That’s A Wrap: #benchmob

  • 04/10/2012 8:55 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: #benchmob.

Perhaps we’ve already covered many on the IU roster who would consider themselves a part of the bench mob. The moniker did, after all, take on a life of its own during the final weeks of the Hoosiers’ turnaround season. Jim and John Harbaugh, brother-in-laws to Tom Crean, even donned #benchmob t-shirts for IU’s final game at the Georgia Dome.

But since the originating members were not a part of IU’s regular rotation this season, it only felt appropriate to give this group its due for their contributions.

For “That’s A Wrap” purposes, the classification to be included in the #benchmob was no presence on the KenPom player stats page. By this criteria, the group includes Austin Etherington, Daniel Moore, Jeff Howard, Kory Barnett, Maurice Creek, Raphael Smith and Taylor Wayer.

While statistics won’t tell you much about the importance of these seven players in IU’s 29 wins, their presence both as individuals and as a group was a key to the Hoosiers’ success.

After having the opportunity to sit behind the bench on press row for both of IU’s games at the Big Ten Tournament, it became clear just how involved this group was. Crean demanded chatter and energy from the entire bench and that’s exactly what he received. There was rarely a moment when someone wasn’t calling out a screen or making an observation to a teammate. And if Crean sensed a lull in energy, the bench quickly responded to his call for more engagement. The hand gestures, cheering, smiles and encouragement helped keep this team loose and having fun.

Beyond those observations, each of these guys deserve credit for playing their part in IU’s revival season.

Moore and Barnett came to Bloomington for Crean’s first season and ultimately reaped the benefits of a NCAA Tournament run after navigating through three of the most trying years in the program’s history.

Creek never expected to be relegated to the bench after the promise he showed early in his freshman season, but three injuries forced him there. Still, as the junior guard spoke from in front of his locker at the Georgia Dome following IU’s Sweet 16 loss, it was clear he wanted the game just as badly as anyone else.

Howard, Smith and Wayer rarely played or were heard from publicly, but each played a day-to-day role as a teammate that ultimately helped guide improvement in practice. And Etherington, the first member of IU’s 2011 recruiting class, played hard when his number was called.

The Bottom Line: On a team that far exceeded all expectations, the importance of strong team camaraderie was evident. As the season moved along, this group seemed to become more tightly knit. And although the ultimate outcome of the games was decided on the floor, the #benchmob clearly played its part in IU’s return to national prominence.

PreviouslyChristian WatfordDerek Elston, Jordan Hulls, Matt Roth, Tom Pritchard, Verdell JonesVictor OladipoWill Sheehey, Cody Zeller

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  • #benchmob in da heezy

  • SCHoosier

    Good group of support players..work hard in practice..relish the few minutes they get in games..and do a hell of a job keeping the team GPA beyond where it needs to be..especially after the Sampson era academic debacle.

  • SCHoosier

    Good group of support players..work hard in practice..relish the few minutes they get in games..and do a hell of a job keeping the team GPA beyond where it needs to be..especially after the Sampson era academic debacle.

  • HoosierDadE

    D. Moore’s face in the picture is hilarious…ummmm guys, I just got so excited I had “a movement” a year early.

    Too much bathroom humor from me on ITH, gotta clean it up

    P.S. This picture also shows me AE isn’t going anywhere, that kid loves to have that IU uni on

  • chiswede

    Watford and Zeller are officially staying!  Woohoo!

  • chiswede

    Watford and Zeller are officially staying!  Woohoo!

  • The_Dukester

    And the entire Hoosier Nation sighed with relief.  

  • iufan4life10

     One of those “that just happened” moments you will never forget.

  • sma

    I wish they came up with a different moniker than benchmob – which was ripped from the Bulls.  Maybe 6-12 Mafia? 

  • IUfanToby

    totally agree about AE.  He’ll be here next year no doubt.

  • IUfanToby

    totally agree about AE.  He’ll be here next year no doubt.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    So this year, 3 guys on scholarship saw little to no playing time. So, assuming Creek is anywhere near healthy, I’d say Jordan, Victor, Will, Watford, Zeller, Yogi, Hollowell, Remy, Creek, and Elston all see regular playing time. That’s 10 players, same amount that apparently saw regular time this year.

    So my question is, of AE, Ron, Hanner and Peter, who gets left in the cold? Will any of those players see significant time?
    I’d say if they do see time, it’ll be in this order
    AE
    Hanner
    Ron
    Jurkin

    But I don’t really know that there are enough minutes for any of them to see the floor often. I know this is pretty pessimistic about Hanner but… I don’t know. Underperformed lately.

    What do you guys think? Does Etherington take a huge sophomore leap and be a spot up shooter for us? If he does, how and where does he crack the rotation?

  • calbert40

    More like 10-15 Mafia! haha.  I like it, though.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    I believe that Mo Creek will never be the same and many Hoosier fans boast about his 16 ppg.  I would love to get back to this form, but he never was good on defense.  He was as much of a defensive liability as Hulls.

    AE has to improve his defense.  There were times this year where CTC could have used him, but if you cannot d up Savannah St or Stonybrook, you cannot d up the Big 10.

    I personally would love to see AE mix in because in my mind, he started the movement.  At 6’6″ he can shoot, rebound and play a solid floor game, just needs to be a beats on defense.

    Hanner will have to work in above AE in my estimation because we cannot be 2 games into the NCAA tournament with CZ in foul trouble and a FR coming off thebench getting 3 minutes a game.

    I am not sold on hollowell’s defense either so time will tell.

    The fact is, someone is leaving.  We cannot have 14 guys on scholly and only 13 allowed by the NCAA.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    AE must be a a camera man magnent.  He got so much bench time shots this year it was amazing.

    i think the SID needs to produce this pic and have the mob sign it.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Is it not just SO FITTING that the benchmob article was posted on the same day as Zeller and Watford’s announcement, and was thus overshadowed on ITH? I really think that’s awesome to be honest. And these guys would have it no other way.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Is it not just SO FITTING that the benchmob article was posted on the same day as Zeller and Watford’s announcement, and was thus overshadowed on ITH? I really think that’s awesome to be honest. And these guys would have it no other way.

  • SCHoosier

    Joe..all the new kids will face what all freshman face..a much faster game where defense is emphasized as much as offense..no more of the bunnies..and always wide open 3pt shots which you see in so many high school highlites. That said..these kids I believe have what it takes to do what needs to be done and in short order.

  • SCHoosier

    Joe..all the new kids will face what all freshman face..a much faster game where defense is emphasized as much as offense..no more of the bunnies..and always wide open 3pt shots which you see in so many high school highlites. That said..these kids I believe have what it takes to do what needs to be done and in short order.

  • Jurkin will take Pritchard’s minutes as a Zeller backup. I think Ron will work his way into good minutes this year. He’s a really good defender and has a 7’4 wingspan. I have no doubt he’ll be able to stop nearly any competition he has to guard this year. I also don’t see Elston getting a ton of playing time. He’s alright, but he makes too many mental mistakes. I don’t think Etherington will do a lot, probably a garbage time player. No idea about Hanner. Whenever I’ve watched him, he didn’t post up. I don’t know if that’s poor coaching or if he’s just not somebody to do that. Hollowell is also a decent defender. I see him being about as good as Watford was freshman year. Hollowell will obviously get less playing time than Watford did freshman year though. Patterson is going to end up being a pleasant surprise for everyone this year though, I’m positive. 

  • Kevin

    beautiful how this stuff works

  • jaywiz

    so whats the deal with matt roth? I would hate to see him use his final year of eligibility at another school. He is a hoosier, man!