Leading the way

  • 03/05/2013 8:44 am in

Through endless hard work, Jordan Hulls changed IU’s basketball culture

By Justin Albers

On paper, Jordan Hulls’ story seems pretty simple. Bloomington kid grows up dreaming of playing at Indiana University. Works hard, becomes Mr. Basketball, goes to Indiana, succeeds.

And while there’s some truth in that abbreviated version, Hulls’ path to the Hoosiers wasn’t nearly as smooth as it may appear from the outside.

He was under recruited, overlooked, ignored, and told on more occasions than he can count that he would never play Division-I basketball.

“I wasn’t really recruited by anybody,” Hulls said. “It’s just the way it was.  I was just a little kid running around shooting 3s and stuff.”

Even when he did start to be recruited, Hulls never planned to go to Indiana just because he was a Bloomington kid. It was about the right fit, and under Kelvin Sampson, Indiana didn’t appear to be it. At the time, Hulls was a big Duke fan, and would have given anything to go play there.

“Everybody thought ‘well, he’s coming to IU, right? That’s just an automatic,'” Hulls father, J.C., said. “And no, not at all. He wasn’t really coming here.”

When Tom Crean took over the program, he decided to go hard after Hulls and try to convince him he could be a piece that could help bring the program back. Under Crean, the fit seemed much better. People doubted Hulls would ever be a good college player like they doubted Crean could ever restore the program to its elite status.

“There was a lot of people out there who doubted me,” Hulls said, “didn’t know if I was fast enough, or if I was tall enough or strong enough.”

So Hulls put his faith in Crean, who believed in him as a player like few college coaches had. Hulls knew there was a long road in front of the program, but even he was shocked at what he was walking into.

030513ewuBanding together 

The first two seasons were painful for Hulls just like they were for everyone connected to the program. But Hulls’ pain may have come in even bigger waves than it had for his classmates because of the unbelievably high standard he holds himself to.

Hulls never lost, it was just something he didn’t do. So when he got to Indiana and the team lost far more often than it won, it took a toll on him.

“Mentally, physically, you aren’t sure quite what to do,” Hulls said. “When we had a losing streak going there, it was pretty difficult. Coming from high school where I didn’t lose at all and then coming here and we lost quite a bit, it was pretty taxing on me mentally and physically.”

J.C. Hulls recalls many conversations he had with his son through those two years of heartache and struggle. There was never any talk from Jordan about leaving or quitting, but there was definitely a good amount of frustration building up.

“We talked a lot about leadership, we talked about banding together,” J.C. Hulls said. “I said, ‘Find two or three guys. That’s your band, and you’re gonna start with that group.’ Because when we came in, we didn’t really know the group. It was so decimated. It was way different than what we even thought it was gonna be, and we were here.”

As soon as he arrived on campus, Hulls continued to work tirelessly on his game. He grew up as a gym rat and that didn’t change when he got to college. The problem was, nobody else really joined him.

Pages: 1 2 3

Filed to:

  • MisterSlippery

    I love Jordy. He’s special and a thuggish, ruggish bone.

  • MisterSlippery

    I love Jordy. He’s special and a thuggish, ruggish bone.

  • marcusgresham

    Without him Smart wouldn’t have gotten open. Everyone in the building (outside the IU huddle,) just knew the ball was going to Alford, so Syracuse had to stay on him.
    I personally hope the championship game has more of a ’76 outcome, as I already have high blood pressure and would benefit from cruise to victory.

  • marcusgresham

    Hugo Chavez just died. With Sampson’s ethics he’d be perfect for president of Venezuela.

  • marcusgresham

    I know pretty much exactly how long I’ve been on here. I was searching the internet for information when IU was searching for Denim’s replacement and this was the place I found that had the most information and intelligent dialogue.
    If we’re “Inside the Hall Legends” can we be in commercials for the site that mirror those old “Indiana Legends” commercials from State Farm? Even the Neil Armstrong one was cool.

  • marcusgresham

    Never would have thought that. Any mention as to where the other guys are in that list?

  • marcusgresham

    He’ll be a college head coach before he’s 35.

  • IUMIKE1

    Once again you’ve seen around the curve. I guess we just couldn’t see Denim Shirt’s take on the big picture and that he had been training himself for that job all along. Hope the people of Venezuela understand and appreciate everything that IU and their fans sacrificed for them.

  • IUMIKE1

    Bite me second Bo Bo !

  • IUMIKE1

    Since the time where gloomy would have been an upgrade. Damn sure don’t miss those days !

  • Well said coach.

  • Well said coach.

  • Mr Hulls, in your mind, you and Wat will be in that gym shooting forever You’re the ONE Jordy! Thanx for the memories.

  • Yhoosier

    It is really tough to think that Jordan Hulls last game at Assembly was a loss, but this kid is a winner. Even in defeat, he showed it as he made it clear he would not give up unti? the buzzer sounded. While no one would disagree that Jordan isn’t the most athletic kid you’ll see, he is a role a model to Hoosiers everywhere. His shooting and leadership will be missed but the example he set on the floor every night will surely be in the back of everyone’s mind for years to come.

  • AtariHero

    That’s awesome. It’s also the statistical proof for everything that I’ve thought over the past few years. The offense just runs better with Hulls on the court. people are in the right places. The best passes are made. Etc. He’s a floor general – like Steve Nash. I’d take him over Ferrell any day of the week.

  • AtariHero

    Unfortunately, the speeches stunk. These guys are getting masters degrees and yet speak like they can’t form a complete sentence.

  • AtariHero

    Unfortunately, the speeches stunk. These guys are getting masters degrees and yet speak like they can’t form a complete sentence.

  • AtariHero

    You’re right. Ferrell should be benched and Sheehey should start in place of Ferrell. Hulls should run point. The team is best when Hulls in on the floor. But you know nothing – such as the fact that Hulls has the best +/- in the nation.

  • AtariHero

    If Hulls had more touches and shots tonight, we would have won. You could say that about any loss this year. Hulls is a superior passer to Ferrell, he makes smarter decisions with the ball, and he shoots at a higher percentage. I hope Ferrell turns out to be as good as Hulls.

  • karen

    I don’t agree. Hulls was so emotional he could barely speak.
    The speeches were long, but I loved seeing them.

  • Justin Harrison

    +/- stats are dumb. You don’t even have to take my word for it. Go to kenpom.com and read his treatise on the stat. His conclusion is that +/- “while neat to look at, is a poor tool in college basketball analysis.”

    There are a lot of good ways to defend Hulls’ contributions to this team, but pointing to simple +/- stats is not one of them.

    Your proposed solution of benching Yogi for Sheehey would be fine by me.

  • InTheMtns

    Well, if complete sentences and syntax are what you value most, then I suppose you are right about the speeches. However, as every professional speech-maker will tell you, the first two rules are 1) know your audience and 2) know your purpose.

    The seniors definitely knew their audience and the purpose of these speeches. They introduced us to their families, shared with us some of their experiences of playing at IU for the past four years, thanked everyone involved and emotionally said heartfelt good byes. Each speech was a court-side chat with tens of thousands of friends and fans. I’d say they did an excellent job.

  • InTheMtns

    Well, if complete sentences and syntax are what you value most, then I suppose you are right about the speeches. However, as every professional speech-maker will tell you, the first two rules are 1) know your audience and 2) know your purpose.

    The seniors definitely knew their audience and the purpose of these speeches. They introduced us to their families, shared with us some of their experiences of playing at IU for the past four years, thanked everyone involved and emotionally said heartfelt good byes. Each speech was a court-side chat with tens of thousands of friends and fans. I’d say they did an excellent job.