Notebook: Sheehey returns to form against NC Central

  • 02/23/2012 8:22 am in

When Will Sheehey returned after sitting out five games with a high ankle sprain, it looked like he hardly missed a beat. He was one of Indiana’s most effective players against Minnesota on Jan. 12, scoring 12 points on an efficient 5-of-7 shooting.

But since then, the production hasn’t been the same. Sheehey hasn’t moved as much without the ball, he hasn’t gone to the glass as frequently, and he doesn’t seem to have the same explosiveness he had before the injury.

That was until Wednesday against North Carolina Central.

Sheehey had 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and added seven rebounds in the No. 23 Hoosiers’ 75-56 win, his most productive offense game in more than a month.

In his previous 10 games, Sheehey scored a total of 56 points on a combined 20-of-50 shooting.

“I’m not 100 percent yet, and you can tell,” Sheehey said. “I try to jump off one foot, and it’s pretty ugly. I’m just trying to get back and play a part on the defensive side first. The rest will come.”

WATFORD’S SHOOTING SLUMP CONTINUES

Christian Watford hit the biggest shot of the year for Indiana when he made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat No. 1 Kentucky.

Lately, though, Watford is struggling to hit any shot at all.

The junior forward is in the middle of his worst slump of the season, having scored in double figures only twice in the last six games. Watford was 0-of-8 and scored only two points against North Carolina Central, and he’s made only 4-of-24 shots in the last three games. He’s scored a combined three points on 0-of-13 shooting in the last two.

Indiana coach Tom Crean said he isn’t worried about Watford’s struggles, pointing to the fact he has had a positive impact on the defensive end.

“Everybody wants to score points, everybody wants to have a free-flow game — it’s not that way,” Crean said. “We wouldn’t be in this situation that we’re in this season without the play of Christian Watford. The bottom line is, is he bringing things to the table that make us better in the game? There’s nobody in here and there are very few people out there that want to deal with him when he’s guarding them.”

Watford’s last 20-point game came on Jan. 5 when he torched Michigan for 25 on 8-of-11 shooting. Since then, he hasn’t scored more than 18 points, and he’s shot better than 50 percent in only two games.

HOOSIERS GET CELEBRITY MANAGER

Jim Harbaugh won the NFL Coach of the Year award last season after he led the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship game. Just having him in Assembly Hall would be special for the Hoosiers.

But Harbaugh, Crean’s brother-in-law, wanted to play a bigger role.

The former Colts quarterback, in town for the NFL Combine, sat on the end of the IU bench and took the chairs onto the floor during timeouts Wednesday night.

“I wanted to contribute,” Harbaugh yelled from the back of the media room during Crean’s postgame press conference.

Crean, for one, was thankful he did.

“He’s a team guy,” he said. “It goes to show why he’s a very successful leader. There’s no job above him, there’s no job beneath him, and it’s all about winning.”

Crean said Harbaugh and 49ers general manager Trent Baalke — the NFL’s GM of the year — spoke to the team before and after the game. Baalke was a roommate of IU assistant coach Tim Buckley at Bemidji State.

“It’s an honor,” guard Victor Oladipo said. “I know he’s relatives with coach Crean but, at the end of the day, he’s still who he is. For him to come in and talk to us and motivate us, it’s a blessing.”

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  • Lakelandfootball

    I’m sorry but Watford is soft. How many times does he not block out!!!He plays so lazy! I think Crean should bench him to wake him up. He reminds me of Andre Patterson.

  • ldiu

    CTC may not be worried about Watford, but I sure am and have been for some time.  CTC says Watford is playing great defense??

  • Eastwood88_2

    I posted on what to expect page that Hulls, Watford and Jones would all have 15 point a piece and we would win by 30.  Neither happen and I was wrong.  Instead of jumping on the bandwagon at the Min After page, I waited for a positvie sign to strike, here it is. 

    I completely agree with CTC on Watford.  Not worried at all about him because we are at the point to stop expecting anything from him.  What I would like is, if he is double teamed to pass out of it.  Stop forcing shots or dribbling to create.  Shot when you are open and if that is 10 times game and you don’t make one, so be it!  He will continue to play 20-25 mins a game, but the hook is coming if he does not play defense.  Elston will replace him.

    In non-conference, I thought ours three best players on this team were two sophs and a freshman.  This is true without a doubt now.  Hulls, Jones, Watford, Elston and Roth are all ROLE PLAYERS.  Reality has set in.  Hopefully this is the sign as Justin wrote that Will is back. 

    Watch the last three games, if WS, VO and CZ(given) lead in mins and shot attempts if we win.  If CW, VJIII and JH lead in shot attempts if we lose. 

    Sorry fellow fans, I do not believe we win on Sunday.  This is for Minne’s tourney life.  The only shot they have is for a resume beating IU twice. 

    recant -Just Check the Schedule, Minne is done.  7-11 in the bigten is the best they finish.  Losing at Wisconsin for them is a lock.  They might pack it in.  Please!!!  

  • crjay

    Watford seems to struggle with finishing his drives to the basket. To have a chance at the next level, he is going to have to improve that aspect of his game. He plays smaller than his size, especially when he is struggling on offense. Gotta love the guy for making that shot against UK though…top five IU moment for me.

  • Guest

    Sheehey’s game comes with confidence related to who is opponent is.  He is going to be a nightmare when he is an upperclassmen and more confident night in and night out

  • HoosierDadE

    I think it is because his hair is starting to grow back…

    Or because he is getting healtier.  No it’s the first one.

  • Guess I’m not necessarily worried about Watford and Hull’s play as long as they start looking better to finish out the season. And if Crean thinks Wat played great D last night I guess it would have taken Sutton to put 40 on Watford for Crean to think differently. Sutton OWNED Watford last night. It was pretty evident.

    What I AM starting be a little concerned about is WILL Wat or Jordy get it going before the Big Ten Tourney. Because if they play the way they have been for the past couple of weeks, we are going one and done in both tournaments IMO. Most def the NCAAs.

  • Laueb

    Am I too ‘ole’ school, I sure don’t like Hulls passing from a dribble? He threw at least 2 passes away last night from the dribble that I saw maybe more.

  • Laueb

    Am I too ‘ole’ school, I sure don’t like Hulls passing from a dribble? He threw at least 2 passes away last night from the dribble that I saw maybe more.

  • MillaRed

    First thing that came to mind was the starting lineup. I have been asking for that from day one. I know many like Will off the bench but I think he brings another dimension on both sides. We have not been strong in the start of many games. Get the best 5 out there and figure out the rest as the game moves along.

    The team had energy last night! It was nice to see.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Soft and floppy shots instead of powerful finishes. His dunk attempt was weak as well. Opponents realize he puts the ball on the floor in the post moving across the lane, and they strip him frequently.

  • eph521

    If nothing else, it was utter and complete joy to see Sheehey in the starting lineup last night.

    At the risk of asking for too much, it would also be nice to see Elston and Sheehey in the starting lineup together at Minnesota. Play the hot hands Coach!

  • MillaRed

    I have no problem with that at all. If there is a fire to be lit, then light it up! Elston is better right now. That’s all there is to it.

    CWat’s confidence can’t get and lower. It can only go up.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I like Will in the starting lineup as well.  However, I am sure CTC hasn’t forgotten the Michigan game which had Sheehey in the starting lineup.  I think we all remember Crean saying “the starting lineup was a joke.” 

    His first start this season (vs. Iowa) was good, his second start (at Michigan) was a disaster, his third start went well, if he gets his fourth start at Minnesota we need him to bring it because his athleticism is needed on the perimeter against Minnesota.

  • Great to see Will playing at the level he did last night. He was everywhere! 7 rebounds says a lot too.
    You want to know what is up with Watford? It is what happens when you stand around on the floor and take breaks all the time. FIRST possession after we scored on the opening tip off, he stood on the left wing for 5-10 seconds, and watched everything happen. You don’t stand around that much and expect good things to happen.  
    VERY cool that Jim H was at the game! Love to see the success of Crean’s surounding family. 

  • DannerPerea

    Remember at the start of the season when there was “what if” talk about CWat going pro after this season? I think we can all put that to rest now. Anyone else agree?

  • DannerPerea

    Remember at the start of the season when there was “what if” talk about CWat going pro after this season? I think we can all put that to rest now. Anyone else agree?

  • Disagree with your opinion on Elston, he is playing his best ball right now. Perhaps he switched in the second half to his old self, but in the first half I was very pleased with his hustle and effort. 

  • dtfreed

    I agree he is soft especially inside with the ball. Being more forceful and slamming close shots should be the call for even Cody and VO in more recent games.

  • Brklynhoosier

     Will Samson Sheehey

  • superhoops

    Watford should not start until he proves he’s one of our top 5 players.  Right now he is not.  Start Elston in his place.  And if Hulls can’t get out of his funk, start someone else at his spot.  And not VJIII.  Let Remy get the nod.

  • JerryCT

     Yup ! Also we were running our most efficient offense when:

    +  the ball was on the wing in the hands of Jones or VO ( now maybe WS )

    + DE goes to the high post and screens for CZ who then screens for the wing w the ball , then rolls

    + DE meanwhile also turns back over toward the wing and sets another screen for the wing right behind CZ and either rolls or steps out for a 3pt

    + VJ3 or VO then take it to the lane with options to hit CZ, DE or if weakside help comes they kick to the corner

    This was unstoppable with both DE and CZ in the lineup w VO or VJ3. There is no reason why WS cannot also be that wing or the one in the corner.

    Defense is still our achilles heal . I really think its more of a team scheme problem than any one player . That said , Remy for Hulls on Jullian Welch would beat Minny ………… trying to hide Hulls on D these next 3 games is going to be very hard

  • JerryCT

     Yup ! Also we were running our most efficient offense when:

    +  the ball was on the wing in the hands of Jones or VO ( now maybe WS )

    + DE goes to the high post and screens for CZ who then screens for the wing w the ball , then rolls

    + DE meanwhile also turns back over toward the wing and sets another screen for the wing right behind CZ and either rolls or steps out for a 3pt

    + VJ3 or VO then take it to the lane with options to hit CZ, DE or if weakside help comes they kick to the corner

    This was unstoppable with both DE and CZ in the lineup w VO or VJ3. There is no reason why WS cannot also be that wing or the one in the corner.

    Defense is still our achilles heal . I really think its more of a team scheme problem than any one player . That said , Remy for Hulls on Jullian Welch would beat Minny ………… trying to hide Hulls on D these next 3 games is going to be very hard

  • JerryCT

     Sorry . I meant to emphasize how key DE is to this offensive set and that is why I want him to play more ………. that point might have been lost in verbosity

  • JerryCT

    This team is playing about as bad as it has all year right now on both sides of the ball and its the wrong time of year for that. I have no answers just questions:

    + Why does it appear that Hulls, perhaps our best ball handler, is so shaky under ball pressure and on the verge of being trapped so often ? Not even freshman Remy feels this pressure

    + Does CW not know his shot is getting blocked and why it happens ?

    + Is no game complete w/o VO sliding into 2nd base somewhere in the lane ? Is our scholly answer putting VO on baseball scholly ?

    + If VO is a stopper on D then why do guys like Gatens , Frazier, Shurna etc have career nights when defended by our “stopper” ? VO is not yet a stopper

    + Can Cody shoot left handed or only right handed ?

    + Why do we feel we need to leave 3pt shooters open to give Cody help D ? He seems to be the last player who needs help

    + Can anybody but Remy go over the top of a screen or prevent his man from getting to the screen ?

    +  Since the main goal of offense is to force a team into Help D why are we so anxious to oblige ?

    + Did we use last night’s game to work on anything new last night ? If so I didn’t see it

  • MillaRed

     Not sure his ankle was ready yet but you make a good point. Still, “when” Will is healthy I like that lineup.

  • MillaRed

    I never really agreed with that. And rightfully so. Right now I would say he’s the 4th or 5th best pro prospect on the team.

  • MillaRed

    Defense still was bad. And ugly turnovers. I really think Yogi is going to take that TO margin down 3-4 a game. We have too many shaky handlers out there.

  • oldiufan

    I think Watford needs more strength training … he loses the ball easily and has it knocked out of his hands way too often … this affects his confidence and then his shooting …thesame thing happens often when he rebounds .. he gets his hands on the ball but loses it to a more aggressive player ..

  • oldiufan

    I think Watford needs more strength training … he loses the ball easily and has it knocked out of his hands way too often … this affects his confidence and then his shooting …thesame thing happens often when he rebounds .. he gets his hands on the ball but loses it to a more aggressive player ..

  • SCHoosier

    Here’s one thing not ever worked on that drives me crazy.  For the umpteen time in Crean’s tenure..IU had the ball at the end of the first half with a chance for a bucket..and could not even get a shot off. With 25 sec left..Hulls dribbled down court..glanced at the bench..then tried to go one on one against his defenders. There was no effort to set even a high screen…nobdy was cutting to the basket..everybody just stood there while Jordy used every move he had to no avail..shot was partially blocked. I mean that is  P-poor basketball from the Coach on down. I don’t know if crean called that “play”..any play or no play..but I can not remember when IU has been successful at getting a basket in this end of the half situation..usually its a TO or they can’t get a shot off. Now that is pathetic.

  • SCHoosier

    Only if its the CYO league in Poland. Wat is gonna make somebody pay before the end of the season with a really hot night..I hope its MSU..we’d need something like that to beat them..altho I supsect Mr. Green will have something to say about that.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    I agree with mostly all of your post..Now that VO has been handling the ball more and asked to be a scorer his defense has not been the same.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Come on ..right now only 2 pro prospects on the roster..Cody and CWat..Sheehey may get some looks in the future and let’s be honest not many calls from the NBA for 6’4″ guys who can’t shoot and have a very limited left hand (VO).
    CWats ability to shot the ball (we hope) and size will get him a look at the next level.

  • iufan4life10

     I believe Sutton scored a few on Elston as well.  I didn’t keep track of how many points he scored on each player but I would guess he scored about 6-10 on Elston.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Kind of depends who you are forcing out of the starting lineup to make room for Sheehey…

    I thought Michigan was a disaster because we replaced VO with Will.  VO should be a starter, I think that’s pretty obvious.  Now that VO has moved out of the 3 and displaced VJIII in our new bigger lineup, he could possibly be an option over Elston at the 3, without it being a bad decision/disaster?

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I’d say your question about VO’s defense is a bit off base.  First of all, it’s kind of tough to guard Gatens when you are on the bench with four Teddy Valentine fouls.  That was VO’s primary defensive problem against Iowa, bad fouls called when he had position on the ball handler.

    Second, he did a great job on Shurna.  The only time he guarded Shurna was late in the game when Shurna stopped scoring.  Before that we started him out on Coleman and it was everybody else that struggled to guard Shurna.  Our stopper did in fact stop him with help on switches from Jones.

    I don’t recall the Penn State game too clearly, but Elbows is right. VO’s defense does get limited by handling the ball more- in that he seems to get tired a lot quicker.  Crean comments that he needs to be locked in defensively to play well, but the reality right now is that we need his energy just as much on offense when our other guys are struggling to handle the ball or drive with much effectiveness.  Crean seems to be somewhat aware of this, because he doesn’t always matchup VO with the logical guy to shutdown.  I think it’s sort of a “what can you do?” Catch 22 situation.

  • HoosierDawg

    Not a bad comparison, but Andrae Patterson was a vastly better athlete than Mr Watford. Neither, for the most part, demonstrated much toughness. Christian has to work much harder than he generally does in order to get good looks.

  • HoosierDawg

    Not a bad comparison, but Andrae Patterson was a vastly better athlete than Mr Watford. Neither, for the most part, demonstrated much toughness. Christian has to work much harder than he generally does in order to get good looks.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    And ask Wisconsin… maybe nobody can guard this Gatens?  Twelve consecutive threes before finally missing one. 

  • MillaRed

    I would bet good money on Victor playing in the NBA. In fact in the run & gun the NBA is I think he can do very well.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    I would take that bet he has along way to go..I’m an Indiana boy and if you couldn’t make a left hand layup you were cut from the 7th grade team On Feb 23, 2012 10:07 PM, “Disqus”

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    I would take that bet he has along way to go..I’m an Indiana boy and if you couldn’t make a left hand layup you were cut from the 7th grade team On Feb 23, 2012 10:07 PM, “Disqus”

  • Ajbeaty311

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/jim-harbaugh-moonlights-indiana-newest-team-manager-034301303.html
    Link to an article from yahoo! about Jim Harbaugh’s humbling moonlighting job at IU

  • b_side

     Totally agree with @WatchingYogi_atYogis:disqus.  Calling out VO’s defense is way off base.  He was spot on with the observation re: Shurna.  Cody was guarding him, then Watford I believe, before VO shut him down for the last 12 minutes.

    Frazier needed 18 shots to get 21 points (7-18) in our blowout win – I’ll take it any day of the week.  In our close win at Penn St, he shot 7-23 to net his 21 points.  Frazier is going to his numbers no matter who guards him – he’s what they call a “volume shooter.”  I hate that term, but it totally applies to him.

    Gatens was previously discussed.  Beyond VO’s foul trouble, they executed ball screens perfectly and we did a terrible job (as a team) communicating switches to get a hand in his face. 

  • Geoff_85

    Coach Crean has stated that he doesn’t want our defenders to go over the top of screens. Apparently switching defenders on the ball handler is the way he wants to go. I can’t remember which presser that was in though.

  • JerryCT

     You see this is the exact time and role for TP because he is so quick to recognize the bogging down and either sets a screen to shake loose a player or comes out for an outlet pass and gives it back up right away.

    Admit it ………………… you miss TP  …………. in the last 25 sec

  • JerryCT

     Geeez , I saw that too w Gatens which actually supports my point .

    CLose outs all year have featured what I call the “flying Oladipo “. We have all seen this blur of a human rocket flying through the air after a shooter. Kind of like Evil Kenivel.

    We have also seen some of the most embarrassing back doors w VO as the victim.

    When defending the other team’s scorer and playing the role of the stopper you do not play or even look to play HELP D but continue to deny your man his spots on the floor, access to screens, his rythm and the ball ……………….100% effort , 100% of the possession …………… watch games again ……… its not happening. He turned his head on Gatens way too much.

    VO is in fact a good defender and one of our best with the toughest assignment but the evidence is that he is not yet a reliable “stopper”.

  • JerryCT

     Yes GEOFF I heard him say that too. WHat is he thinking ?

    For us to beat teams above us nationally we are supposed to give shooters the screen ? Give drivers like Burke the screen where he catches you on the return ? ( ie forces you back into the screen once you have gone under one direction )

    Will this work vs DUke ? It may not even work with Minn

    Helps explain I guess our consistent trouble defending the perimeter doesn’t it

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I’ll give you that.  VO doesn’t stay home like he should to truly shutdown his man, even when he is locked up on their best scorer in a “stopper” role. 

    I remember the Nebraska loss pretty well.  Bo Spencer was killing us in the first half, until VO picked up the assignment.  He had him nearly completely shutout from there on until some point about mid-way through the second half, when VO got caught helping- once for a backdoor layup and once for a big three.  VO got hooked for the lapses and never returned to the game and we ended up giving up a huge comeback.

    I’ve got no problem admitting I’m a Crean defender, but this sort of undermines some of the crticism I see on here.  I hear all the time that Crean should bench guys to send a message.  He did here and it may have cost us a game.  I thought we needed VO on offense to close out the game, because we were struggling to find any flow against their defensive pressure.

    VO has still not ever completely got the message and I continue to see him help when he should be staying put.  Crean gets criticized for not coaching players to make better decisions like these, but it’s tough to say if he is or if they are just not always listening.