Hoosiers will try to reintegrate Jones against Northwestern

  • 02/15/2012 10:47 am in

When Verdell Jones went down with an injury at Michigan on Feb.1, Tom Crean and the Hoosiers had to find a way to replace him.

Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls and Remy Abell all had the ball in their hands more often during the two games Jones was out. Oladipo and Abell shined in the Purdue game, and Hulls effectively ran the offense from the point-guard position against Illinois.

Now that Jones is returning, Indiana faces a different challenge. The Hoosiers must integrate their senior guard back into the team without missing a beat.

“It’s been good,” Crean said of mixing Jones back into the lineup. “It helps again to something we’ve tried to become, which is deeper. He’s gonna play. He’s done an excellent job and continued to get better.”

The obvious question with Jones returning is how will it affect Oladipo’s role?

Oladipo handled the ball more against the Boilermakers than he has at any point during his Indiana career. Crean said the Hoosiers were going to have other primary ball handlers against Purdue even if Jones had played. But nobody expected that kind of production from Oladipo.

The sophomore guard scored a career-high 23 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and only two turnovers. Oladipo followed that up with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists last Thursday against Illinois.

With Jones out, Oladipo has shined. When Jones returns for the No. 18 Hoosiers against Northwestern at 6:30 tonight, Oladipo will likely be the player most affected.

Crean was asked how Oladipo’s role would change with Jones healthy.

“Do you think there’s any reason to change it?,” Crean asked.

“Well, no,” the reporter returned.

“Me neither,” Crean said. “Vic’s doing fine. It comes down to how locked in he is defensively, what his energy is like on that [end]. Is he rebounding the ball well? Is his decision-making good? As those things continue to stride, it’s amazing how well he scores when that’s happening, it’s amazing how well he gets to the rim.”

The Hoosiers will certainly need Oladipo to be locked in defensively against the Wildcats, a team with plenty of offensive weapons. Oladipo will likely get either John Shurna or Drew Crawford, both of whom are averaging at least 16.8 points per game and shooting better than 48 percent from the field.

Shurna has become almost synonymous with Northwestern basketball because of his production over the last four years. The 6-9 senior is averaging 19.9 points per game and has scored 24 or more points in three of the Wildcats’ last four games.

But Crawford, a 6-5 guard, is equally dangerous. The junior has scored 20 or more points in 11 games this season, including a 34-point outburst at Creighton on Dec. 22. If Crean decides to put a bigger body like Christian Watford on Shurna, Oladipo will likely get Crawford.

“He’s a tremendous athlete, and he can end up on a highlight reel real quick,” Crean said of Crawford. “You’ve got to be really locked into him. He can post, he can shoot 3s, he can shoot the pull up, he can get all the way to the basket, and he’s a very aggressive defender.”

It won’t be the first time Oladipo has been matched up with a player that can do those things.

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  • The journey has a marathon going today!

  • millzy32

    This is what drives me crazy.  You can’t analyze this on stats alone.  It’s like my boss always says “Thinking is Required”.  If you merely look at turnover then maybe VJ doesn’t look so bad but if you actually sit down and watch a game and see the lack of flow, the confusion, the falling down while dribbling or trying to pass.  The missed one and ones and every other thing that you can see by watching the game instead of the stat line you know that VJIII doesn’t deserve as much court time as he sees. 

    I probably won’t get a chance but I want to document his possessions tonight so I may just DVR the game since I never DVR a live event but I have to watch every possession and be able to articulate the pain that I go through watching him handle the ball each and every possession.  When he catches and shoots or drives ok but when he starts it all at the top then lookout.

    I can’t stress enough that it isn’t a stats thing.

    When I see Oladipo make a bad turnover I get upset but then the next play he takes it to the rack and gets fouled and hits free throws and I feel better.  When Hulls makes a turnover I get upset but then I watch him drill a long 3 and I get happy again.  The potential is there for these guys.  When I see VJIII turnover I say what was he thinking and then I watch him attempt a drive and get stuffed or shoot a 3 and miss it by a mile and I say what is he doing?  Others get pulled immediately for bad play and Elston gets the yank the quickest but VJIII seems immune to this and it drives me crazy.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    UK has live open practice on EPNU…man I hate them.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    UK has live open practice on EPNU…man I hate them.

  • cooper

    You don’t honestly believe Pritchard has brought as much to this team as VJ over the last four years do you? I’ll give you there frosh year they were equal, but the last two VJ was leaps and bounds over Pritchard.

  • cooper

    You don’t honestly believe Pritchard has brought as much to this team as VJ over the last four years do you? I’ll give you there frosh year they were equal, but the last two VJ was leaps and bounds over Pritchard.

  • cooper

    Good post, VJ isn’t really a PG, but IU doesn’t have a great all around point guard. VO has done a nice job the last two games but those weren’t exactly against top point guard talent. Plus he has gotten into periods where he falls in love with 3pt shots and lets that affect his D.

  • MillaRed

    In the grand scheme of things yes. He was our only center. Who takes those minutes?

  • MillaRed

    Once again, this mixed bag of this and that. Now Pritchard is useless and Verdell was our fierce leader vs KY and OSU! What a joke.

  • Whomikewho

    Please CTC, keep his minutes limited..

  • millzy32

    The 0-1 stat on free throws means he missed the front end of a one and one aka a turnover.  Those drive me craziest.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    Anyone else see the ESPN commercial for their new apps where they use Watford’s shot against pUKe?   

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    Jordy shoots from his shoulder like a girl, but I wish I had either one of their strokes. 

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    Jordy shoots from his shoulder like a girl, but I wish I had either one of their strokes. 

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Since we are on the topic of VJ3 and dribble drives, etc.  I knew what that was but really never understood ballside and helpside.  I ran across this on Hoosier Scoop about RMK’s science of basket ball from tag name TsaTsuG.  I thought you might be enlighten.
    TsaTsuG
    Monday, February 6, 2012 – 9:44 PM EST
    HT…the difference between ‘ballside’(strongside) and ‘helpside’ (weakside) were fundamental to RMK approach to the game and absolutely the basis of his defense. Knight, while at West Point, divided the court from basket to basket into two halves, ‘ballside and helpside’. In his version of the man-to-man, emphasis was strongly on pressuring and intensely the ball (minimizing the time and space to look at the floor) and denying the passing lane to all the offensive positions on the “ball-side”, even to the point of “fronting” those.The “helpside” defenders, in the meantime would “triangularize” (a shallow triangle) between the ball, their assigned man and the basket, eyes towards the ball and ready to jump out and pick up any man with the ball who beat his defender. The number one rule was to “never lose sight of the ball” and ‘helpside’ (weakside) defenders were always expected to have their heads turned towards the ball, watching ‘their’ man out of their peripheral vision (a man is easier to locate than a ball).Thus, you saw the defe3nse constantly flexing depending on the position of the ball on the floor. When the ball moved to the ‘helpside’ it automatically became the ballside and the floor deployment changed accordingly. This, partly, why many would observe that the man-to-man defense was so in terms of pressure on the ball, while RMK readily acknowledged the zone’ principle to the ‘helpside’ defense. Really fun to watch that, when done right (as we saw many times in those days) it was a thing of beauty and mental toughness.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Since we are on the topic of VJ3 and dribble drives, etc.  I knew what that was but really never understood ballside and helpside.  I ran across this on Hoosier Scoop about RMK’s science of basket ball from tag name TsaTsuG.  I thought you might be enlighten.
    TsaTsuG
    Monday, February 6, 2012 – 9:44 PM EST
    HT…the difference between ‘ballside’(strongside) and ‘helpside’ (weakside) were fundamental to RMK approach to the game and absolutely the basis of his defense. Knight, while at West Point, divided the court from basket to basket into two halves, ‘ballside and helpside’. In his version of the man-to-man, emphasis was strongly on pressuring and intensely the ball (minimizing the time and space to look at the floor) and denying the passing lane to all the offensive positions on the “ball-side”, even to the point of “fronting” those.The “helpside” defenders, in the meantime would “triangularize” (a shallow triangle) between the ball, their assigned man and the basket, eyes towards the ball and ready to jump out and pick up any man with the ball who beat his defender. The number one rule was to “never lose sight of the ball” and ‘helpside’ (weakside) defenders were always expected to have their heads turned towards the ball, watching ‘their’ man out of their peripheral vision (a man is easier to locate than a ball).Thus, you saw the defe3nse constantly flexing depending on the position of the ball on the floor. When the ball moved to the ‘helpside’ it automatically became the ballside and the floor deployment changed accordingly. This, partly, why many would observe that the man-to-man defense was so in terms of pressure on the ball, while RMK readily acknowledged the zone’ principle to the ‘helpside’ defense. Really fun to watch that, when done right (as we saw many times in those days) it was a thing of beauty and mental toughness.

  • catronhoosier

    thank you.  Im glad that somone sees that other than me.  I now there are others but this is a great post in regards to VJ

  • catronhoosier

    thank you.  Im glad that somone sees that other than me.  I now there are others but this is a great post in regards to VJ

  • catronhoosier

    in the OSU, nebraska, penn state, wisconsin game oladipo struggled in those games.  and in a 2 or three of those games verdell had 3 – 5 assists, while oladipo had 2-3 turnovers with no assists. neither oladipo or verdell are true point guards both make mistakes. Also look at some of the games you listed, all of those games verdell was playing against the best point guards in the bigten (Jordan Taylor, trey burke, bo spencer, tim frazier)  Oladipo went against jackson and madascalco… not much of a comparison.

  • Walt

    Remy,  when you talk about us–does that mean the posters here or the coaching staff.  I would hope the coaching staff would not be confused. Man, this is our team and the “VJ is so much more important than Pritch” etc. etc.  is just not right. Again, this is our team out there.  All of them. So be quiet when it comes to “hating on ’em”.(Not you Remy-other posters)

  • catronhoosier

    woah, you are not seriously going to sit there and tell me that its the same to replace tom pritchard with a potential freshmen of the year and to replace a verdell with oladipo who had 2 good games. you can’t compare those 2 situations they are completely different.    I never said pritchard was useless i said its different.  if oladipo stays in the same role and continues to play well then obviously you make the permanent switch but its only been two games.  You are a verdell hater and will never give him a fair chance.  If verdell plays poorly thern in your eyes he is garbarge and should be thrown aside but when oladipo struggles, which he has more than a few times this season, its ok because its just one game. 

  • IUJack

    I too have no idea what VJ3 lovers are seeing on the basketball court that I am not.  I know he is a great kid, but his basketball skills are not to the level of six or seven other players on the squad.  The stats don’t lie: http://www.sports-reference.co…Look at the advanced stats for the players.  Hulls and VJ3 are a dead heat in their defensive liability and Hulls more than makes up for that with his offense.  Jones has more turnovers and has the ball in his hands less then Hulls.  Hulls has fewer assist, but the ball is in his hands more.  He should have more assist, but in his defense he is not passing to Hulls the scorer, he is passing to VJ3 who scores less than he does.  So if minutes are dictated by play, than it is clear that VJ3 needs to have less time on the floor.  What is he BEST at, mid-range game.  He should play when the game dictates that is what is needed.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    i was referring to us the fans , I hope coach has the plan .

  • Yep. I loved it. ESPN has used that highlight plenty, but I bet they love that in Lexington!

  • The_Dukester

    I think everyone should be able to agree, that Jones’s contributions at the end of the game tonight helped synch this game for us.   

  • The_Dukester

    I think everyone should be able to agree, that Jones’s contributions at the end of the game tonight helped synch this game for us.   

  • Panther1

    I agree….without VJ3 tonight we take a loss.  He frustrates me at times, but he stepped up and clinched it tonight.  Way to go Verdell.

  • SS8921

    how about Hulls, he dribbles much more than Jones. What are you watching?

  • SS8921

    First off, HULLS is the one who stands and dribbles for 25 seconds, not Jones. He really plays solid, not terrific, but solid defense and is a better on-floor leader than anyone else.  

  • SS8921

    Now there’s someone who has some sense! Thank you

  • SS8921

    The ball is in Hulls’ hands more because he pounds the ball into the floor more. VJ3 plays more with the game than Jordy ever will. And Jordan Hulls is a worse defender than Verdell ever has been, comparing their defensive liability is ridiculous.

  • Threewellers

    Respect your point of view and I agree with you that VO is our best option at PG. He is not a classic PG but brings things to the table that Hulls and VJ3 cannot.

    That being said I firmly believe it will not matter once Yogi arrives. I just see no way CTC will be able to keep him off the floor. I’ve seen a bunch of posts that he will back up Hulls next year and I just do not see it. Love Jordy but he has physical limitations at the PG position that simply will not allow him to be top shelf at that position, ever.

    Finally, as posted earlier VJ3 will need to make timely contributions for the team to reach it’s celling and he certainly did so against Nwestern. We needed him tonight and I suspect we will need him again in short order.

    It’s a team with flaws filled with players that have some holes in their games, CZ being the exception. I still love this team and they have been as enjoyable to watch as any I can remember since the last title run.

    We escaped tonight, thanks in large part to VJ3, on to Iowa.