any player, you take the good with the bad.

Jones was not made available for comment last night, but Herald-Times columnist Ryan Kartje asked Tom Crean a question centered around the premise that the senior guard lost his confidence in last night’s loss.

“Did he tell you that? Did he tell you he lost his confidence or is that just your own assessment?” Crean said. “Because he was out there battling I thought. I don’t know if it’s confidence as much as his edge. Your seniors and juniors when you have two guards like Verdell and Jordan [Hulls] they’ve got to be on top of the teams’ game all the time. They may not be on top of their game because they’re going to have struggles in it. But they’ve got to be on top of the teams’ game.”

Whether or not any confidence was lost by Jones, a question only he can answer, the fact is Indiana needs him to play better to continue their ascent in the Big Ten. He knows that, which is why he was hard at work past midnight in Assembly Hall.

But beyond just Verdell or any one player, Indiana must regain its edge. Sure, it’s an overused buzzword as Crean admits, but it’s true. The edge was not there last night. Let’s see if it returns Sunday in Columbus.

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  • MillaRed

    Unfortunately “boo’ing” is a part of our culture. As mentioned by others, there has been only a handful of IU players that have been subjected it. And I can’t imagine how he felt when it went down. I am guessing NOT GOOD.

    No way would I boo anyone on this team. I just come ITH and start my soap box ranting. You know me, I only boo officials.

  • Anonymous

    IU fans should never boo their own players. We are not Kentucky fans. Have some class. If you booed VJ3 last night you should never return to the hall. The guy behind me in the Derrick Rose jersey and the young jeezy hat that criticized him the entire game, dropping the F bomb in front of the 7 year old next to me needs to stick to watching NBA games and stay out of Assembly. These fans are a joke. VJ3 came to play for Indiana when nobody else wanted too, that kind of commitment demands your respect. Be a real fan and not a Catfan. He will be gone next year. I for one would like to thank VJ3 for coming to IU and his hard work.

  • A train

    The simple fact is this team has overachieved up until last night. We could have easily lost three other games at this point but we gutted out some tough wins and had some things break our way. Those things balance themselves out over the course of the year.

    Random thoughts otherwise:

    – effort was not up to par for first time this year
    – vj3 was bad no doubt. What I don’t understand about his game this year is that he seems to be doing less of what he does well, midrange game, and more of what he does bad, trying to create offense on his own. When verdell dribbles more thantwotimes on any possession bad things happen trust me on this it never fails
    – CWAT did not show up and that was disappointing but it’s one game and he has made huge strides this year
    – VO has fallen off over the last couple of games. Not sure what is up but he is our engine and needs to be at full throttle all the time.
    – jordy needs to bring the attitude he had for the last 10 minutes of the game all the time. He must be aggressive on offense or he becomes a liability
    -will needs to get more minutes as his conditioning will allow. He is just too solid with his play to sit on the bench
    – Cody has simply been a revelation. Not sure I have ever seen anyone his size with the sill set he has, certainly not at Indiana, sky is the limit for him

    Finally, this team will be just fine but keep your original expectations in mind as the year progresses. The talent is good but not great at this point and we will have nights that frustrate.

    Bottom line is we can shoot the ball and it will cure many ills on a given night, the minnesota game was just not one of those nights

  • IU_Redzone09

    When I heard the boos last night while I was watching, I just thought it
    was the fans venting their frustration at the team but taking it out on
    Verdell because he obviously played really bad.

    I applaud you for coming on here and being honest about booing Verdell last night. I think it’s hypocritical that some people that posted above think its ridiculous that the fan base boo’ed him when they are probably the same people that come on an internet website complain about how terrible Verdell Jones III is every game. To me, I don’t see a difference…you may have an opinion that you should never boo someone, especially a college student, but then don’t come on here say how terrible he is after every game. Would I have boo’ed him? No, but I can see why the fans did given the type of comments I read on here after every game.

    He is a college student, I get it, but he obviously knew he didn’t play well…since he was shooting baskets til midnight following the game. All in all I think everyone is frustrated with his play throughout the year, including myself. I hope he figures it out because his mid range game is really good…he just needs to know his limitations and stick to that.

  • IU_Redzone09

    When I heard the boos last night while I was watching, I just thought it
    was the fans venting their frustration at the team but taking it out on
    Verdell because he obviously played really bad.

    I applaud you for coming on here and being honest about booing Verdell last night. I think it’s hypocritical that some people that posted above think its ridiculous that the fan base boo’ed him when they are probably the same people that come on an internet website complain about how terrible Verdell Jones III is every game. To me, I don’t see a difference…you may have an opinion that you should never boo someone, especially a college student, but then don’t come on here say how terrible he is after every game. Would I have boo’ed him? No, but I can see why the fans did given the type of comments I read on here after every game.

    He is a college student, I get it, but he obviously knew he didn’t play well…since he was shooting baskets til midnight following the game. All in all I think everyone is frustrated with his play throughout the year, including myself. I hope he figures it out because his mid range game is really good…he just needs to know his limitations and stick to that.

  • Anonymous

    How many current posters wrote Roth off at the beginning of the year..saying AE should get his minutes etc. roth earned what he got by playing better defense. He seldom takes a bad shot..and can hit the open shot as long as the opponet is giving IU openings in transition or good ball movement. In slow half court sets with no screens..Matt did and will struggle to get his shot. Has earned the minutes he’s getting…but he ain’t Dwayne Wade.

  • IU_Redzone09

    They lost last night because of two things: defense and defensive rebounding. The defense was better in the second half but then they would up an offensive rebound to Minnesota. It just seemed like nothing was working together the whole night. Don’t even get me started about the zone…if IU can’t guard Minnesota man to man then IU has problems going forward. I understand showing something different but we stayed with a little too long.

    It was a very frustrating game to watch, but hopefully they learn from it and play outstanding defense on Sunday and beat OSU for the second time.

  • unclekerfuffle

    I will be the first to admit that I am old school when it comes to what is appropriate for basketball fans to do at games.  With that being said, I can tolerate, though would not participate in, booing a bad call by an official.  However, there is no excuse north of the Ohio River to rationalize booing your own player.  You don’t deserve to be in the Hall again once you have done that.  For all those who booed–You are poser IU Fans and lack any understanding of what it means to be a Hoosier.

    And, for the record, I am not a big fan of Verdell’s decisions and performance at times but he is a Hoosier and that is all that matters to me.  Unless he ever does something to dishonor that title, he will have my complete public support.

  • Anonymous

    IU didn’t lose the game because of Verdell.  Verdell plays hard and where would IU be without him?  They need to learn to block out and get a few defensive rebounds, that is why they lost the game.

  • Anonymous

    IU didn’t lose the game because of Verdell.  Verdell plays hard and where would IU be without him?  They need to learn to block out and get a few defensive rebounds, that is why they lost the game.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not going to blast you for I praise you.  I had felt the same thing at the Michigan game.  Assembly hall would be rocking, and the coach calls a timeout.  Now, at this point you’ve got to reach down and keep up the volume after the timeout.  The Chairbourne Hoosiers then settled down and awaited the the next big play.

    The team was struggling and needed the fans.  Get it to within five and fall to nine.  Over and over again.  Fans getting amped and falling back down into their seats.  That’s the problem with bandwagon fans.  They are only satisfied with the very rare team that beats everyone by 40 where they can just sit back and relax. 

    I’d much rather have the 12-14K fans in the last few years that would stay amped regardless the flow of the game.  Now the students should be ashamed for booing, but most are new at winning.

    Its only one game and we still have over 1/2 of the B1G to play.  My voice is still not recovered since OSU and UM.  I didn’t make it last night, but this team will need to peak in March and be playing their best basketball.  No more Boos, lets make it memorable for the Seniors, make Assembly Hall the best atmosphere in America, and build the team back up so they are seeded number two in the Yum! Center.  There will be a ton of tickets after first round teams loose.

    My new mantra “Hoosier Nation – Yum! Center Bound!”

  • Super_Student

    Sorry man I have to respectfully disagree.  I was at the game and was behind the basket.  It was by no means a Kentucky level effort, but don’t blame the fans.  We were still pretty loud considering the circumstances.   I agree the crowd shouldn’t have booed VJ3.  I actually had no idea what was going on when the booing started.(maybe some mob mentality?)  Also, unlike most of the alumni and the older crowd, virtually all the students stuck it out to the end.  

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate what Verdell has done for us the last three plus years. On senior day I hope he quotes RMK. ” When I die I want them to bury me upside down so all my critics can kiss my a@@.”

  • Kelin Blab

    This game will probably help VJ and some other players tremendously going forward. I think you will see a very good Verdell Jones Sunday….has played with adversity before, this is just one loss but the kid has some heart

  • heinsohn

    That was said so perfectly just say Amen

  • Jmfriedman

    I was shocked to hear the boos, but I think the boos were just as much for taking Roth out as putting Jones in.  I was more disappointed Matt was going to the bench  than I was upset Verdell was coming in.  Roth has been on fire lately, has confidence, and I felt his play could help us close the gap better than Jones. 

     I also think Verdell’s mistakes are mostly mental.  If he would play under control and play within himself, it would help tremendously.  The old  “Let the game come to you” would do volumes for his game…. 

  • Jmfriedman

    I was shocked to hear the boos, but I think the boos were just as much for taking Roth out as putting Jones in.  I was more disappointed Matt was going to the bench  than I was upset Verdell was coming in.  Roth has been on fire lately, has confidence, and I felt his play could help us close the gap better than Jones. 

     I also think Verdell’s mistakes are mostly mental.  If he would play under control and play within himself, it would help tremendously.  The old  “Let the game come to you” would do volumes for his game…. 

  • Verdell, and all the Hoosiers work extremely hard at what they do. That’s why they put themselves in a position to be the “darling of the NCAA basketball season” as one article I read put it. This team has a lot of flaws, and people just seem to like to make Verdell out to be the biggest scapegoat when things are going wrong. 

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    My complaints aren’t with the students. It is with the other 10,000 people there. I have been to many many games as I could go to more during the season when I was in my 20’s and I didn’t have to be at the game to know that it was not where it needed to be as a whole. Every game wont be like Kentucky but it needs to be close.

    I respect your opinion though, and you guys keep doing what you are doing in the student section.

    It doesn’t hurt to make people aware either that the fan effort could have been more and for us to win we needed more. Assembly has to be more intimidating than last night. Being there or not I know it wasn’t at ear splitting level consistently. That’s what it takes.

  • defendtherock

    Let’s face it, the pressure on this team is different this year.  Christian struggled to adapt to it early in the year, and Verdell has never seemed to figure out how to deal.  The dynamic of playing with better players requires an adjustment.  Verdell has struggled with that. 
    The truth is, if Verdell’s role would change like it should, he wouldn’t get ripped as much.  He is a starter, and we are all smart enough to see that his play does not merit starting.  His play does not match up with the minutes that he gets.  If Coach Crean would take some of the pressure away from him by sitting him more, maybe he could play more effectively.  That is why people get pissed.  That is why people get so frustrated that they boo.

    This is Indiana.  It is big boy basketball.  Verdell needs to adjust to his new and improved team.

  • Anonymous

    You’re completely correct. The students were into it (though not as much so in the balcony where I was seated) but the alumni were not. As you said, it was the same at the Michigan game. I honestly think we would’ve blown Michigan out if the fans had created a more hostile atmosphere.

  • Bobty

    I think Verdell has a lot to be thanked for throughout his tenure here at IU.  My problem is with the coaching staff.  Sometimes you have to save a player from himself.  Never has that been more evident than with Verdell.  The coaching staff has forced him to be a ball handler.  He is probably the worst ball handler I’ve ever seen outside of a big man at this level.  He cannot dribble and look up at the court at the same time.  He served his purpose during the lean times, now we need to let guys like Remy Abell have a shot.  None of our guards do well being pressured, but Verdell is a turnover waiting to happen.  At the beginning of the season I thought all of Verdell’s minutes were a thank you from Crean for all the years of service, but it has become clear that the staff does not recognize that Verdell is a complete liability on the court.  The staff is obviously great at recruiting, don’t see it in the coaching though.

  • 888

    This is what makes INDIANA BASKETBALL the best in the country! We all have different opinions about things in the program but we all love the program like no other fans in the country. Its ok to critisize at times as long as its not personal. Yes Verdell is frustrating but we all are still behind him 100%. CTC is just as much at fault for putting him in a bad position. Ive seen RMK get booed at home too. This is IU and when you sign on you better represent this program accordingly or well run your but out of town. Verdell has represented us well so we support him. Ihave a feeling this is gonna light a fire in him and have one of his best games at OSU. I think hes been through worse the last 3 years. I think we have a real good chance to beat OSU if we rebound and play D like we did before we had everyone saying how great we were. The shots will fall. Lets just hope Valentines not there. Its tough to win 5 on 6.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    You missed him and CWat failing to block out on a FT late in the game.  I think it was their communication that caused that breakdown but it didn’t cost them because the next player missed the front end as well. 

    I watched the game twice more and thought VJ3 was actually a non-factor.  He did one really good thing (the diving play out of bounds to win IU possession), missed some shots, did turn it over a couple times on stupid decisions, but so did everybody else.  His turnovers didn’t come (with the exception of the pass to Zeller late in the game which probably should’ve been caught) late in the game this game but he didn’t play as much the last few minutes. 

    I think everyone’s point is that on this night, he probably should’ve been on the floor more like 13 minutes instead of 23 and his minutes should’ve been given to Roth (13) since Roth has been very productive lately. 

    In retrospect, this actually wasn’t one of VJ3’s worst performances, even though he didn’t score.  The problem is that this WASN’T ONE OF HIS WORST PERFORMANCES.  I’ve watched and re-watched plenty of games where he was much worse!  That’s our problem with him.  He can be even worse for the team on a night where he does score ten points!  That is not good.

    I’ve argued it many, many times.  Hulls, not a good defender.  Hulls, will turn the ball over occasionally and even throw a stupid pass.  But, you haven’t seen Jordan Hulls, Matt Roth, or even Remy Abel attempt to drive the ball on a break against three bigger defenders like Verdell did a couple games ago.  It’s the nature of the errors (generally as Milla has argued) that causes his game to stick out above others when you watch guys struggle.  At this point I don’t think anyone can effectively argue that VJ3’s minutes should not start to get cut to be distributed among some other players to see what they can do, such as Roth, Remy, and even Etherington.

    Plays where he turns the ball over trying to feed it to Zeller, I can live with those.  It’s the type plays where he gets his shot blocked, gets it back, and has that look in his eyes like, “I’m gonna take this guy” because he just got stuffed, then hooks him for the offensive foul that drives us NUTS!!!  Those are just not team plays.  I don’t see anyone else at this point trying to take the team on their shoulders or responding to a bad play or adversity by putting their head down and being selfish. 

    Jerry, that play was just a selfish play.  He had a man open at the three point line like ten feet away from him on the wing but once the shot was blocked, he just had to redeem himself or retaliate against the defender and that’s not good team ball.  If something like that happens you can’t put your head down and go 1-on-1.  You have to be the type player to just shrug it off and continue to help the team get the best open shot!

    If he would stop making those type plays, I think fans would stop being so frustrated with him.

  • Hoosieriniowa

    Illinois Mr. Baskeballl chooses IU when we were absolutely nothing to the point of the coach having regular walk-on tryouts.  We were bad……..really bad.  Any who stayed just a few years and left I am glad they came to bridge the gap.  But VJ3 stays, works tirelessly, and yes makes mistakes.  I don’t care.  In my book he will be the consummate Hoosier (from Illinois).  I hope for many years to come he returns to campus to inspire our future teams.

  • IUJeff

    IU either had too hard of practices leading up to the game, were looking at this game as a gimme, or are already focused on playing OSU. IU came out with little energy at home, and laid an egg.   

    Tubby is an excellent coach, had the better game plan, and had his boys playing smart, physical basketball. That was a well coached team that is going to make some noise IMO.  

    As far as seedings go, the loss won’t mean a thing if we take care of business from here on out. VJ was just one of many that played poorly. He will bounce back. 
     Time to step up Hoosiers. There are no more gimmes.

  • Anonymous

    The alumn stand and cheer during timeouts more than during the game. I never understood that, are they there to see a ball game or to watch cheerleaders, flags, and listen to the bAnd? Soon as the ball comes back in play everyone sits until the next time out.

  • i took it as a boo to coach tom crean he was the one that made the change.

    Michigan got a shot off with less time.  Crean doesnt draw up plays well after timeouts or crunch situations.  

  • GB

    Alex, any possibilities of putting together an unbiased film session of Verdell’s play?  I’m very hard on Verdell, but I really want to look into the hard facts. Turnovers, points, missed defensive assignments…but I’m lazy and would rather have the ITH experts look more into it. Maybe we can all learn something? 

  • GB

    Alex, any possibilities of putting together an unbiased film session of Verdell’s play?  I’m very hard on Verdell, but I really want to look into the hard facts. Turnovers, points, missed defensive assignments…but I’m lazy and would rather have the ITH experts look more into it. Maybe we can all learn something? 

  • BEAT KENTUCKY

    I’m not gonna get all over  Verdell , after all he is a senior and we now who he is and what he is . But I really think that Sheehey should start over him . I think he is a better option and it might make Verdell stop and think about his role on the team and a little more about correcting what he hasnt in the first three years . 

  • Anonymous

    we all are going to have to live with the VJIII situation for the rest of the season.  takin the good with the bad. booing him though? feel bad for him he has been through a lot in 3 years so give him a break. hopefully he picks it up, if not his minutes should decline.

  • Anonymous

    we all are going to have to live with the VJIII situation for the rest of the season.  takin the good with the bad. booing him though? feel bad for him he has been through a lot in 3 years so give him a break. hopefully he picks it up, if not his minutes should decline.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Talk about a generalization.  That is like saying all students show up late and chant profanities.

    Speaking as an OLD alum, the timeouts are the best time for me to stretch and straighten out my arthritic knees.

    I will agree that I would like to see some more demonstrative support for the team by some fans with prime seats.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Talk about a generalization.  That is like saying all students show up late and chant profanities.

    Speaking as an OLD alum, the timeouts are the best time for me to stretch and straighten out my arthritic knees.

    I will agree that I would like to see some more demonstrative support for the team by some fans with prime seats.

  • Anonymous

    You have to be joking. Of all of our guards with defensive awareness, Jones is the least of my worries.

  • Anonymous

    You have to be joking. Of all of our guards with defensive awareness, Jones is the least of my worries.

  • Anonymous

    Should we boo Jordy when he stupidly picks up his dribble three times a game or when his man drives past him at will?

  • INUnivHoosier

    Shouldn’t have been a manager getting rebounds. Should have been a manager shooting and everyone on the team boxing out and rebounding.

  • ufo33

    Verdell just thinks he is better than he actually is.
    He puts himself in situations late in the game trying to force the action, dribble…dribble…dribble head down drive turnover while he is trying to be The Man.
    He was The Man as a Freshman, but now the Seniors are the least talented players on the roster, and it Verdell is not The Man any longer.
    Make the unforced fundamental pass, not the forced shot or drive resulting in a turnover.
    Verdell needs to play his role, or sit.
    Just as every player should do.
    The team is more important than individual statistics or glory.The team wins, everybody wins.
    The team loses, everyone’s a loser.
    There is no I in Team.

  • ufo33

    Roth has the highest skill level of all of the Seniors.
    Can Roth walk-on next season as a 5th year Senior with eligibility left after his injuries?

  • ufo33

    Dribbling with your head down and taking forced bad shots for several  hours after the game will not make VJIII better overnight.  It’s as though Verdell tried to make this a highly visible gesture to his detractors, but most will not be fooled.  VJIII needs to realize his own talent and physical limitations and then play within himself and his own realisitic ability if he wants to contribute positively to the team for his Senior season.

  • ufo33

    Dribbling with your head down and taking forced bad shots for several  hours after the game will not make VJIII better overnight.  It’s as though Verdell tried to make this a highly visible gesture to his detractors, but most will not be fooled.  VJIII needs to realize his own talent and physical limitations and then play within himself and his own realisitic ability if he wants to contribute positively to the team for his Senior season.

  • Kim32

    Boo Verdall?  You should be Booing Crean for playing him. 

  • Anonymous

    Every fan wants their team to win… your post makes no sense. 

  • Anonymous

    “coach who is poor at the X’s and O’s of coaching.”  I question anyone who makes that statement.

  • Arien2u

    For real.  If you boo’d or if you didn’t.  VJ had a terrible game and that is a fact.  I would love to see what would happen if Daniel Moore and Matt Roth would get more playing time.  As for Cody Zeller; at this point I’ve seen alot of mistakes at of him as well.  If he is such a beast seems he gets pushed around pretty easy.  Time will tell and I hope that it does.  I said that if we beat KY I don’t care if we win another game all season.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I didn’t mean that he “is” a poor X’s and O’s coach, but the verdict is still out and he hasn’t exactly shown us a lot with out of bounds plays, regular substitution patterns, and timeout usage.  It may be him adjusting to a team that’s been so bad then has seemed so much better for much of this part, but all I’m saying is a guys like that, who are great recruiters and motivators can win, but it’s easier to do if you are also one of those top notch in game coaches like coach K or RMK was for much of his career.